We’ve all been there. We happen to catch a notification on LinkedIn from a former colleague who’s suddenly scored an unbelievable promotion. Or maybe you bump into an old friend who practically doubled their salary after being headhunted. Even when you’re trying to switch off from work, with the omnipresence of social media it’s easy to feel bombarded by people who seem to have everything together.
Of course, we want to feel happy for and inspired by the person who is making things happen. But, it’s easy to do a compare and contrast and start to wonder, what happened to me?
Whether its on Instagram, Snap, Facebook or even in real life, in an age of constant notifications and in all honesty, oversharing, it can feel like people around you are accelerating way faster than you are.
If the career you are coveting seems to have landed on someone else’s plate, it doesn’t mean you can’t, or won’t, achieve your goals too.
Turn your attention back to you, but not in a negative compare and contrast kind of way. It can be easy to think that person is making more than me / is more successful than me / is getting ahead faster than me but our journeys are not the same, even if we start at exactly the same place. The path they took to get there will no doubt have had just as many dips as they’ve been peaks, as well as sacrifices and tough times along the way.
Instead of comparing yourself directly to others, take time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve learnt from the tougher times as well as the highlights in your career so far. These experiences, even the horrible ones, are the building blocks that you will use to carve out your career path as you continue to move forward. And you will move forward, it just may not be at the same pace or in the same manner as someone else.
I used to think careers were supposed to follow a rapidly ascending trajectory. I always thought my journey would be something like this: Go to school. Get through my exams. Make it to university. Work harder at more exams. Graduate. Find a job. Keep the job. Work my ass off. Get a better job. Keep working hard. Get promoted. Secure a fancy senior role with my own office. Make a pile of money. Go to lots of long business lunches. Live happily ever after. Based on what I’ve experienced so far, it rarely goes that way.
If you’re not where you want to be yet, that’s totally fine.
Instead of focusing on others, focus on yourself. If you don’t have one already, make a plan. Take time to sit down and start to outline where you want to be, and some of the steps you anticipate you’ll need to take to get there. Think through how you can leverage what you do best. Think about the skill sets or connections or experience you need to acquire to help you get where you need to be.
And then, work on the plan. Channel all your energy into taking those steps towards the career you’re building. One step at a time.
Post by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema