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131 – How To Deal With Comparison aka Your Business Nemesis

Wandering Aimfully Through Our Podcast: What is it all for?

131 – How To Deal With Comparison aka Your Business Nemesis

What do you do when someone does something very similar to you and reaches a level of success or virality while you’re sort of toiling away?
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

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Jason Zook

Listen to our full episode on Business Nemesis (aka dealing with comparison) below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.

Five Key Takeaways for Business Nemesis (aka dealing with comparison)

1. Comparison is a natural and relatable feeling

If you’ve felt the sting of comparison to someone else, you are not alone! Often, we are projecting our feelings onto the other person, and it’s a normal psychological thing that happens in our brain because we’re trying to suss out where we fit in the social hierarchy. Understand and embrace that these feelings of comparison happen to all of us.

2. We are all on our own unique journeys

We do NOT have to feel like we’re running a (business) race against other people in our industries. Ask yourself, “What does a good life look like for me? How do I want to run MY business?” You get to define your own values and what matters for your life and business, you don’t have to let the choices and decisions of how other people run their lives and businesses dictate your situation.

3. Business growth that looks positive and amazing often comes with unforeseen negatives

Just because your business nemesis starts reaching all these bigger milestones than you’re reaching, it doesn’t mean those are the milestones YOU need to be reaching as well. You have to decide for yourself, would you rather have a life that feels good on the inside, but maybe doesn’t look as impressive on the outside, or one that looks impressive on the outside and feels like crap on the inside?

4. Ignore, unfollow, mute

Avoid focusing on what drains you, especially in the early stages of business when you are still not making the amount of money you want to be making. Don’t be afraid that if you unfollow your business nemesis, you’ll never see them again in the future. Guess what? The button turns from unfollow to follow very easily. You can also follow the person you compare yourself to again, but best to put your focus, energy, and attention on what you can control.

5. Make a choice about your strategy when you see your business nemesis (especially after unfollowing!)

If you’re on social media and your business nemesis is gaining popularity, it’s likely you’ll continue to see their content even if you unfollow them. Make a choice about what YOU are going to do in that moment, and it’s going to take practice. It may be that when you see one of their pieces of content, you’re going to let yourself feel that jealous/anger/comparison feeling and then we’d recommend immediately writing down one way you’re going to work towards your own goals today. It may be, when you see your business nemesis pop up in your feed, you’re going to list five things you love about your work and how it’s different. You could also go another route and be their biggest cheerleader. When you see their stuff, you’re going to take a moment and wish them happiness, joy, and success. You get to focus on the fact that this is an abundant world and that we all can win!

Show Notes for Episode 131: for Business Nemesis (aka dealing with comparison)

This episode was inspired by a message we received from someone who said a version of the following, “What do you do when someone does something very similar to you and reaches a level of success or virality while you’re sort of toiling away?”

It’s a GREAT question and something we’ve dealt with a few times over the years (and will continue to deal with, as it’s very natural and happens to everyone). We share a few of our own stories about comparison and what we’ve learned about working through it in various ways. We talk about running into comparison early on in your business journey and what to do when seeing someone else succeed can take such an emotional toll on your energy.

Let’s all talk about comparison and the idea of Business Nemesi (Nemsises?) a bit more, because we all run into it.

🎥 Watch Nathaniel Drew’s video about Matt D’Avella:

✈️ Our travel pramvel takes you to the start of our time in Scotland! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Full Transcript of Episode 131: Business Nemesis (aka dealing with comparison)

⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript

Caroline: Welcome to What is it All For?, a podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We are your hosts, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an UN-boring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, What is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.

Jason: And I’m here, too.

Jason: Hi there and welcome to our podcast. I’m your host, Jason. That’s Caroline.

Caroline: Ew.

Jason: Hello.

Caroline: I don’t like…

Jason: It was a very…

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: You know, I put my shoulders back and I was just, “Here we are.”

Caroline: I felt it was very, “This is a professional podcast.”

Jason: That’s what I’m saying.

Caroline: And everyone who’s listening to us knows that’s not true.

Jason: Right? Exactly.

Caroline: Professional is not a word that I would use to describe anything we do.

Jason: But yet somehow we still..

Caroline: But yet somehow…

Jason: Make money on the Internet.

Caroline: We have a business.

Jason: That’s part of the Internet. Hey, here’s an exciting update for everybody listening to this.

Caroline: Oh, shoot.

Jason: Is that very soon we are going to be basically sharing real time travel updates with you.

Caroline: Wow.

Jason: The six week break from the podcast, really… that was kind of our buffer for how far apart we were sharing stuff.

Caroline: And then we just amped it up.

Jason: And then we got back into it, we got caught up, and we did the recap episode of our travel updates.

Caroline: It was because of the recap episode.

Jason: Yeah. We’re going to share basically where we were two and a half weeks ago.

Caroline: I know. And the reason we made this conscious decision is because the whole point of the podcast to me is to share thoughts in real time.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: It’s like, not everybody feels that way, but for us, this is our place to talk things out and share feelings. The YouTube videos are more of a capsule of here’s what we did. Here’s where we stayed. Here’s what we ate.

Jason: Nice, nice. Highlights.

Caroline: Highlights.

Jason: Highlights, but also low lights. Like, we’re sharing some of the real…

Caroline: But the podcast, to me, is the real reel?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And it’s just hard to do that in a lagging type of way because we would sit down to do this and then we do the pramvel and we’d have our notes and we’d be like, “Oh, let’s talk about France.” And I’m like, “I don’t even remember who I was.”

Jason: Yeah. That’s a big part of this full time travel journey. If you’re wondering what this is like, is that when you’re moving so much, especially to different countries, to different cultures, different places, just like a month ago feels like forever ago.

Caroline: It feels like a year. Every month feels like a year, seriously.

Jason: Our time in the South of France seriously feels like last year to me.

Caroline: Me, too.

Jason: Yeah. So far away.

Caroline: That’s so strange.

Jason: The other thing that I wanted to share here as we were getting started, kind of an also interesting update for everybody. We are not on the same couch.

Caroline: Wow. There’s a physical separation. Your feet aren’t in my face. That’s one thing.

Jason: Listen, I have clean feet.

Caroline: No, you do have clean feet, but they’re also feet. Okay?

Jason: Yeah, but look at them. They’re so lovely.

Caroline: I want to be clear. They’re clean. I love you for your clean feet.

Jason: How come my feet are so soft compared to your feet? Like, your feet are like…

Caroline: I’m sorry, what? What’s that?

Jason: Your feet are, like, craggly.

Caroline: Oh, the bottoms of them? Yeah. I’ve always…

Jason: That’s insane. How come?

Caroline: Yeah. I’ve just always had craggly feet.

Jason: How come they’re craggly and how come mine aren’t? Mine are, like, baby’s butts.

Caroline: Honestly, I’ve really thought about, like, I walked around barefoot a lot as a kid. I was just, like, a little grum, just being like, “Bye. I’ll see you when the lights turn… When the street lights turn on.” And I would just, like, run around, and I just wonder sometimes. I’ve just always loved being barefoot, and so I think they get a lot more…

Jason: Yeah, but I’m as much barefoot as you are.

Caroline: You have more resilient feet than I do.

Jason: And we could argue that I basically have, like, baby’s butts hanging off my ankles. That’s how smooth my feet are.

Caroline: You have baby’s butts hanging off your ankles?

Jason: I just thought of that while you were talking because I truly wasn’t paying attention to you. And I was like I have to say this because I want everyone to think about baby’s butts hanging off my ankles.

