This is something I’m quite sure that every single one of us here has experienced – being jealous of other coaches. Coaches who are in your niche or not. Coaches who are ahead of you or started at the same time as you. It doesn’t matter who you’re comparing yourself to.
The purpose of this post is not to try to help you reduce your comparisons. Rather, I want to change what you make those comparisons mean about yourself as a coach, entrepreneur, and person.
The other coach is a completely neutral circumstance. You can literally look at them and be like, “Oh, hello there, nice to see what you’re doing.”.
Or, you can look at them and feel envy, jealousy, and comparison. It’s your thoughts about the other person that create feelings of jealousy, not the other person. That is what I want to help you shift. Your thoughts.
Why do thoughts of jealousy and comparison even occur in the first place?
The surface level answer is that there are more and more coaches coming into the online space, so there’s more “competition”.
After all, the entry bar is low for becoming a coach. Anyone can become a coach.
That’s exactly why the standard for success or quality for coaches is also very high.
You really need to be damn good at what you do and be known for the quality of your work if you want to truly stand out in your coaching niche.
Now, let’s dig deeper. Why do we even compare in the first place?
Why do we feel jealous of other coaches?
First, let’s think about where other comparisons and jealousy have crept up in other parts of our lives.
For many of us, the workplace and school is a huge source of thoughts about comparisons, jealousy and competition.
Personally, I definitely had many thoughts of comparison, jealousy, and competition throughout my academic and professional career.
This literally makes sense why so many of us have these types of thoughts.
I went to primary school grade 1 and grade 2 in Hong Kong.
And I recall to this day, when it was time to get our report cards, the teacher would literally say that this person got this many number of A’s. Cheryl got 6 A’s. The next person got 4 A’s..
The teacher literally announced the number of A’s the top few students got. Talk about fostering competition at an early age.
When I relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, and throughout high school in Toronto, there were always ceremonies where they would give out a certificate to people who got the honor roll and you’d have to walk across the stage to receive it.
There were also specific awards for people who got the top awards out of the entire grade.
This was something I received in grades 11 and 12. But at that moment, back when I was young, I didn’t think anything of it.
I just thought, “Yay! I did amazing and now everyone thinks I’m really smart.”
Now, many years later, it’s like, I get that we want to celebrate accomplishments.
However, where I’d start questioning the rationale and intentions of these awards ceremonies is, what’s the value of getting good grades in high school?
Like, seriously. What’s the value of getting good grades on subjects that aren’t necessarily skillsets we need to use as adults or even as young adults?
Why are we celebrating someone’s ability to study well? Is studying well and being able to score high on standardized tests really an effective measure of success?
And also, why can’t we celebrate the value and impact that the person has created more often instead of these “merit” based awards?
To people who knew me when I was in school or university, they may think I’m being hypocritical because I was often a recipient of these awards and recognitions.
Since graduating, I know that real life does not care how well you can study, memorize or regurgitate information.
There are so many other skill sets that we should be celebrating.
There are so many other indicators of value and impact that we should be talking about.
In my opinion, many traditional school systems have created an environment that encourages young people to start comparing and competing on really dumb metrics and supposed indicators of success which really don’t make sense.
For others, there may also be a cultural element that comes into play.
For example, there’s a natural tendency for many Asian parents to compare their own children with other children.
It’s really common to hear Asian parents or relatives say things like, “Oh you know, my child is doing this amazing thing or this person’s daughter or son is getting into Harvard Medical School.”.
Perhaps some of you may be able to relate to this, but it definitely was something I’ve seen that was quite prevalent among Asian adults in my network whilst growing up.
Perhaps, culturally, for some of you, competition and comparison is something that’s been deeply rooted.
The reason why I wanted to talk about why many of us feel like we naturally start to compare and feel jealous towards other coaches is literally because many of us were brought up in environments that encouraged this type of thinking, even if it wasn’t intentional.
This is important to think about because I want all of us to not shame and blame ourselves when we experience thoughts of jealousy or comparison.
I say this because I’ve spoken to clients and other coaches who really feel bad and guilty for even thinking these thoughts.
They really beat themselves up over comparing themselves with others in the first place.
That’s why I want to first address this and let you know that it’s really not your fault.
It’s a deeply ingrained thought or way of thinking since you were young.
So, it’s going to take some unwiring and being proactive with your thoughts to shift away from this thought pattern moving forward.
