Published on July 2, 2017, at 9:15 a.m.
by Dalton Kerby
In a field driven by networking, minimalist résumé designs and all-star LinkedIn profile pages, it’s almost impossible to not compare yourself to the professionals around you. We all can think of “that one person” who had it all: the countless internships at firms you’ve never heard of but sound crazy competitive, the high-ranking position in your school’s PR student organization, and the masterfully articulated five-year plan. We’ve all looked at that person and thought to ourselves that no matter how hard we try, we will never be as “good” as he or she is.
Stop that thought process right now.
First off, realize that you can be no other person than yourself and to desire otherwise is futile. That may seem harsh, but it is key to removing unhealthy comparison tendencies.
Once you believe this, then you need to understand that the people you are admiring aren’t perfect. Because no one is. They’ve made mistakes; they would’ve done things differently at some point in the past if given the chance. Like you, they have a lot to be proud of, and likely a few things that they would erase if given the chance.
Finally, remember that their goals are not identical to yours. We all have different dreams and aspirations and therefore will all take different paths to attain them. Trying to match your career method identically to someone else’s is akin to comparing apples to asphalt — pointless.
I say all these blunt truths to present the idea that this type of comparison gets in the way of what public relations could use a little more of — collaboration. When we view our role models as unapproachable, they become just that. We avoid them and don’t allow them to share their knowledge and experiences with us. In the same way, you may say that you want to share advice with those younger than you, but they might just be looking at you as their own unattainable image of success.
The answer to these problems, in my opinion, is to remember that each person is unique and to remain approachable. Likewise, don’t be afraid to approach others. People are more than willing to share with you if asked.
Be proud of who you are and keep working to better yourself and attain your goals. Don’t be afraid to ask someone out to coffee and pick their brain for advice. And if someone invites you to do the same, don’t be afraid to say yes.