Caroline: I want you to know also, like, my craggly feet, I used to be very self conscious about.

Jason: Oh, you don’t need to.

Caroline: Oh, now, I’m just, their feet. Sorry.

Jason: That sixth toe, though. You should tell people about that.

Caroline: Yeah, well, hey, some people have six toes. I was also thinking about this because we went to the gym today, and I was doing some ab exercises in front of a floor length mirror, and I really kicked my own butt on the bike, and so I was very flushed. And I was brought back to a time I was very self conscious about my skin growing up because I have very splotchy, red undertone type of skin. And you would see, like, commercials or, like, popular girls? I mean, I was a popular girl, but like, ‘the’ popular girls, you know what I mean? And they would have this flawless skin.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: And people often talk about being self conscious about their weight or their this or their that. My skin was what I fixated on. I wanted flawless skin, and now I just have gotten older, and I’m just like, listen.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: You can’t have it all.

Jason: Are we done talking about this? I want to move on.

Caroline: Oh, okay.

Jason: Yeah. Let’s talk about…

Caroline: Sorry, but… No, that was a vulnerable share.

Jason: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know that was a vulnerable share.

Caroline: Yeah, that was a vulnerable share.

Jason: I thought you were just kind of wrapping that up. I apologize.

Caroline: No, it was just a vulnerable share because it was a real thought I had today.

Jason: I’m proud of you that you don’t think about it. That’s great.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: I’m sorry. I apologize.

Caroline: It’s okay. I just want to share that I’ve outgrown that.

Jason: I didn’t realize it was a vulnerable share. I thought you were just kind of, like, trailing into a thought, and then we were moving on, that’s all.

Caroline: No.

Jason: Because I obsessed way too long on my feet. Anyway, let’s talk about the first part of our adventure here in Scotland.

Caroline: Scotland.

Jason: I resisted the urge to say Sh-cotland, but now that I’ve said Sh-cotland, I’ve now said Sh-cotland. So there you go.

Caroline: Now I’m realizing that Sean Connery’s accent is probably what people think of as Scotland. I know it’s really Scottish, but it’s, like, more Sean Connery than it is Scottish. You know what I mean? It’s like a very specific sound.

Jason: When we were in Ireland, I mean, there were so many different Ireland Irish, and I think that’s just the way it is. Think about being in the US.

Caroline: Of course, there’s different…

Jason: How many different ways do people like…?

Caroline: Definitely.

Jason: There’s so many different ways. People are just different, you know?

Caroline: God, people are different.

Jason: Hey, so we got to Scotland. We arrived in Edinburgh.

Caroline: Edinburgh, I think you just throw away…

Jason: It’s spelled Edin-burg but it’s Edin-buro.

Caroline: And I think a lot of people in the US, like, I learned it as Edinburgh, but nobody calls it Edinburgh. It’s just you got to throw away the ending. You got to be like, Edinburgh, right?

Jason: We arrived in Ed. Ed, Scotland.

Caroline: Ed, Scotland.

Jason: I was very surprised by Edinburgh. We’re going to get to the place that we stayed for two and a half weeks. But were you surprised by Edinburgh?

Caroline: Tell people this is the pramvel.

Jason: This is the pramvel.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: Here we are. Yeah. They know by the feet. And then the vulnerable moment that I screwed up.

Caroline: No, you did great. You came back around.

Jason: And then now we’re in Ed, Scotland talking about it.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: Were you surprised by Ed, Scotland? I was.

Caroline: I had no preconceived notions of what it would be like.

Jason: But you thought it would be like Dublin.

Caroline: Yes, because, and I’ve shared this, I am embarrassed to say how much I just mashed Scotland and Ireland together in my brain as a person who had never been to either of those places. They’re very different. I mean, they’re not, like, very different, but they’re different. And Edinburgh was a lot more spacious, a lot more I mean, it’s still like a big city, but it just felt like a little bit more rugged, a little bit more spacious. There’s a lot to like.

Jason: It’s like comparing California and Colorado.

Caroline: Sure.

Jason: There’s some similarities.

Caroline: They’re in the vicinity.

Jason: Right. But then one is just very different than the other. It’s fine. I really loved about Ed, Scotland just the width of the streets, the low level of the buildings, and it just felt very spacious, especially. We were only in, like, a four block radius. Like, we didn’t spend too much time. But I did go fairly far to go to that coffee shop that I went to. Cairngorm Coffee, I think, is where I went. Lovely coffee shop. Great coffee, actually. Very delicious. And yeah, I think we had a really good time there. We did our first bit of shopping because for those of you who have been keeping up, wondering, how’s the wardrobe holding up? It’s not.

Caroline: It’s not. We had to restock.

Jason: Yeah. Half of our pieces are just, like, worn through or they just don’t fit so well anymore because… eating out all the time. And so you just have to… there’s a size bigger, you know?

Caroline: Yeah. Just do yourself a favor.

Jason: Speaking for myself, specifically here.

Caroline: Of course.

Jason: But anyway, yeah, we spent basically one night in Edinburgh. Edin-burr… Ed. And then the silliest part was we had to take an Uber 45 minutes outside of the city to go to a rental car place. It’s basically like Hertz in America. There are these locations called Arnold Clark.

Caroline: I already forgot about that cab ride. Oh, my gosh.

Jason: There are these locations everywhere. There are Arnold Clarks all over the place. But because there’s basically, like a shortage of rental cars in the UK, we had to go 45 minutes outside the city to find a location that had a car.

Caroline: Also, what a character, this Uber driver.

Jason: Oh, my gosh.

Caroline: I’m not going to get into all of his stories, but he also was not a great driver, I’m just going to be honest.

Jason: Well, he was older, unfortunately.

Caroline: Yeah. And thats’s…

Jason: And that’s not to say that all old people can’t drive, but as you get older, you just start… like he lost a little bit of control of the accelerator pedal, you know?

Caroline: So I was just feeling extremely motion sick in the back of this car. Meanwhile, he’s not only just putting me on a Ferris wheel here, but he’s also telling me just all of these stories.

Jason: All these stories.

Caroline: So I have to feign interest. I mean, I was interested, but I was also just feeling very sick.

Jason: And he has a thick accent. So then you’re trying to focus and pay attention.

Caroline: So many of that.

Jason: And that, I think, for you is really draining because we’re already driving. There’s anxiety and everything. But we got to the Mazda dealership in the middle of nowhere. We picked up our rental car and we then drove. I think it was only like an hour to get to our Airbnb.

Caroline: Less than. It was, like, shorter.

Jason: But we stopped halfway. I found a restaurant.

Caroline: We stopped. I forgot.

Jason: That was just lovely. I don’t even think we have to get to our place. I think we have enough pramvel before we get to our place.

Caroline: Okay, that’s good.

Jason: And then we’ll share the place next week.

Caroline: Great.

Jason: Sorry, everybody, but this is enough. The restaurant was…

Caroline: That you found and you didn’t tell me anything about it. You just said, “I found this restaurant on the way to the place,” and I was already feeling, like, squirrely. And so I was just happy to get off the road and stop somewhere. And you took me to this weird side road. We went down this place and we get there, and at first I’m like, “Where are we?” We’re at this bed and breakfast kind of like vibey place in this top of this hill with this overlooking this lake. And it’s just the most picturesque, enchanted…

Jason: Beautiful.

Caroline: Beautiful. It was the sunniest, beautiful Scotland day. And so we found ourselves at this restaurant called…

Jason: The Grouse & Claret, I think.

