Why Comparison and Doubt Are Killing Your Brand
It's ten o'clock at night. You've tucked the kids into bed, told yourself you are not going to answer any more emails (nope, absolutely not, you are Done), turned off the lights in the house, and crawled into bed next to your spouse who is already sound asleep, that lucky duck. You know you should go to bed and you really are tired. But you can't resist opening Instagram just one last time. You're just going to peek at your feed for a couple minutes to help you fall asleep.
You open the app and the first thing you see is a post from your competitor. As you read through the caption you think, Darn, why didn't I think of that? It's so clever and look at how many comments they have! I never get that many comments on my post. I wonder what else they're doing...
Before you know it, an hour has gone by where you've analyzed every one of their social media posts and taken screenshots so you can R&D (Ripoff and Duplicate) the ones you like best.
How many nights have you spent like this? Too many to count? Have you ever considered how you feel while you're engaging in this type of behavior and the damage that's doing to your brand?
Recently, I caught myself looking at a few posts on Instagram and I noticed that, though I had been feeling relatively calm moments earlier, I was now irritated. And not just a little irritated. I was kind of pissed off. I caught myself thinking mean things about the other person as I looked at post after posts. And I noticed that while I had my back turned and my mind was occupied with mentally tearing down this other person, self-doubt had crept in. And that's when I realized that this comparison trap we fall into is absolute poison.
You might think you're doing what you have to do to survive. Know thy enemy, know thyself. You have to pay attention to what others are doing so you can beat them and win.
But do you have to pay attention to what your specific competitors are doing every single day on social media? If you sell burritos in Los Angeles, do you really need to pay attention to what all the other burrito sellers are doing in Los Angeles? Or can you instead take inspiration from burrito sellers in other similar, but different markets. Burrito sellers in San Diego or San Francisco for example. If you sell fitness equipment, do you need to pay attention to someone who started their business at the same time as you? Or can you look to the big dogs, the ones you idolize and would pay for the privilege of spending a day with to pick their brain?
I'm not saying you can never look at what the competitors in your own market are doing. That's probably unrealistic. But I think very few people are capable of analyzing what their immediate competitors are doing in a detached, unemotional way that doesn't stir up negative feelings.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard a variation of, I was looking at so-and-so's social media and...
STOP! There's no and. You didn't become a business owner to let other people tell you what decisions to make. So why are you looking at your competitors and letting them dictate your marketing strategy? Blaze your own path. Be a unicorn in a sea of a horses. Stop worrying about what other people are doing and focus on doing you.
Your business needs you to be strong, confident, and self-assured. It doesn't need you looking over your shoulder and second-guessing your decisions. Comparison and doubt will absolutely kill your brand so don't let them.
You know who you are, you know what you bring to the table, and you know why you're different. So just be you. Own it.