“Stop comparing yourself to others!”
Chances are somebody has given you this advice at some point in your life.
“Flowers are pretty and so are sunsets, yet they look nothing alike.”
They’re nice sentiments, for sure.
But how are you supposed to stop comparing yourself to others when you’re on the job hunt?
Isn’t that exactly what all these companies are doing? Comparing you to the other applicants to see who’s the best?
Well, yes and no.
Let me ask you this: what’s better, a sheet of paper or a pine wood plank?
Dumb question huh?
The only sensible answer to this question would be something along the lines of: that depends.
I guess you could write an essay on boards of wood and build a fence out of sheets of paper, but it would probably work better if you used each of those items for their intended purposes instead.
So it’s not about which item is better in general.
It’s about who fits what job better.
A crucial difference.
It’s the exact same on your job hunt.
You don’t need to compare yourself to others, you need to find out what kind of “item” you are, so you can find a job that fits you better than anyone else.
What are your skills? What do you love to do? What makes you come alive? And so what kind of work are you uniquely suited for?
Pro tip: as a subscriber to DJH, you have free access to The Crash Course, which has exercises to help you find out what kind of work fits you.
So do that first.
Okay, but let’s say you already found out what kind of work you’re uniquely suited for, can you start comparing then?
Think about it. What are you comparing, anyway?
You’re comparing yourself, who you’ve known intimately for years, to a hypothetical set of others, whom you’ve never met, you know nothing about, and who might not even exist in real life, for all you know.
Look, it’s easy to imagine a hypothetical person that might exist somewhere out there in the ether, that’s better than flawed little you at every possible angle and vertical you can think of.
That does not make it a valid comparison.
You can’t dismiss the actual for the hypothetical. Anything real will never be flawless and therefore neither will you.
So just stop it.
Stop comparing yourself to hypothetical man/woman. Just do the work to find out what kind of value creation you would be perfectly suited for, and focus on becoming the best damn pine wood plank you can be.
This post originally appeared in the DJH newsletter.
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