Caroline: The Grouse & Claret. Is it a hotel or no?

Jason: I don’t think it’s a hotel.

Caroline: Okay, well, the entry is like weird creaky cottage vibes, but you just got to get through there because you’ll find yourself in the presence of one Vicky.

Jason: Oh, my gosh.

Caroline: Who is, I think the owner.

Jason: I think so, yeah.

Caroline: And she’s a delight and a half. And we asked if we could sit outside because we found out, I think most people probably take drinks outside and they just sit in the…

Jason: Because there’s just like a couple of small tables outside. But there was clearly like a big rotunda style dining room.

Caroline: Sun room rotunda type of thing where you’re supposed to eat inside. But we were outside and we were like, “It’s a beautiful day.”

Jason: Yeah, I got sunburned. That’s how beautiful the day it was.

Caroline: And the food was so good.

Jason: Oh, the food wasn’t so good. The food was famous. World famous, in fact.

Caroline: Oh, yeah. I ordered… On the menu, it said world famous cheese souffle.

Jason: Yeah, this is how we won Vicky over.

Caroline: This is it.

Jason: She comes over and she’s like, kind of just a little bit cold to us, which is fine.

Caroline: Yeah, she’s busy.

Jason: We’re tourists. She saw the owner of Clark Rental pull up and she said, “What do you want to drink?” Blah, blah. And Caroline goes, “We’ll have the cheese souffle.” And I said, “Excuse me, no.” And Caroline is like, “What?” And I said, “Please order it correctly.” She goes, “Oh, the world-famous cheese souffle.” And Vicky loved it.

Caroline: She was like, “This is so funny.”

Jason: She was our best friend for the rest of the meal.

Caroline: She was like, “These yahoos.”

Jason: In which, she would come back and talk to us for like five to ten minutes. She was giving us recommendations. We were telling her that we’re on this travel adventure.

Caroline: Every time she would come back to our table to pick up the food or bring us a new thing or whatever, she clearly had go–because we told her we were traveling and we’re going to spend time here. She had clearly gone to the back because, where her son was the chef and written down on a scrap of paper, she’s like, “My son goes to Perth all the time. Let me tell you about some things.” Perth is where the Airbnb was. And so she’d come back with a scrap of paper with just something scribbled on it. And she was like, “Okay, you have to go here.” Okay. She’d go back. She’d come back and she’d be like, “Okay, now you have to go here.” So by the end I have this accumulation of scrap paper from Vicky of where we have to go in Perth, which was so just wonderful.

Jason: Oh, and I loved it, too. There was one restaurant that she was like, “It’s, like, 62 something.” And then she came back, and she wrote on a piece of paper, she’s like, “It wasn’t 62. It was 64.”

Caroline: And we actually looked it up and it was 63.

Jason: And she just died laughing. She thought was hilarious. Oh, the other thing I wanted to share that was Grouse & Claret. It was lovely. It was beautiful. The other thing I wanted to share was actually back in Edinburgh. Edinburgh. Edin-burr?

Caroline: You’re doing okay.

Jason: Yeah, I’m trying. This is one of those examples where we wanted to go to a specific restaurant, but they didn’t have availability, and I feel like we always share, “Oh, we went to this restaurant and it was amazing” but just to share the realness of what didn’t end up happening. So there’s this restaurant called Baba that is right next to our hotel. Such a cool restaurant. The food looks amazing. It’s very just interesting and different and unique, and I didn’t really find it because we weren’t planning much in Ed, Scotland, and I know some of the reviews are like, “Oh, this is amazing.” It’s like 4.8 stars on Google. Tons of reviews, no availability online. It’s like, “Let’s just go in and see if we can grab a table.” And we go, we walk in the front, and they’re like, “Oh, there’s a community table. You should be able to grab a spot there.” So we, like, go downstairs toward that and like, “Oh, no, sorry, that’s reserved.” Like, “Oh, there’s two seats at the bars.” Like, “Oh, no, sorry, that’s reserved.” And it was just one of those where it’s, like, just a bummer. And so we had a couple of other places that we looked at.

Caroline: It didn’t work out.

Jason: Yeah, we ended up going to a tapas place, and it was fine. It was okay.

Caroline: It was just a little bit more of, like, a big restaurant.

Jason: Yeah, it felt very touristy.

Caroline: Yeah, the food was fine.

Jason: Yeah, I just share it because I think so often you might hear us talk about these really great culinary experiences or any other experiences, and we’ve done research or whatever, and so often people have told us, “Just go with the flow. It’ll be fine.” And when you end up going with the flow, sometimes you end up getting just a fine experience, and it’s okay.

Caroline: Which is fine. We’re only on this earth for…

Jason: That’s what I’m saying.

Caroline: A certain amount of time. And we’re only in these countries for a certain amount of time, and…

Jason: If anything it’s just a reminder for us, we got to get back into the habit of looking a month ahead on where we’re going, scouting out some spots and making reservations, and that’s really just a tip I wanted to share with folks who might be traveling, is do a little bit of research, think a little bit further ahead.

Caroline: If you want.

Jason: If you really care about the experience. Now, there are those of you who are listening like, “I do not care about food.”

Caroline: I’m a Spontaneous Sally.

Jason: By all means, go to the Spanish tapas place. You’ll be fine.

Caroline: What is the sound that’s coming from that bedroom?

Jason: Oh, I don’t think it’s the bedroom. I think it’s the…

Caroline: You don’t think it’s like a bird trying to get in the sun roof?

Jason: No, it’s definitely not a bird trying to get…

Caroline: Oh, it’s definitely not that?

Jason: Definitely not a bird. I would have seen it. I have, like, a bird’s eye view.

Caroline: It sounded very substantial.

Jason: Okay, well, you could just…

Caroline: As like a creature.

Jason: You could just be weirded out about it for the rest of the episode.

Caroline: Now I’m scared. I’m like, what’s in the bedroom?

Jason: We’ll find out later.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: Okay, let’s end our pramvel there. We will pick back up next week and we will share our time at the cottage in Perth with our non-existent WiFi.

Caroline: Outside of Perth, technically, in Rhynd.

Jason: Our non-existent WiFi. This is the cliffhanger for you, Samantha the chicken.

Caroline: Yes.

Jason: Petunia and Larry.

Caroline: Absolutely.

Jason: And the white deer that we got to meet.

Caroline: Yes.

Jason: We’re going to share all those stories next week.

Caroline: And more.

Jason: Stay tuned. Click subscribe so you don’t miss out.

Caroline: Good job, babe.

Jason: Great. Okay, you want to get into this episode?

Caroline: Let’s get into the meat.

Jason: How do you want to kick this thing off?

Caroline: Let’s kick this off by saying that this was an episode idea brought to us by someone in the WAIM-sphere who will not be named. But we loved this idea because it brought up a very fun conversation between us and we were like, “We should just do this as a podcast episode.”

Jason: For sure.

Caroline: And so this entire episode is about the idea of how to deal with your business nemesis.

Jason: Nemesis.

Caroline: And so we use the word nemesis kind of as a little bit of a joke because it’s not that serious. But you know what we mean when we say business nemesis. This is a person or people who are in your same kind of business niche, maybe you know them, maybe you don’t know them. They do something very similar to you, and maybe you start to see them, their career or their business sort of taking off, and you’re still kind of plucking away year after year on your own thing, and you’re like, “What they’re doing is not that different from what I’m doing, what’s missing?” And so every time you see their stuff on social media or you come across them, you get that pang of envy, you get that pang of jealousy, and it just makes you feel some type of way. And I wanted to record an episode about this because it’s not talked about a lot, and I feel like it’s a very normal feeling.

