(By Larry Roberts) Comparanoia® may not be a word that you are familiar with but it is most likely a feeling that you can relate to. It’s a feeling that strikes, more often than not, directly after coming in contact with a large gathering of our peers. A gathering where everyone wants you to know how great they are doing, how much money they are making or, in the case of podcasting, how many downloads they are experiencing.
Before we start discussing ways to overcome or avoid Comparanoia, let’s take a look at the definition of this portmanteau that combines “comparison” with “paranoia” to create a word, that its creator, TEDx Speaker and UNapologetic Ambassador Davide Di Giorgio, defines this way:
The UNresourceful beliefs, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and/or actions that come as the consequence of an incident or as the result of not meeting or exceeding a goal, standard, benchmark, or expectation.
With regard to podcasting, Comparanoia has many opportunities to gain a foothold and begin influencing our feelings towards our show, our production quality, our audio quality, our cover art, our downloads, our monthly revenue, our microphone, our DAW — this list could continue for at least another paragraph or two.
But, as Davide pointed out in his definition, all of these thoughts are UNresourceful, UNhelpful, and 100% UNproductive. Here are three ways that you can avoid wasting your time on this UNscrupulous emotion.
Unsubscribe And Re-evaluate Your Expectations
“Don’t compare your beginnings to someone else’s middle.” – Tim Hiller, Strive: Life is Short, Pursue What Matters
We all have our fellow podcasting inspirations. For me, Joe Rogan is the one that demonstrated the power of podcasting, roughly five years ago. While I take comfort knowing I’m not the only one, I would be less than truthful if I told you that, in the beginning, I didn’t have delusions of grandeur — holding on to the unrealistic belief that one day I too would experience millions of downloads per episode.
As my dismal-by-comparison numbers continued to climb at a rate of 10-20 downloads an episode, I spent many nights trying to determine WHY I was so far from Joe’s stats. I could list at least a dozen reasons now, but at the time, I knew I was just as good as he was and it was eating me alive that I couldn’t compete with him.
Eventually, I unsubscribed from Joe’s show out of pure envy, but it paid off in several unexpected ways. I was able to focus on making my show the best I could. I was able to focus on my guests, I was able to focus on steady growth and not becoming an overnight success. I realigned my expectations and found myself much happier and much more fulfilled with my podcast. (Don’t get it twisted, I’m still working on those Rogan numbers!)
Create With An Attitude Of Gratitude
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar
Instead of giving into Comparanoia and hampering your own podcasting progress, step back, take a look at the progress you have made, and say thank you. Instead of asking why you don’t have someone else’s numbers, be grateful that you have your numbers. Remember that 50 downloads may not seem like much, but if you stood in front of 50 people to give a presentation, suddenly that’s a massive crowd.
Spread gratitude throughout every aspect of your show. From your guests, to your co-worker who randomly approaches you to tell you they’ve subscribed, make a habit of saying thank you. Gratitude creates a path to contentment. If you are content, you will find it much easier to create new and original content that people will want to hear and see on a consistent basis.
Focus On What Is Important
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick
Comparison for the sake of improving can be a very good thing and should not be confused with Comparanoia. But, if we allow ourselves to obsess over our differences and our perceived shortcomings, we will quickly find ourselves on a path of self-destruction. Comparisons cause us to focus on the wrong person, and as long as we are focused on the wrong person, we are taking time away from our own creative process. Focus on what’s important. Focus on what YOU have direct control over. Focus on what YOU can do to make your show the absolute best show that YOU can.
BONUS: Sit Back, Breathe, And Enjoy The Ride
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ernest Hemingway
One of the most tragic consequences of Comparanoia is being robbed of the enjoyment of creating something you are proud of. Speaking from personal experience, Comparanoia has robbed me of the joy of accomplishment after publishing my book. It eventually crept in and did the same thing with my course, and at times it even tries to get in my head with each of my articles.
After the inspiration and uplifting experience I had at Podfest, I’m refusing to let that happen anymore. You don’t need Rogan numbers to garner the respect of your peers. All you need to do is create something that you are proud of.
Eliminate your Comparanoia and create something that is a direct reflection of who you are and what your message is. As long as you do that, you’ll find it much easier to sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy this journey that each and every one of us share. Happy podcasting!
NOTE: Davide Di Giorgio is the author of International Best Seller, Being UNapologetic. You can learn more about Davide and his UNapologetic message on his website https://beingunapologetic.com/