It is human nature to compare ourselves to others, and comparison is often a tool that can serve us well for success. For example, if I want to rank higher in my spin class, by comparing my numbers to the leader board of the other classmates, I push myself a bit harder and perform better. Or, if I compare myself to other guests in an on-camera interview, before I’m about to go on, I observe what works and doesn’t and improve my performance. These are healthy comparison tools. It’s also human nature to have an ego and to experience fear. However, when you live in the dangerous trifecta of ego, fear and comparing yourself to others, you are not only hurting yourself, you are slowing down the process of reaching your highest potential.
As a director, producer and speaker coach, one of my jobs is to observe. I have to be patient with my speakers because they are also in process. I can’t expect perfection out of the gate. I may not love something they are doing — for example they may dramatically emphasize a certain word — but I wait, because they may organically stop. Or they don’t, and that’s when I decide if I’m going to ask them to change it or if it’s grown on me. It’s part of the process, and you cannot rush the process. If you do, I guarantee your ego will show up, closing you off to collaboration, feedback and growth, creating the first part of this dangerous trifecta equation.
If a speaker I’m coaching is still stuck or needs my support, I’ll direct them. Not allowing speakers to have all the answers along the way always creates some fear. It’s scary not being perfect during rehearsal. But here’s the disconnect: Rehearsal is about rehearsing, not being perfect. Uncertainty allows for expansion in the content and in the delivery, so it’s paramount to let go of the fear of it. If you don’t let go of that fear, you have just added the second variable of the trifecta.
Sometimes, the speakers I coach will ask me, “Why is this other speaker booking so many stages? We are the same level of experience, so why is he speaking all over the world?” This question means the final variable of comparison has been added to the trifecta, leading us to nothing good.
When you allow ego, fear and comparison to infiltrate your world, nothing makes sense. And this uncertainty breeds more fear and more comparison, which then feeds that hungry ego even more. You cannot do your best work when you are making it about you.
The trifecta of ego, comparison and fear, not only keeps you stuck, it makes you impatient, frustrated and annoyed. And, more often than not, it takes you off of your own path. I suggest paying attention to this equation at all times.
1. When your ego takes over, remind yourself that your message is what’s important, not you.
2. Instead of comparing your path to another’s, redefine your goals and strengthen your message.
3. Allow the fear to be a healthy part of the process instead of letting it define your choices.
When you begin to trust the process, stay on stage literally and figuratively, and fully embrace your unique point of view, you will become the success you are meant to be. It’s okay to not have all the answers yet. Simply play your scene until it all makes sense. Because if you stay in it, it will.