Jason: Yeah, it is. And when I received this message from this person, my immediate response was, “I just want you to know, first of all, this is so relatable.”

Caroline: And so normal, yeah.

Jason: And this is so something that we all deal with and you deal with it at all different journey, parts of your journey as an entrepreneur, as a human. It’s like when you’re just starting something, you deal with it. When you’re in the middle of something, you deal with it. Even when you’re like you’ve reached your goals and things are humming along, which I think is where we like to admit that we’ve finally gotten to, which has taken us many years to get to. We still deal with it. And it’s not something that ever goes away. I think it just gets easier to deal with. And this goes back to the episode that we recorded on fear, where I have this metaphor of like fear is essentially like when you start out, it’s like sitting next to you in a smart car. It’s in the passenger seat, just screaming in your ear. And then you get a little bit further and your car becomes a Ford Taurus and it’s sitting in the back. And then you get a little bit more capable of dealing with fear, and now you’re driving like a stretch limo and it’s all the way in the back, and then eventually you’re driving like a bus, and there’s so many blockades between you and fear, but you can kind of still know that it’s back there, but it just gets so much easier to deal with.

Caroline: Right. The voice isn’t so loud.

Jason: And I think comparison is very similar in that respect. But there are certain things that can trigger you about comparison that become very difficult to deal with. And so that’s what we want to talk about.

Caroline: Yeah. And I think it’s actually there’s two things we’re talking about here, and I think we have recorded an episode before about comparison. And comparison is just a normal thing, right? It’s like, you can compare yourself to friends, you can compare yourself to strangers, you can compare yourself. That’s just a normal psychological thing that happens in our brain because we’re trying to suss out where do we fit in the social hierarchy. But this, to me, is like a very specific type of business comparison that feels a little bit more pointed and a little bit more extreme, where you feel out of control of the feelings that get stirred up in you when you come across this person. And again, oftentimes it’s someone who’s like, doing something very similar to you. And, yeah, I just want to talk about how we have dealt with that because I think different people deal with it in different ways. I also wanted to talk about this because I recently came across a video by a YouTuber named Nathaniel Drew.

Jason: I’ll link to it in the show notes for everybody.

Caroline: And the reason it stuck out to me is because the title of the video, I think, was something like “I hate Matt D’Avella” or something like that. Those of you don’t know, Matt D’Avella is our friend and we love his videos. He’s also an incredible YouTuber. And of course, that is a little bit of a clickbait-ey title. But the whole video by Nathaniel was about, like, basically Matt was his business nemesis. He was this person that he aspired to, but was in… doing something very similar to him and kind of his channel really took off and people would be in his comments being like, this guy is just like a knockoff Matt D’Avella, and that type of thing. And I loved that he did a whole video about what it was like to experience those feelings, because so many of us, I think, actually don’t talk about it because we have this shame and guilt, like, “Oh, I’m not supposed to feel this way about another person.”

Jason: Yeah, it can be jealousy, it can be anger. It can be just feeling like you’re really bummed out if you’re seeing them succeed.

Caroline: And sometimes what’s interesting to me is that there’s this phenomenon where sometimes those feelings, you feel a certain type of way about yourself, but sometimes you really project those feelings onto the person, right?

Jason: Oh, absolutely, and that’s what Nathaniel Drew talks about a lot in that video.

Caroline: Exactly. It starts to become like, “I don’t like this person.” And that’s not true at all. It’s just that this person is this, like, catalyst for these negative feelings you have about yourself. And so it becomes easier again, it’s a psychological thing that our brain does to protect us. It becomes easier to project it onto that person. But I think that’s an important place to start is recognizing that however you feel about this person, it’s probably not about that person. It’s about something that’s going on inside of you. And let’s use this feeling as an opportunity to dig into that and say, “Why does this bother me so much? Like, what is it that’s at the root of this feeling? Is it a childhood feeling that I had of feeling invisible?” This is, like, wild, but I just had a flash of being really into creativity and art when I was in middle school, and there was a really good friend of mine whose parent was an art teacher, and they were into art as well. And I just felt like they were always picking my brain for ideas, and then they would get praised for it because they were like, “Oh, they’re so artistic.”

Jason: Oof. If we could have a whole session on…

Caroline: I know.

Jason: Carol’s not getting credit for things.

Caroline: Not getting credit. But I’m sure a lot of it stems back to that.

Jason: Absolutely.

Caroline: Or, I don’t know, is it not feeling seen growing up with brothers and not… you know what I mean? There’s all that stuff that’s mixed up in there. And recognizing that when you have that feeling of this business nemesis, it’s an opportunity to dig into your past and go, “What is the root of this feeling? Because that’s an opportunity to heal a part of myself that isn’t healed.”

Caroline: Yeah. And I think what’s interesting now that you talk about that, of why I haven’t really dealt a ton with comparison in my life, is because when I think back to my childhood, I moved so much that I never really had time to worry about comparing myself because I never really had time to get to know enough people to get stuck in that.

Caroline: Well, back to my point of it’s our brain’s way of figuring out where am I in the social hierarchy? You were always being plugged into different social hierarchies. So it’s like you know where you stand, which is on the outside.

Jason: Exactly. And I finally just came to be okay with that.

Caroline: That’s interesting.

Jason: Yeah. And so I think as I moved into this, especially, like, the entrepreneurial space, and we’ll talk about some of the ways that I’ve definitely run into this and how it has affected me and how it hasn’t, but, we’re going to talk about for you as well. But I do… now that you’re saying that. I think that’s why for me, it’s never been such a big deal, and I’ve never worried about it.

Caroline: Yeah. And also your way of coping with that set of circumstances in your formative years of always being on the outside, always being the new kid.

Jason: Cinnamon rolls?

Caroline: First of all, definitely cinnamon rolls.

Jason: Of course. Yeah.

Caroline: Okay, so that’s where that comes from.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: But… comfort, but then no, I was going to say your way of dealing with that was really just to totally beat to your own drum.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: Always do things differently. Always embrace your uniqueness. And that, again, is a little bit of a defense against comparison because you just go, “I can’t compare myself to anybody because I’m not doing what other people are doing.” So that’s just interesting. So maybe some people fall in that category.

Jason: Totally.

Caroline: I do think that, depending on who you are and what those triggers are and what those roots are, the way that you deal with it is going to be different. But I hope in this episode, we can just share our personal experience with it and maybe you can grab things from the way Jason deals with it and grab things from the way I deal with it.

Jason: Yeah. Okay. Can I talk about my Girl In Your Shirt story?

Caroline: Oh, yeah, please go.

Jason: Okay.

Caroline: People are like, “Wait, what?”

Jason: Yeah, this is what I wanted to share…

Caroline: Girl in my shirt?

Jason: Yeah, this is what I wanted to specifically share, because it just gives you an example of how you can use comparison as a motivator, which is not to say that comparison needs to be a motivator, and it’s not to say that this is the right way to handle comparison, but I just wanted to give you an example because I do think it can be helpful, especially if you are a personality somewhat like me.

Caroline: Right. Where you want to be pushed in that way.

