This morning I got into the office and I did exactly what I should not have done.
I got on Facebook.
It’s not that Facebook is evil—it’s one of the products we use every day for our clients—it’s just that some mornings, when I’m feeling less-than-confident, browsing Facebook spirals into the comparison game.
Here’s the jist of the comparison game: you see a post from someone you know who’s doing something amazing; it could be a friend, competitor, mentor, whoever. Maybe they’re hosting an amazing event, connecting with people you admire, or just plain being cool. Suddenly, you start to ache in the center of your chest, your limbs go a little numb, and you think to yourself, “What the fuck am I doing with my life?”
In the world of the small business startup, where your entire livelihood is questioned on a monthly basis and there is little to no separation between where you end and the business begins, thoughts like this can shake you to your core. They cause you to question everything about your own dreams and desires for your company and your life. For me, they leave me feeling depressed and marginalized.
The worst part about this is that I’m doing it to myself.
I’m the one who’s taking the simple act of browsing on Facebook and turning it into the end of the world. After re-reading a previous paragraph, one part really stuck out to me: “Thoughts like this can shake you to your core.” I realized that I’m letting a thought, one of a million passing through my brain every hour, shake me to my core. How ridiculous is that?!
Thoughts are funny things. They can propel you forward to greatness or “shake you to your core.” They are fleeting by nature and seldom rooted in reality. Yet this doesn’t stop us from grabbing them and giving them the substance they need to be much more destructive. We take them and make them real (to us).
Well, here’s something real I do know: I have the power to turn my perceived thoughts about my own demise into thoughts about my own greatness.
My grandmother always told me as a child (usually when I was throwing an only child tantrum), “You got mad by yourself, and you can get glad by yourself.” You know what? She’s right. Because here’s what playing the comparison game doesn’t do: it doesn’t change my own life path. It doesn’t change the amazing and talented person that I am. It doesn’t change the good work me, my company, and my team are doing. It doesn’t change the tasks I have to accomplish today. All it really does is make me feel shitty for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON.
So that’s my roller coaster ride this morning. I’ll probably feel great and awful a few more times today. And you know what? That’s ok. Because feelings and thoughts are alot alike. They come and go and only take on the substance that we give them. I’m going to do my best to give the good thoughts the substance and not the bad ones. I’ll struggle with it, I’ll win some and lose others, I’ll still have moments of WTF. But I’ll have less of them. And that’s a good place to start.