Compulsive Comparing Disorder
It’s tempting to compare ourselves to others. It’s an easy trap to fall into for any leader. “He has this; she does that, if only I could be….” Well, you get the idea.
While we might be tempted to blame social media for the advent of “Compulsive Comparing Disorder” (CCD), let’s remember the final half of the Ten Commandments are rooted in not envying others and what they have. The Ten Commandments are a guide for a life in Christ—and one of the more interesting things is how Jesus deduced the Old Testament law into two main principles: Love God and love others. As leaders, one of our primary roles is figuring out how to love our followers, serve them well and unleash their potential to innovate.
What is Compulsive Comparing Disorder (CCD)?
CCD is comparing ourselves to others; desiring their life, their successes and their skills for ourselves. This comparison is rooted in envy which is considered the most insidious of all the 7 deadly sins as it questions who God made you to be and what he has provided for you. Unfortunately in leadership, CCD creates distrust, disloyalty and a competitive spirit rather than a cooperative culture. Innovation will never thrive in this culture. Instead we must learn to champion others and bring them to their full potential.
A quandary facing many leaders today is how to stop comparing ourselves with others…
A quandary facing many leaders today is how to stop comparing ourselves with others and shift our mindset to loving, empowering and innovating. We advocate that the key to stop the comparison game is to truly champion others.
How do you champion others?
1. Give them opportunities.
As leaders we are typically the gatekeepers or doorways of opportunities, both internally and externally—and we can give these opportunities away or keep them for ourselves. We are all keenly aware of times when we had doors either opened of closed for us. If you are empowering rather than comparing, you will BE that door opener. Remember that when the Lord opens a door for you, always pull others along.
2. Find the good in others and celebrate it.
A great way to stop comparing yourself to others is to celebrate the gifts, successes and vision of others. Try to see how God has gifted others, notice their amazing abilities and then thank God for his grand purpose and design for them. When you move from envy to glorifying God’s handiwork, you just cannot help but be joyous in what he is doing. A great way to celebrate others is to only speak the GOOD things. Guard your words and only speak kindness of others—it will change your heart and your outlook. Seek out ways you can champion with your words the success or adulation of others.
3. Reverse Mentorship
Recognize that the greatest asset right now for organizations is Millennials! Champion your Millennials rather than buying into false stereotypes. They are the most diverse, technologically savvy and globally minded generation on the planet. You need them as much as they long for you.
So, what does envy have to do with Millennials in the workplace? Often times, previous generations compare the way Millennials do things with the way things are done traditionally. This can cripple organizations rather than allowing them to thrive. Rather than viewing Millennials through Scrooge’s lenses, ask what you can do as the leaders to learn, grow, appreciate and help engage the rising generation.
One way to do this is reverse mentoring! Reverse mentoring opens the door for innovation and is an opportunity for older executives to be paired with—and mentored by—younger employees on topics such as technology, social media, and current trends, creating innovation and relevance. By engaging in reverse mentorship, leaders can use the influence and relationship they have to not only give Millennials opportunities but also to champion the talents that Millennials bring to the table.
If we were all honest, we could admit that we have struggled with CCD and envy. Our natural human tendency is to look out for ourselves, to have rather than to give and to seek position rather than to serve others. While envy can disguise itself in many forms, a wise leader understands that the gift of leadership will champion others, build better human beings and unleash potential everywhere.
Dr. Jennifer Murff, president of Millennials for Marriage, has been named among of the top 100 Influential Evangelical Leaders You Ought to Know for her work and research on the Millennial generation. Murff has been cited by USA Today, The Christian Post, and the Institute for Family Studies to name a few. Dr. Kathleen Patterson serves as Director of the Doctor of Strategic Leadership program at Regent University. As a noted as an expert on servant leadership, she has co-coordinated Global Roundtables, in the Netherlands, Australia, and Iceland; and sits on the boards of the Larry C. Spears Center, CareNet, and Millennials for Marriage.