The Mirror Isn’t Your Problem

by Abby Brummel

Human Connection

I love a good road trip. It’s fun to get in the car with your friends and just drive for a couple hours, no matter where you end up. The last road trip I went on was with two of my best friends to Chicago to visit another one of our friends. The three-hour drive gave way to some really great convos about life, the future, and… comparison? I know, kind of a weird topic for three 21-year-olds to talk about, but that’s what we did. It all stemmed from the vein of vanity, which I guess probably is a pretty common topic for 21-year-olds to delve into, but the discussion has kept me thinking ever since we returned home.

I firmly believe that all of us start our lives liking how we look. Do you ever remember in the moments you spent running around your backyard at age three looking at yourself and thinking you looked too fat, too skinny, or too ugly? No, probably not. Those feelings probably developed on your first day of preschool when you looked around at all the other students and thought to yourself, “Why do I still have all this roly-poly baby weight on me while all the other five-year-olds look like lean, mean, biting machines?” (I’m just paraphrasing five-year-old you here…) After that moment, self-doubt starts to fill your head and it never leaves again.

I understand self-doubt. Believe me, it guides most of my decisions even when I wish it wouldn’t. It’s hard to look in the mirror and love every single part of yourself. Except, that’s where I think it’s also the easiest to love yourself. When I look in the mirror in the morning, I often think, ‘Wow, this outfit is killer!’ and ‘My hair looks flyyyy today!’ (Yes, these are my actual thoughts believe it or not). It’s only when I walk outside the safety of my bedroom that I think, ‘Wow, I could stand to lose a few pounds!’ and ‘My hair is a frizzy messsss today!’ The old saying is true: comparison is the theft of joy.

Why am I divulging my deepest insecurities to you right now? Because I think that saying is true for your business, too. It’s easy to sit in your office, look at your computer screen, and think, “Wow, sales have really gone up this quarter! We must be doing something right!” and “Our social media game is on fire!” It’s when you look at your competitors and what they’re up to that you feel discouraged and self-doubt starts to flood your mind.

Don’t let comparison steal your joy about what great things your company is doing. Your company ishaving an amazing quarter and your social media game ison point! People who achieve success are not the ones constantly looking around them at all the other cars on the road. They are the people who only look straight ahead at where the road is taking them. I’m not saying it isn’t good to give yourself a reality check every once in a while to think about what you need to improve, but it doesn’t do you any good to psych yourself out when you’re doing great work.

Let’s hop back into the car with my friends: Why did this whole convo come about? One of my friends asked us to say what our favorite thing about ourselves was, appearance-wise. I’ll tell you what I said if you promise to keep a secret. Pinky-promise? My weight and how my body looks have always been something that made me feel self-conscious. I told my friend that when I really looked at myself in the mirror, though, I loved how I looked and my body made me feel amazing. It was only when I compared myself that I felt any differently. So I promised myself this year to only listen to what my body told me about myself, not what my brain thought the world should be telling me—and that has made all the difference for me. Hopefully it will make all the difference for your business, too.