2 Effective Pills to Stop Comparing Your English with Your Colleague’s.
You know that friend, colleague, family member and ex-collegemate? They have it all, don’t they?
➤ The college mate has a thriving business.
➤ Your cousin has an enviable lifestyle.
➤ Your friend is wealthy enough to take 4 holidays a year.
➤ And as for your colleague, their communication skills in English are unparalleled.
You look at yourself and your achievements and wonder where it all went wrong.
Ok, that’s a little dramatic but let’s be honest, when we’re wallowing in self-pity, being dramatic is our life saviour.
The temptation for comparison is all too real today. It can be positive, but all too often it’s pernicious. It eats away at our self-esteem until we’re left with an empty shell where our soul used to be.
It’s something I struggle with every day. Comparing myself to other bloggers, trainers, online solopreneurs. I look longingly at their success, compare mine to theirs and quietly retreat into my cubby hole. In defeat.
I bet this happens to you too.
It definitely happens to my clients and readers who write to me. They tell me how bad they feel about their English. They tell me how all their colleagues are so much better than them. How they’ve tried so hard but their grammar is still bad, their vocabulary is non-existent, and they can’t seem to articulate a flawless sentence in that meeting.
In his poem, ‘To a Louse’, the great 18th-century Scottish poet, Robert Burns wrote:
“Oh, would some Power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!”
And here’s the irony.
My clients, my readers, my peers all tell me how much they admire me. How my work has affected and changed their lives. How much they respect the decisions I’ve made and continue to make. And yet, whilst deeply grateful, something inside me says I am not good enough compared to others.
You probably have positive feedback about how you communicate, how well you managed that meeting, how well you conveyed your message during that presentation. But you don’t believe any of that. You know better because that inner critic constantly reminds you your English is not good enough compared to others’.
How could you stop negatively comparing yourself to them? How could you cure yourself of this curse and start seeing yourself the way others see you?
I’d like to offer you 2 pills that have been successful cures.
Pill #1: Go from Scarcity to Abundance
You need to move away from a mindset of scarcity and towards a mindset of abundance.
First, let’s explore what a mindset of scarcity looks like.
➤ You don’t have enough technical skills
➤ You don’t have enough confidence
➤ You don’t have enough grammar
➤ You don’t have a wide enough vocabulary
➤ You’re not articulate enough
That’s why you’re not as successful as your colleague.
You measure yourself against that articulate colleague who gives flawless presentations, answers difficult questions effortlessly, speaks without pausing.
All you see is the chasm between you and them with you on one side of the bridge and them on the other.
You don’t see the bridge beckoning you to cross it because you don’t trust yourself to be able to reach the other end.
So, you stay rooted to your side feeling hopeless.
Here’s what you need to cross that bridge to reach a mindset of abundance
You need to look back and retrace your steps. Reflect on your journey, the steps you’ve taken, what you’ve achieved along the way.
Start with what you can do now in English.
Be honest with yourself! Don’t dismiss your accomplishments.
For example, don’t dismiss that 10-minute presentation you gave telling yourself that it was nothing. Anyone could have done that.
I am sure they could have but who cares about them? I am interested in what you’ve done. You’ve proven you can do it and you did it. Way to go! One small win in the bag of accomplishments.
What else can you do? List everything down.
Reflect on the steps you took to achieve these small wins.
Now review your notes. How do they look?
I bet you’re astonished by how much you’ve achieved. And you didn’t even know it. Why? Because when we take small incremental steps we don’t realise the kilometres we’ve travelled.
Pill #2: Analyse the Truth Behind Your Colleague’s Success.
It’s tempting to believe that everyone else has had it much easier than us. But the reality is always very different.
So, ask yourself these questions.
➤ When did they start using English at work?
➤ How much practical experience have they gained in that time?
➤ How long did it take them to get there?
➤ What support did they get? For example, coaching, immersion programmes.
➤ How many times did they experience failure?
➤ How did they deal with it?
If you don’t have all the answers, ask them! You’ll be surprised by what you discover.
Whenever I’ve asked someone I admire about their journey, I’ve discovered that it was rough, had many detours, false starts, failures, rethinks, failed experiments. And most revealing of all, the journey is not over yet.
I then realised that the only difference between them and me is that they started their journey much earlier than me. They’ve failed more than me, they’ve learned more than me, they’ve tried and tested more than me.
That’s why they’re better than me. They have more experience, not more ability.
If your colleague can do it, so can you.
Rather than compare yourself negatively with them, learn from them.
Start by observing them. Observe how they communicate. What questions do they ask? What expressions do they use? How do they steer the conversation? What response do they get? How do they overcome objections? Make notes.
Review your notes.
What can you see? Were there mistakes? Be honest. Your colleague is NOT mistake-free. Did you recognise the expressions they used? Have you used them? Could you use them yourself? What was new to you? Was there something they did you’d like to emulate? Were there things they did or said you didn’t agree with? Don’t blindly accept everything your colleague does is wonderful just because their English is ‘better’ than yours.
Take what you like and see how you could adapt it to your communication style so that you own the language.
Apply what you’ve adopted. Test it. Analyse after. Record your findings.
What did you discover?
I’ll put money on the fact you discovered you’re more than capable of communicating like your colleague.
And what’s even better? You can do it with the English you already have. No improvements needed.
That colleague you think is better than you isn’t better. They’re simply ahead in their journey. Rejoice in their success. Learn from them. And.
If they can, so can I.