Jason: Exactly. So I started this crazy idea called I Wear Your Shirt back in 2008. And I know that I came up with this idea on my own. It was this weird thing that I cobbled together and I put it out into the world. And basically no one cared for, like, the first three months. And I didn’t really have much to share other than just like, I tweeted about it and I told some friends, but that was it. 2008, social media, you’re not getting a lot of eyeballs on things. And two or three months into this, I’m really not getting anywhere. I barely have any traction at all. And all of a sudden, I see a TechCrunch article. Because TechCrunch was like, the place to go for entrepreneurial news and tech news.

Caroline: Oh, yeah. I remember that era. Mashable, TechCrunch era.

Jason: And there’s Girl In Your Shirt. And it’s a girl who I don’t know, who basically took my idea and said, “I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to wear a shirt about a company. I’m going to record a video…”

Caroline: Did you explain what I Wear Your Shirt is? I just zoned out.

Jason: No. So I Wear Your Shirt is just like, basically me wearing a T-shirt for a company and promoting them in different ways through Twitter, through Facebook, through creating videos.

Caroline: Basically, influencer marketing before it existed. But the name of the company was I Wear Your Shirt.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: And you came up with it. And you had this very specific pricing model of a dollar day and a calendar. So you see this girl…

Jason: Pop up, get an article on TechCrunch.

Caroline: And get an article on TechCrunch all about this novel, original idea that you came up with.

Jason: And I’m sitting there, and this is one of those rare times where I’m just like, fuming angry. First thing I do is I print off her picture and I start throwing darts at it every day.

Caroline: Can you imagine?

Jason: I didn’t actually do that. I don’t think I had a printer at the time. But I just remember being so mad. I just remember being, “What? I came up with this. This is my idea.” This is how you feel every time I steal credit for anything you do. This is like the one time I can relate. And I remember just kind of stewing in those emotions for like a couple of hours. And I think I went for a walk or I took a shower or something to try and clear my head, which is just a tip of like, if you get in one of these spirals or you get angry about this, just try and clear your mind, step away. But it might take a couple of hours. It might take a couple of days. It might take a couple of weeks. It’s going to be different for every person. But I remember then thinking, “Hold on. Now I want to beat Girl In Your Shirt.” And I don’t mean in angry or combative way. It’s just like, this has now motivated me where I want to win the Who is Going to Wear the T-shirt for Companies Battle.

Caroline: Who’s going to be known for this T-shirt idea?

Jason: Exactly. And I knew it was mine. Like, that in my heart, I knew it was mine. But this was just such a thing where I then figured out, and this is something I think I’ve carried forward since then, which is, “What are all the things I control?” Because I don’t control TechCrunch writing an article about me, that’s out of my control. I don’t control people popping up and doing this and copying me, but what I do control is, “Well, I could just email a bunch of businesses and just tell them that I’m doing this crazy thing and maybe because they’re hearing from me, they’ll be interested in buying.” And so I just remember getting this burn in my butt and I just started emailing people constantly.

Caroline: It like lit a fire in you to control what you can control, which was the amount of input that you were going to give this idea.

Jason: Yeah. And I remember I didn’t follow her on Twitter because we were… basically everyone was only using Twitter at that time. And I was like, “I’m not going to put this person in front of my sphere because I can’t control… and that will make me feel out of control.” I’ll see her tweets, I’ll see what she’s doing, what she’s retweeting, what she’s mentioning. I’m not going to put myself through that. Instead, all I’m going to do is just focus on: I can email 20 companies today, tomorrow I can email 20 more. I can go and record a video and I can post it to YouTube and hope that people find it. And so this was really this first moment for me of seeing comparison as a motivator and going, “No, this actually helps me to know I control X, I don’t control Y, and so I’m not even going to think about it anymore.”

Caroline: Yeah. And I think I shared with you, I think that’s really helpful when you’re in sort of like, level one of getting off of this business nemesis, bad feeling, merry-go-round.

Jason: Round one of the battle.

Caroline: Round one of the battle is like, “Can you take back control?” Can you take back this idea of, like, maybe there’s something about that that is going to motivate you to pour back into your own business? But when you shared that with me and I’m not saying that this is the wrong way to approach it, I’m just saying when I hear you say that, I still think to myself, “Yeah, but in that model, you’re still at the mercy of the game.” Like, you’re still in the comparison game. And if anything, you’re using those negative feelings to then fuel you potentially to an unhealthy work pattern, right.

Jason: Absolutely.

Caroline: So you’re still kind of like on the validation…

Jason: Treadmill.

Caroline: Treadmill, and it’s never going to lead you to a place where you feel at peace. You’re always going to be playing that game and you’re always going to be looking over and seeing like, “Where is that person?” And maybe you get ahead of them, but like, then you’re still playing the game.

Jason: But what I told you, which I think was an interesting takeaway for me from that, was I eventually did win this battle against her, right? I Wear Your Shirt, for me, I sold out the entire year by the 8th month of the year. She stopped doing it. After five months, people stopped paying for her to do it. And then other copycats of the business would pop up. Like the Billboard family that you got so angry about.

Caroline: I was so mad. That was my version of, “This family, they had the same calendar, the website.”

Jason: I didn’t care. So at that point I didn’t care anymore.

Caroline: Because you had kind of proven it to yourself.

Jason: Exactly. And so I think that’s a tip we’re going to talk about later is like, you have to define what it is that proves whatever it is that you’re doing to yourself is enough so that then anything that pops up, any person that elicits that response in you, it really doesn’t matter anymore. And so I think we’ll get to that more later. But I think to your point, like, yes, it absolutely can be dangerous if you use it as a motivator and you go too far and you never get off the validation treadmill.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: But I think if you can know that, “Yeah, but if I get the validation treadmill to… I’ve walked three miles on it at a three mile per hour pace, then we’re done.”

Caroline: That’s a win for me.

Jason: “I’m going to press stop and I’m going to step off. And now I don’t have to do it anymore.”

Caroline: Well, let me ask you then.

Jason: Yeah, please do. I would love for you to ask.

Caroline: What do you think was the difference in your reaction versus the girl who wears your shirt versus that family where you didn’t care anymore?

Jason: Because I had sold out the first year of the calendar and that proved to me that I was the one who came up with this idea and everybody believed in me to do it.

Caroline: I see.

Jason: And so now when this other copycat came up…

Caroline: So was it early days when the girl, the TechCrunch article?

Jason: Yeah, yeah.

Caroline: I see, I see. So you were like, more on your journey, early on your journey. And so you were like, “People aren’t going to know me for this idea.” And then once time had passed, you had proven it to yourself and then you didn’t care anymore.

Jason: It’s like an example I would just throw out there, but it’s super silly, but it’s like, “I’m a Squarespace designer and every one of my designs has cats in it.” And you’re getting no cat website clients, they’re not just for cats. You’re just going to put cats in the sites. But now someone pops up and they’re like, “I’m a website designer through Squarespace who does two cats.” You’re like, “Hey, the cats were my thing.” But neither of you have gotten anywhere with this. And now all of a sudden, you’re like, “I’m going to go email a bunch of people who blah, blah, blah.” You get ten website clients all of a sudden in the first six months of your business, because this motivated you. The two cat person, you don’t even see them anymore. They could be getting clients, it doesn’t matter. But now you’ve done it, right? You’ve achieved it.

Caroline: Okay, that’s fine. But I think most people’s business nemesis is a different story because in your scenario, you’re probably the Girl In Your Shirt’s, business nemesis because you’re the one who did it. You know what I mean?

Jason: Right.

Caroline: So I think most people have someone that makes them feel this way, who does have their business take off and who is getting the recognition that they wish.

