The compare and despair game (and why you need to stop playing it)

There’s a nasty little thing that happens to entrepreneurs

It happens when you start looking around at what other entrepreneurs are doing, and before you know it, you start feeling like crap. You lose whatever momentum you had going, you start to doubt yourself, and then you start to spin. Needless to say, it’s not a fun place to be.

I call this “compare and despair”

When you fall into the compare and despair trap, you think everyone else is doing a better job than you are. You compare your own work to what you see in those perfectly curated posts on Instagram and Pinterest. All of a sudden, you don’t feel so great.

You start to doubt everything — even your own value

Suddenly, you don’t know enough… aren’t good enough… don’t have it all together… couldn’t possibly do what SHE is doing as well as she can… Everyone seems like they have everything SO put together – more than you ever could.


But you’re missing one BIG detail

Here’s the big secret: you’re only seeing what those people want you to see. You’re not seeing the hours and hours of work, the bad days, the tears, the frustration that these entrepreneurs go through, and the mess behind the curtain. Even if that person IS living the life you think they are (which isn’t always the case), they have just as many fears and frustrations as you do.

No one is immune to this trap, unless you recognize it when it presents itself, and move on.

How to avoid the compare and despair trap:

  • When you start to envy someone else’s work, ask yourself why that’s happening.
  • Then ask yourself if what you’re feeling is really true (are they really better than you?) Once you realize that you’re making assumptions and you don’t know what that person’s reality is, you can calm the jealous beast.
  • If your answer to #2 is yes, ask again – are you 100% sure it’s really true? And if you’re crushing on someone who does have something you don’t, how can you get it? Do you need to learn a new skill, or try something you’ve never done before that might scare you a little? Dig deep and get to the root of the feeling.

Believe in yourself

You have unique gifts that no one else has, and you can present your work in a way that no one else can. No one knows you and your work better than YOU do, so trust your judgement.

Live your own reality, not someone else’s.

Live the life that is yours – and is real, and work to make it everything you want it to be. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to live up to someone else’s Instagram fantasy world.