In this online world. it is so easy to compare ourselves to others.
We've all seen that Instagram post of a speaker onstage taking a selfie with the cheering audience right behind them.
Or the Facebook humble brag post about being upgraded to first class “because I travel so much for speaking, #speakerslife.”
These posts are enough to send you on a downward spiral into the jaws of the comparison monster, where we start wondering why am I not on stage?
I have just as much to say as that person. I should be on that stage.
I must suck.
And I get it. I do and did that too, especially when I first started my business.
So confession time. There was one speaking coach when I first started out that drove me bananas.
She was everywhere.
She was talking about her unicorn six-figure launches. She had pictures where she was blowing glitter or showing off her heart hands, and it made my blood boil.
But the fact of the matter was is that she was way ahead of me in her business.
She and I are two different people because if you ever see me blowing glitter in a picture or making heart hands, then that's the day you, dear listeners, should check in with my husband and make sure I'm okay; because that is not who I am.
I know that my people, they like me because I'm a bit of a rebel and a straight shooter. I am not about rainbows and unicorns and glitter.
But we all fall prey to that comparison monster.
So how do we stop comparing ourselves and escape the grasp of the comparison monster so that we can stay focused on creating a speaking business that supports us?
Prefer to listen?
Today I'm going to tell you one lie that the comparison monster tells us and two truths on how to defeat that monster so that you can start getting onstage, spreading your message and making a difference.
Lie: It’s Been Done Before So YOU Can’t Do It.
So here's the biggest lie the comparison monster tells you.
If someone has already done it, you can't do it at all.
When we see that someone else has created success from a message that is related to ours, we automatically think well, now I can't do that. That success is no longer available to me.
Perhaps you talk about leadership, and one day on Google you stumble upon a speaker who has almost the exact same take on leadership that you do.
You see their pictures, you see their sizzle reel, and you think oh crap, I can't talk about this anymore.
Frequently when I am in the middle of creating something new for my business, either a talk or an offering, I often will find another person who is doing something similar to what I am doing.
All that means for you and for me is that when others have done it or are doing it, it shows there's a need for it.
One speaker, one person can't fulfill the need and the demand that is out there for that message.
When you see a speaker who is similar to you, the universe is sending you a sign!
It’s a sign that we need your brilliance on this topic. There's room for you, too, because you've got a different take, a different perspective, a new way of seeing and presenting this topic that people are going to resonate with.
Don't see success as a scarce commodity only given to a few. That's what the comparison monster wants you to think.
Know that with consistent action, success is available to you as well.
Truth #1: We All Start at ZERO
Once we know that success is not a scarce commodity, we have to realize that it’s OK to start at zero when we're building our speaking business.
We all start with no clients, no followers, no speaking gigs, no speech, no website, no sizzle reel. For most of us, we all start speaking for free.
Even some of the big time, big name speakers started that way.
I think about the interview I did with Simon T. Bailey on how to break into corporate speaking.
That's how he got his start. He started at zero as well.
Because you're comparing their end, their spotlight time, to your beginning or to wherever you are on your speaking journey.
You've got to realize that each one of those people, each one of those big-time people, they started at zero too.
Your action step is to embrace where you are right now and realize that every successful speaker has been where you are too.
Truth #2: Your “Competitors” are Not Your Competition
Let me say that one more again.
Your “competitors” are not your competition.
One of the assignments I do with the speakers that I work with is to identify their competitive set. Who else is speaking on the topic that they are speaking on?
I warn them that when they do this, it's easy for them to let the comparison monster snag them in his evil jaws and pull them under.
It's easy for our minds to start thinking, “Oh my God, I can't believe so and so spoke there.” This website is so nice, my website is such a piece of crap. Wow, they have a bestselling book. I don't have a bestselling book. I can never be a speaker like that.”
The point of this activity is not to be snared by the comparison monster. The point of looking at your competitors is twofold.
First, to see what is possible for you, what success could look like for you.
And second, looking at your competitors actually helps you identify where you could speak next.
It’s true that places that hire speakers don't typically book the same speaker year after year after year. But if you see a speaker who speaks on a similar topic and they're getting hired by organizations, that might be a great organization for you to start cultivating a relationship.
So other speakers are not your competitors.
Other speakers are your colleagues and your inspiration.
So celebrate with them when they post their smiling mug with an audience cheering in the background because it's possible for you too.
What if you and I slay the comparison monster together? Sounds like fun! I'd love to chat with you one-on-one about how we can build your speaking business so that you're seen, heard, and make a difference to your audience while getting paid along the way.
The best way to do that is to apply for a Speak for Impact strategy session, and together we can plot out your speaking success in the next year.
So go to drmichellemazur.com/speak. Don't let the comparison monster eat you and your speaking business.
There's enough success for everyone and your speaking competition, well those are your colleagues, your peers and your friends who will cheer you on and like your audience selfie.