Jason: It’s like the opposite way, you’re saying?

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: So this is, the girl in my example. The Girl In Your Shirt wins against me, the two cat website wins?

Caroline: Exactly. And how shitty does that feel, you know?

Jason: What a weird example that was. No, it does. And I think that’s what we wanted to talk about next.

Caroline: Because I think that’s the bucket that most people are in. I was in that bucket. But I definitely think there is something to what you’re saying about time and about proving it to yourself, because there was definitely a time in my career, I just use the word career loosely as like, business things.

Jason: You’re a careerwoman.

Caroline: But when I was posting a lot more of my art online, I had Made Vibrant, I was posting on Instagram, I was getting some traction. And there was this couple, like one or two years, I think it was, actually as I was pulling back from that, especially with my anxiety and stuff, and I was seeing these other artists who were becoming huge on Instagram, there’s one specific person who I knew personally who gained 100,000 followers in two months, maybe, or something, and another person who just took off like wildfire and was everywhere, and they were not doing things that were very dissimilar from what I was doing. It was writing, it was art. It was these thoughtful, more mindful, soulful mantras and things like that. And there was this little time period where I just felt like, “Oh, man, why? why them? Why not me?” But the difference was, and maybe it just came at the right moment in my life because I had already proven to myself that I had a voice, like I had been doing my art for enough time that instead of…

Jason: Was this before or after Abstract Affirmations?

Caroline: It was after.

Jason: So that’s another thing to just bring up, too. So you did this daily… stole the idea from me. You did this daily art project on Instagram where you created an acrylic abstract affirmation.

Caroline: Yeah, but I think… exactly.

Jason: Everyday for 280 days?

Caroline: Yeah, 280 days. And so it’s interesting, right? Because I think going back to this person who reached out to us about this idea, they had mentioned that they’ve been doing what they’ve been doing for years, almost ten years. And you can take that two ways. You can take that as, “I’ve been doing this for years and I’m not getting the visibility that I expected or that I wanted.”

Jason: Or that I’m seeing another person that…

Caroline: Or that I’m seeing in another person, or you can go, “I’ve been doing this for years, I’m doing it.” You know what I mean? I trust myself that I have a voice and that I’m not just someone who is starting out on this journey and just trying to chase after other people. I have experience that I can pull from that says if I would shift my focus from external validation to internal validation, I would see that that’s an accomplishment in itself.

Jason: Yeah, what I was just going to say, what I got kind of excited about, and I think I dropped the mic, may have sounded weird, but if you didn’t know, then that’s cool.

Caroline: That’s what excitement sounds like.

Jason: Is that just because your business nemesis starts reaching all these bigger milestones than you’re reaching, it doesn’t mean that those are the milestones that prove that you are also capable and able to do this.

Caroline: Totally.

Jason: So I think that’s such an interesting part of this to think about because I never was existing in the Instagram space, because I think that’s a lot of what has caused this too.

Caroline: Yeah, totally.

Jason: Where it’s like, oh, and I think Twitter to some degree, probably, but I kind of got out of it soon enough that I didn’t start doing it. But it’s like, “Oh, I have 5000 followers, my business nemesis now has 500,000 followers.” But the point that I’m trying to make is it doesn’t mean that they, quote unquote, won because they have 500,000 followers.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: What means that anyone wins in this experience is defining what does a good life look like for you and a business with enough look like for you?

Caroline: Exactly. It’s remembering that you’re actually not running a race with your business nemesis.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: You’re both running your own individual races.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: It’s like, the trick is that social media gives us this common denominator of followers or engagement or whatever these metrics are that tricks us into believing that we’re all in the same competition, we’re all in different competitions, quote unquote.

Jason: Absolutely.

Caroline: We’re all running a different race, we all have a different, quote unquote finish line. We all have different things that we want out of our lives. And that’s the next thing that I want to talk about, which is something that really was a turning point for me. So going back to these two business nemesi.

Jason: You had two archenemies.

Caroline: I had two nemesi.

Jason: Wow. Wow.

Caroline: Mm-hmm.

Jason: You just really want to say nemasai.

Caroline: What is it? Nemeses?

Jason: No, nemesi, for sure, yeah, that’s it.

Caroline: Yeah, it’s for sure, nemesi.

Jason: Like, cactus, cacti. Nemesis, nemesi, you know how they say that?

Caroline: Two nemesi. Okay. And what was a big turning point for me. Well, two things. We’ll talk about the second one later, which is just straight up ignoring their posts.

Jason: Yeah, for sure.

Caroline: But the first one was remembering that when you see people get visibility that you want, you have to remember that all of those positives come with negatives.

Jason: Absolutely.

Caroline: Not enough people spend time thinking about this. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems. Mo’ followers, mo’ problems.” So I started thinking to myself, “Wow, I actually don’t want millions of followers on my, like, commenting on my work.” There’s more pressure to post all the time. There’s more criticism.

Jason: Especially in the times that we live in now?

Caroline: You get trolls, you get people who want to pick apart everything that you say. You get people who don’t know your full personality. They only care about the one aspect of you. They don’t take you as a full human being. And you get feeling like you’re now boxed into one thing because you’ve gotten this massive visibility doing this one thing. I saw one of my nemesi go on that huge rise of, and they were posting, the thing that made it so hard as they were posting stuff so similar to me. It was like these little diagrams and these colorful, artistic…

Jason: You name them, Carol, let’s go get them.

Caroline: No, I’m definitely not.

Jason: I’m just kidding.

Caroline: But I saw them go through this huge, consistent period of gaining all these followers and then they just dropped off the map. And in sharing, they said it was because they started to feel so much pressure of each post having to be at the same level as the last one. And I started going, and thank goodness for them sharing that and sharing the downsides of that. But you just have to remember that every person who has something that you want, it comes with something that you don’t want.

Jason: Yeah, I was just going to say a really practical way to think about this, especially if you’re in this moment where you’ve been doing something for years, there’s someone you can see who’s your nemesis, who has 10X the followers, they talk about, like they make 10X the money that you make or whatever it is that they share that you can see that just like really causes this feeling in you. And it’s to then ask yourself all the little things that you can’t really see and you don’t really think about that go along with that. And so that’s for you to really go, okay, let’s just say 10X, just as an easy thing. “If they’re doing 10X better than I am,” that’s just what I think. “Right now, do I want ten times the amount of comments on every post that I post on Instagram?” And think about that from the perspective of there are things that you post that get negative comments. You’re now going to get ten times negative comments as well. “Do I want ten times the DMs where I’m already just trying to take care of my family, my kid. I’m trying to juggle, and I have DMs that I have to go ahead and answer.”

Caroline: “And now I feel guilty because they’re asking me questions…”

Jason: So now think about getting ten times the amount of that. And it’s the thing that you just talked about. If you feel any pressure at all of the perfectionism of every post that I have to share, I feel like, “Is it good enough? Is it whatever?” Now think of that as being ten times more pressure, and then you can really sit back and go, “Do I want ten times more of a business?”

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: And I think the clear answer for anybody who listens to this podcast specifically is, “Hell no.”

Caroline: Yeah. And something really funny started to happen where I did exactly that, and I really just started to focus on the things I didn’t want about having this massive visibility. And then it shifted even more where I started feeling like I had a special secret where I was like, “Ha ha, I’m just like a small little account, and I can do whatever the fuck I want.” I can post or I cannot post. I can take a step back. I can post something experimental. I have more flexibility. I started really feeling like I was not boxed in by the trappings of having such a big audience, and I started to relish that. And so really, what I’m talking about here is what we’ve talked about all the time, which is I defined what my values were. Flexibility, freedom, the ability to change my mind, the ability to evolve. And I realized I was actually already living out my values, and I didn’t need more visibility to bring that to me. In fact, if anything, a meteoric rise would actually detract from that.

