We know it’s unhealthy. But we all compare our lives to those of our friends from time to time. We think about our relationships, our social lives, our homes and our careers. And try to find the places where we’re outstripping the rest. Or worry about the areas where we’re falling short.
If you’ve fallen in to the trap of feeling that all your friends have rocking careers but you don’t, here’s what you need to do:
Remember that Appearances Can Be Deceptive
Everyone has a friend who likes to talk nonstop about all the great things happening in their life but then barely mentions the things that aren’t going quite to plan. You only have to glance at social media to see this kind of lifestyle air-brushing going on every day. When you look at a friend’s career from afar, you might not be getting the whole picture and therefore any comparison is completely pointless.
Remember that Everyone Has Different Priorities
So your friend just got a huge pay rise and now earns way more than you? Maybe their primary focus is their work. And yours is your amazing relationship or your children or your free time hobby or an excellent work-life balance. What you do for a day job doesn’t have to define you. Everyone has different priorities. If your friend’s priority is work, it’s only fair that they’re rewarded appropriately. Embrace and own your personal priorities and you’re much less likely to get hung up on where everyone else is up to.
Boost Your Confidence
When you want to progress in your career, you need confidence – confidence in your skills, your knowledge and your ability to thrive at the next level. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to others you’re unlikely to be feeling great about yourself. Instead of focusing on your failings, try to remind yourself of your successes every day. Big or little – celebrate all those times when you’ve done good. You’ll approach your work or that exciting job interview with renewed self-assurance.
Don’t Let It Ruin Your Friendships
Being bitter about your friends’ successes is a sure fire way to shrink your social circle. As a friend, you should be able to support and celebrate your friends in the way you’d like them to do for you. And who knows? They may be able to put in a good word for you at their company. Or tap into their network of contacts. Or just get a few career top tips. Pull together and one success could lead to others within your friendship group.
Focus on Your Own Career
If there really isn’t any reason why your career should be heading for the skies, ask yourself why you’re not there yet. By focusing on your own career, rather than those of your friends, you can work towards a better career future. Maybe you need to move to a company where progression is better available. Or push for a pay rise and more responsibility where you are. Or change careers entirely. Whatever you do, set realistic career goals and develop plans to attain them. Being proactive rather than bemoaning your lack of opportunity is the only way to improve your career prospects.
When everyone’s career seems to be flying and yours is still very much on the ground, the worst thing you can do is feel dejected. You need to stay proactive and confident in order to reach your career goals. Or, alternatively, be true to yourself in discovering that there’s so much more to you and your life than just your job title.