For the context of this post, I’m going to reference Instagram and coaches on Instagram, simply because that’s the platform I’m most active on and that’s where I’ve experienced comparisons the most. So I will speak from my own experience.
For you, it could be another platform such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
Let me just make it super obvious that Instagram is just marketing.
It’s literally just us putting our best selves forward, whether it’s to grow our businesses, push our career forwards, or feed our own egos.
There’s no right or wrong reasons, but there is always some sort of underlying intention.
Again, there’s no right or wrong.
That means Instagram is simply a tool. And that’s totally fine!
But where it starts to create problems for you is when you’re making comparisons.
The thing is, you’re making comparisons off of a very filtered, curated, and biased perception of someone.
What you see on Instagram is not the full reality for them.
Even if someone is building their coaching business on Instagram, their Instagram does not give a full reflection of what their business and life is like.
For example, I know many peers in the coaching industry who, on the surface, if you’re only looking at their Instagram, their businesses look so shiny, amazing, profitable and successful.
But many of them are really struggling mentally and aren’t happy.
Whether it’s because they’re actually really stressed out about their business, or maybe it’s because they’re so focused on business that other areas of their life are neglected.
There are many cases of coaches who look like they have it all together on Instagram, but behind the scenes, they’re really having a hard time.
And of course, I’m not saying they’re doing anything wrong.
Again, Instagram is marketing. It’s just a tool to market our best selves.
No one is required to share every single detail about their business or life.
That’s why we ourselves need to be disciplined with our thoughts and remember this.
Otherwise, we’ll continue making really inaccurate and skewed assumptions and conclusions about other people, especially when we don’t know the full picture.
What’s even worse is when you start making their supposed success mean something about you.
Some of you make other people’s success mean all sorts of things about you.
The most common thing I hear is that people will feel like they themselves are not good enough when they see others succeeding in business.
“I feel like they’re better than me.”
“I feel like I’m behind in business.”
“Why haven’t I achieved that by now?”
“I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this anymore.”
It’s so common to look at someone else’s business and make that mean something about yourself.
Why are you judging yourself based on someone else’s business?
Why is it a problem that someone else is signing clients or growing their business?
What does that have to do with you?
Seriously. Think very carefully about this. What does that have to do with you?
Here’s what happens when coaches feel jealous and compare themselves with other coaches.
Two immediate conclusions coaches tend to jump to is:
1) If another coach in their niche i.e. a direct competitor is signing clients, that means that’s less clients for themselves
2) If another coach has achieved a certain income in their business by a specific time but they have not hit that income by that same amount of time, they make that mean they’re behind in business.
For the first point: Is that true? Like truly.
Just because another coach signs a client, does that mean that’s one less client for you?
Think about it.
In the grand scheme of your business, how many clients do you really need in your lifetime to make a full time income on part time hours?
You’re not looking for thousands and thousands of clients if you’ve positioned your high ticket coaching program strategically, clearly articulate the value of working with you, and have been giving value via your content very consistently.
You only need a few clients a month if you really think about it.
So why does it matter if your colleague signs a client?
Do you not believe that there are thousands, hundreds of thousands of ideal clients out there?
It’s your job to get your visibility up so you get your message in front of those ideal clients, but it is not your job to dwell about what your peers are doing and who they’re signing as clients.
Why waste your time and energy dwelling when there are so many more ideal clients out there waiting to see your content and find out about your coaching program?
One thing that may also be helpful to consider is that your ideal clients are not necessarily your colleagues’ ideal clients.
There’re a lot of factors that come into play in a coaching relationship.
Just because someone is a good fit for your colleague may not mean that client was a good fit for you, and vice versa.
Of course, there will be instances when the client would very well be a good fit for you and your colleague.
However, it goes back to the question of why are you fixated on that one client instead of continuing to show up and create value for other available ideal clients?
For the second point, is it true that just because another coach makes X amount of money in X amount of time but you didn’t and that means you are falling behind in business?
Is that true?
Let me put this another way: What’s the rush?
Why are you trying to put an arbitrary timeline to your business? Why are you rushing to hit a certain income goal?
What does that even mean? Why does it matter?
If your primary concern is to make a certain income in X number of days or months, I would really question why you’re in the coaching industry in the first place.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to get another job which guarantees you a source of income instead?
Does it really make sense to start a business where there’s literally no guarantees?
The best coaches are the ones who are truly operating from service.
They keep showing up even when there’s no direct messages (DMs) about their programs and no new applications for their coaching.
They keep showing up simply because they believe so much in the message they want to share and they know their content is valuable. So they keep showing up even when it’s literally silent.
Overtime, the value that they’ve been sharing compounds.
Eventually, they become known as some of the best coaches in the industry.
If I asked you what success in business means to you, what would you say?
Maybe some of you would give me an arbitrary income goal like consistent 5k months or 10k months.
Maybe some of you would say that success in business means having time, location and financial freedom.
Others may say it’s about the impact you’re creating in this world.
But very rarely will someone give me an answer that includes a timeline.
So why does it matter when you hit a certain income goal?
Is success really dependent on timelines?
Does not hitting a specific goal in an arbitrary timeline mean that you’re a failure?
These are questions to think critically about.
If you’re experiencing feelings of jealousy and comparison towards other coaches, here are four questions to consider:
1) I’d first invite you to really think about the question of, “Why does it matter what success others are achieving? Are they taking away from your success?” and assess your answers to these questions.
2) I’d also like to ask you to think of, “What are the reasons why it’s good that there is “competition”.”. Why is it good news for you that there are others achieving success as coaches, and in the niche you’re in?
3) Think about in what ways has jealousy served you before? Likewise, in what ways has it not served you?
4) When you are having thoughts related to comparison and jealousy, What do you want to choose to think instead? Because remember, your thoughts are totally optional. You can look at your colleague and choose to feel jealousy and comparison, or you can choose to be totally neutral and cool about it. You have the choice what to think.
Now, with all that being said, what can you do in addition to the mindset work we’ve discussed so far?
I think it’s also really crucial to develop a brand that you are so proud of and that you are so in touch with, so much so that it literally doesn’t matter what anyone else in your niche is doing because you are so confident in your own brand, messaging, and positioning in your niche.
It will definitely take time and experimentation to know what you’re confident in and what you truly believe in when it comes to your brand.
This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and implementation.
Now, circling back to one of my favorite topics – thought leadership.
I also want you to think about what thoughts and ideas you want people to associate you with.
People like to buy things that are new and fresh.
What concepts and messages and ideas can you share that’s new and fresh and completely different from what your colleagues are putting out there?
How can you develop your own thought leadership around this?
We already know that when your brand is so generic and blends in with everyone else, you essentially become a commodity on the market.
That means you’ll end up having to compete on price instead of letting your brand and the value of working with you speak for itself.
When your messaging and brand and thought leadership is fresh and unique and it’s really aligned with you, it becomes so much easier to sell your coaching program and become known on the market.
You no longer have to compete on price.
You’re literally just being yourself and your brand does the heavy lifting for your business.
Just because something didn’t happen in your desired time frame doesn’t make you a failure.
You need to look for the lessons that will move you forward instead of falling into a victim mentality and making this mean something about you as a coach or entrepreneur.
Right now is the time to be highly critical of your thoughts and also be quick when it comes to learning what didn’t work and so you can take the next action step as quickly as possible.
Make sure you do things differently this time around instead of wallowing in jealousy and comparison.
Dwelling, feeling bad about yourself, and not taking action is really the only true cause of failure in business.
If you’re going to take one message away from this post, let it be this:
All these arbitrary goals that we hear in the online coaching space like making your first 10k in 90 days, it’s just marketing.
It’s literally arbitrary because some random coach made it up and now everyone is following it because it sounds great for their own marketing.
Instagram and social media are all marketing.
When you’re comparing yourself with someone online, you’re comparing yourself to a perception of them.
It’s not reality.
That’s why it’s so important to be critical of your thoughts, assumptions and judgments about yourself as well as others.
You may feel like you’re behind or not good at being a coach or entrepreneur, but really assess whether that thought is true or not.
In business, failure and success are not dictated by arbitrary timelines.
The most incredible success stories we hear are often people who have been through massive failures but ultimately picked themselves up and kept going, simply because they believed so much in what they do.
That’s what I want all of us to embody as well.
Screw the timelines.
Instead, focus on your thoughts, putting out quality value and sharing incredible thought leadership consistently.
Focus on being known as someone who stays committed to the impact they’re here to make and the vision they have for themselves and for this world.
Even if that means you fall down sometimes but you quickly pick yourself back up and keep going.
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