Jason: Yeah, and I think this goes back to what we were talking about earlier. To now talk about it a little bit more is to really define, what are the things that actually matter in your business or in your life that you can then control, that you could define? And so if that’s like, you’re someone who makes websites and you’re like, my goal is not to have 200,000 Instagram followers, it’s to make 20 Squarespace websites a year.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: That’s a tangible goal that you can easily achieve that has no effect by anybody externally from you. Like, someone getting 200,000 Instagram followers because they post their Squarespace designs and they get more viewership. It doesn’t impact you not getting 20 website clients this year.

Caroline: And back to your point. You’re putting all of your stock in something that is beyond your control. An algorithm of people’s, just whatever the trend of the moment is, this X factor of why people follow certain people. We don’t know, you can’t control that. So it’s like you said, by defining this internal metric, you have more control. And then also we’re talking about all of this and sharing tips about shifting your thinking. All of that is a lot easier when you are making the amount of money that you want to be making. But I know that some of you listening to this are like, “Yeah, easy for you to say of having your secret and staying small, but you probably felt that way when you were already making enough money.” And we were and we weren’t. Like, we were probably still struggling. But, yes, I understand it’s harder when you’re not making enough money because you’re going to be living in that scarcity mindset more. And that scarcity mindset is what’s going to convince you that someone else has what you want.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: So I just wanted to take a moment to recognize that that is harder. But the thing that I would offer you is just like coming in at a purely practical approach. If you’re not making the amount of money that you want to be making, isn’t it a waste of your energy to focus your attention on something that is going to drain you? Because you know that when you go to that page and you see what they’re up to, you never feel… unless you’re Jason and you’re, like, motivated.

Jason: Sometimes you’ll feel motivated, but, yeah, for the most part, you won’t.

Caroline: You probably don’t. Like, most of the time, now, you’re in a thought spiral.

Jason: Angry stew. You’re making an angry stew.

Caroline: Angry stew. You’re not energized about your work. All you can see is the flaws in what you’re doing. All you can see is what you’re not doing. And so just from a purely practical approach, if you haven’t made the amount of money that you want to make yet, it’s not a good business practice. Prevent yourself. Remember that right now, if you’re scraping by and you’re still trying to make it and get your head above water, it is a waste of your resources and your energy to go hunting for comparison.

Jason: Yeah. So let’s talk about the number one strategy that we have for folks to fight comparison.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: And it’s going to sound so simple and so easy.

Caroline: And probably not very well adjusted.

Jason: Yeah. Here it is.

Caroline: Ignore them.

Jason: Unfollow.

Caroline: Unfollow.

Jason: Mute.

Caroline: Do not see their stuff.

Jason: I think the reason why people don’t do this is because they feel like it’s like a permanent thing that’s going to last forever.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: Well, if I unfollow this person, maybe sometime in the future I’m going to want to see other stuff. Guess what? The button turns from unfollow to follow. You can then follow again.

Caroline: And here’s an important point I didn’t write down in the notes, but I think it’s a little bit of a callout moment and look hard at yourself in the mirror. Or do you not want to mute them or unfollow them because you kind of get off a little bit on the angry, bitter feeling that you feel?

Jason: That’s the hate-watching.

Caroline: The hate-watching. The hate-following. Because now you’re projecting onto them. And now when you see their stuff, you can kind of go, “Oh, yeah, they’re doing better. But look how that post didn’t get as many likes.”

Jason: Exactly. You start to tear them down.

Caroline: Exactly. And you know that’s not healthy and you know that’s the only reason is because it’s your brain’s way of trying to grab power and control where it does not feel like it has power and control. And so I think it’s a moment to take a real hard look at yourself and go, “I don’t like that I do that, and I do that.” So maybe it is time to mute and unfollow and, yeah, I’m not going to get that little hit of dopamine that I get when I get to pick their stuff apart and I get to feed on that angry feeling, but it’s time for me to let that feeling go, and it’s time for me to focus on more productive ways to use that energy and to focus on all the things I love about what I’m doing.

Jason: Yeah. And I think another point that you wrote down here that I think is really helpful is it’s like you said when there were some of those accounts that you were muting or whatever, but their posts were still coming back up.

Caroline: Yeah, they were so visible that I was now getting their reshares in my stories and things.

Jason: And so that’s really just a practice in, “How do I desensitize myself from the angry stew that I create when this pops up?” And to see it as like, maybe you just become a cheerleader and you just go, “Good for them.” It’s great that they’re getting that shared. And I’m going to take that just for a second to go, “Kind of made me angry to see it, but also good for them because I want other people to succeed in this world. And now let me go to the things I can control. Let me go make a new post that I’m excited about. Let me go work on this client work that I have. Let me go make my product a little bit better. Let me go work on some of the market…” List out all the things you control in your business. Then go do one of those things.

Caroline: Yes. If there’s one takeaway that I want someone like an actionable takeaway to takeaway from this episode.

Jason: I hope it’s about my baby butt feet.

Caroline: It’s not.

Jason: Dang it, okay.

Caroline: Moisturize your feet, y’all. No, I’m just kidding. If there’s one practical takeaway that I want you to leave, I want you to make a choice about what your strategy is going to be when you see your business nemesis content on social media. So you can decide to mute or unfollow. You make your own choice with that. But let’s just say that you can’t unsee all their stuff. Let’s assume that something of theirs is going to come across your sphere or it’s going to get reshared. I want you to make a choice about what you’re going to do in that moment, and it’s going to take practice. So this choice that you’re making, keep in mind you’re going to do it over and over and over again. Is it going to be, “Okay, when I see one of their things, I’m going to let myself feel that nemesis feeling and then I’m going to list one way that I’m going to work towards my own goals today.”

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: Okay, is it that? Is it that, “Okay, when I see one of their things, I’m going to list five things I love about my work and how it’s different.” Is it that “I’m going to be their biggest cheerleader. When I see their stuff, I’m going to take a moment, I’m going to close my eyes and for 5 seconds I’m going to wish them happiness and joy and success. And I’m going to focus on the fact that this is an abundant world and that we all can win and it’s not a ‘they have a bigger piece of the pie, and therefore I have a smaller piece of the pie.'” What is going to be your business nemesis strategy? And then I want you to practice, because it is a mindfulness practice that we’re talking about, right? And it’s not going to happen right away, and it’s going to take desensitization. So that pretty soon when you see their stuff, you’re no longer having that overwhelming feeling of envy or that overwhelming feeling of bitterness or whatever that is. Now your brain has a wellworn groove that it knows, “Oh, when we see their stuff, we have gratitude, or when we see their stuff, we take action” or whatever that is.

Jason: Yeah. Okay. I think the last thing we wanted to talk about is I just wanted to bring up at the end here, do we think about this at all in our businesses nowadays? And so specifically for Wandering Aimfully, which is an online coaching business, which is really what it is, we just boil it down to it. We have very little competition. No one’s really doing this.

Caroline: Right. This whole online business coaching thing feels very avant garde.

Jason: You got basketball coaches, you got football coaches, but you don’t really have online business coaches.

