Who Are You Trying to Be?

I was catching up with my friend Mike last week when asked me this;

Who do you compare yourself to as a speaker?”

Hmmmm.

I told him “I work hard not to compare myself to others.”

“Yeah, I get that, but like, who do you watch and try to be like?” he asked.

If you (or Mike) asked me this a few years ago, I would’ve given a laundry list of speakers.  I would’ve told you why they were great (sprinkling in sarcastic comments about how I wasn’t) and I’d have told you what I was doing to try to “get to their level.” 

Not anymore.

Me.” I responded, “I work hard to show up and speak like me.”

Let me explain.

I’ve spent my fair share of time “trying on” things I’ve seen others speakers do.

I’ve copied gestures and phrases and even imitated the way others say their words

(ooooh she drew out her “s” like “thissssssss“-maybe I should do that too?).

I’m embarrassed to admit that I tried to tell someone else’s story like it was mine.

(Side note: I had the person’s permission & encouragement, but it still felt gross.  Don’t do it.)

Are you stuck comparing yourself to others?

Maybe you don’t try on other people’s style, but you let comparison stop you from trying at all.

I’ll never be as good as him so why even try?”.

or

You let comparison turn into an unhealthy competition.

(sitting in the back of the room, muttering to yourself or others about how you could do it better)

Comparisons stop us from showing up at our best. 

So what do we do about it?

Remember this;

There will always be someone who’s ahead of you and someone who’s behind, in speaking and in life. 

That’s reality.

(I have yet to win an argument with reality.)

Comparing ourselves to someone else’s “greatness” (or “not so greatness”) isn’t helpful.

Help yourself today by focusing on what you can do to show up at your best. You’ll be glad you did.

 

PS

Big thanks to my friend Mike for allowing me to use our story and his picture in the blog!  Mike is the owner of Bensi & Company.  He’s the author of The Success of Failure, an outstanding speaker and good friend.  Watch him in action here and learn more about his passion for creating people-centered workplace cultures at mikebensi.com.

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