Caroline: Yeah, we pioneered it, basically. We’re kidding. There’s a million business coaches. There’s a million online coaches. And yeah, I think the reason that we don’t struggle with this is almost because there are so many.

Jason: I really do think that’s it. A big part of what we’ve tried to do is just to stay in whatever lane feels most unique to us and to just build the small audience that we need to succeed as online business coaches and not think about, “Oh, well, there’s other coaches who do these six figure webinars launches every month and we’re not having that.” It’s like, who cares? It doesn’t matter because what matters to us is we’ve had an Enough Number for years that we hit last year and we were able to celebrate getting to that point. And it took three years to get there through a lot of hard work and a lot of effort. But also, we did it staying small. We did it by not having a 10X growth Instagram strategy. We did it by not growing our email list to some gigantic amount by normal standards of what that looks like. We did it by not being on the constant treadmill of content creation. And what we did it by is just making things as great as we possibly could, over delivering for our existing customers, and then hoping that people would want to promote our stuff through word of mouth. And they did. And that’s what worked.

Caroline: Yeah. I think when you dig into it, hearing you talk about that, what is different about that place I was in a couple of years ago with the Made Vibrant stuff and where I did feel more vulnerable to this business nemesis feeling, whereas I don’t feel that way now with WAIM. I think the difference is exactly what we touched on in the beginning of this episode, which is I realized that we were not running a race against other people. We were in a journey of our own. You cannot beat us at our own life. Does that make sense? You literally can’t beat me at my own life because it’s my life.

Jason: The metaphor I think about is like, we were climbing Mount Everest by ourselves.

Caroline: Yes.

Jason: Without knowing how long it took anybody.

Caroline: You can’t even get on our mountain.

Jason: It’s like, for us, we can be like, “Ha ha, I’m going to beat you to the halfway point to be fast.” Like, what does that even mean?

Caroline: And also you can’t get on our mountain anyway. Nobody is on our mountain, and so it’s ours.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And so I think we finally realize that. And the way that you realize that is you define all these things.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: You define, “What is the life I want to be living? What does my day-to-day look like? What do I care about? What do I not care about? What is my enough number? How much money is enough money for me to be satisfied?” And all of those answers are going to be different for each person. So it’s like once you define them, that’s your own Mount Everest, and you’re now on that journey by yourself. So it doesn’t matter what other people are doing because that’s your journey.

Jason: Yeah. Okay. So our other business is Teachery, which is an online course software, a SaaS app, as we call them.

Caroline: I really thought it was, like, a good place to end it?

Jason: Yeah, I know. That’s okay.

Caroline: Okay. I just felt really good about it, you know.

Jason: Well, now I’m already talking, so it doesn’t matter. Like, we’re going forward.

Caroline: You got to make this really good then.

Jason: Right. So I think what’s very interesting about Teachery, specifically, is that it’s very clear to see who the competition for Teachery is. You have the Teachables, the Thinkifics, the Podias. I could name all of them. But here’s the thing for me, for Teachery, that I’ve always thought about from the very beginning is I am never going to be able to keep up with these companies because I don’t have the resources that they do.

Caroline: Nor do I want to have the resources.

Jason: Nor do I want to have the resources. I don’t want to hire a team. I don’t want to get funding. This is a side project for me and I’m happy for it to stay that way. And as Teachery has evolved, and as we started to care about a little bit more and it’s grown organically on its own, when we did the huge rebrand in 2020 that you did, that’s amazing.

Caroline: Thank you.

Jason: When we really sat down, we started to look at all these other businesses. None of it was about, “We want to reach their goals financially. We want to reach their customer goals. We want this much amount of money being made by our course creators.” We don’t care about any of that because we can’t control that. What we can control is, “Let’s have Iggy, the idea monster, be our mascot. Let’s have customization be the thing that… what people could do the most in their courses versus all these other platforms.” The money side of it. Teachery doesn’t even make that much money in the grand scheme of all these course platforms. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that we feel like we have a platform that feels so unique and different. And that, to me, became the thing where, like, “I don’t even care to think about comparison to these other companies” because all they care about is money. All they care about is getting as many customers as possible. It’s very clear because you see that’s all the things they talked about. For us, we just care about having a good product that people want to talk about. So as long as that’s our bar and that’s what we keep doing, then we’re doing well.

Caroline: Yeah. And if tomorrow another business popped up and they were like, “We are Peachery and we’re a course platform that really focuses on customization and we have this weird mascot.” If that was the case…

Jason: I think you would learn how to do a DDoS attack and you would do it for them.

Caroline: No, I truly believe… I would be bummed. I would feel that feeling, but I would remember, I do not control what that company does.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: And there is enough positive things to go around and I would just focus on doing what we’re doing and being ourselves and doubling down on what makes us unique. And then I would just focus on patience and being in it for the long term, and I would put my head down and do what we do day in and day out. And it would be the situation of the Girl In Your Shirt would eventually either go away or succeed, or we both succeed.

Jason: There’s enough shirts to be worn.

Caroline: So many shirts.

Jason: Yeah, no, I think that’s a good place to end on. Again, I just wanted to share because I think there is a lot of relatability in comparison. There is a lot of relatability in these visceral feelings that you have when you see someone else succeeding who is very much in your niche, in your genre, in your space. Maybe you started at the exact same time, and they’re just like, everything looks 10X on the outside, but you also don’t know what it’s like on the inside either. And as long as you’re happy and fulfilled in your life and you’re feeling like, “Yes, I’m on my way toward my goals, maybe I haven’t hit all my goals yet, and I’ve been at this for years, but I’m still enjoying the ride. I’m enjoying the process, and I’m going to go back and focus on all the things I can control at any given moment, and I’m going to unfollow them, and I’m going to ignore them, and I’m going to stop having this cycle of seeing their stuff, send me into a downward spiral, and instead I’m going to go, ‘I don’t want to see them anymore.'”

Caroline: And ultimately, you have to decide for yourself if you really had to choose and it came down to this, would you rather have a life that feels good on the inside, but maybe doesn’t look as impressive on the outside, or one that looks impressive on the outside and feels like shit on the inside? If it really came down to that choice, choose which one you want and then remind yourself every day you’re working towards that one that, who cares what it looks at like from the outside? Because it feels good on the inside.

Jason: Exactly. That’s a good wrap up.

Caroline: Okay, good.

Jason: I have one more thing.

Caroline: Don’t you dare.

Jason: All right, that’s it for this episode. We hope you enjoyed this. Thank you to the person who I know listens to our podcast who shared this with us, because I feel like this is a really interesting conversation to discuss the business nemesi of all of our different worlds.

Caroline: Yeah. And if you’re a listener and you have other interesting ideas, feel free to email us.

Jason: Yeah,

Caroline: About topics that you’d love to hear from us.

Jason: We’d love to…

Caroline: We love chatting.

Jason: I mean, we probably won’t talk about it, but we’d love to hear from you.

Caroline: Yes, we will.

Jason: We might. Okay. That’s it.

Caroline: Okay, see you next week.

Jason: Bye.

Caroline: Bye.

131 – How To Deal With Comparison aka Your Business Nemesis

(Big Fat Takeaway)

Every superhero has a villain and every online business owner has a Business Nemesis, so we want to help you fight them and comparison.


This article written by

Jason Zook

I'm all about that Cinnamon Roll life (that just seemed like a "cool" way to say I love baking and eating cinnamon rolls). Also, I co-run this WAIM thing as well as Teachery. Currently, 75ish% completion of Tears of the Kingdom 🧝‍♀️⚔️.

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