Published on:

10th Jun 2021

278: Comparing Yourself to Others in the Field: Avoiding The Pitfalls

Today’s show is about a topic that has been a struggle for much of my life and career.

I’ve fallen victim to comparing myself to others and feeling like I’m not measuring up.

It’s taken a lot of personal work for me to learn to compare in healthy ways that don’t cripple and stifle my creativity and purpose.

Are you in the same boat? Join us to learn more!

Our Featured Guest - Supriya Blair, PsyD

Dr. Supriya Blair is a psychologist in Albany, NY. We have connected through the STC community, and I wanted to get her input on the topic of comparing ourselves to others.

We’ll start by discussing how comparison comes too easily for many of us and how Supriya noticed this

comparison impacting her life until she was able to reframe her perspective.

We will consider an all-too-familiar scenario in which a colleague’s success triggers insecurity in our lives, along with helpful tips and resources to navigate the tricky field of comparison to others.

Dr. Supriya

You’ll Learn

●     Why comparison is so prevalent in the helping professions

●     Three ways we compare ourselves to our colleagues:

○     Seeing someone else’s path and journey as THE template for success

○     Not recognizing my authenticity as a source of empowerment

○     Not allowing for different business models in finding my unique path

●    How to handle the pushback when we launch into our own path

● Navigating the difficult moments when someone else experiences success or achieves the milestone that we want

●     Why the ability to serve is the most important thing

●     Practical help in the area of comparison to others:

○     Brene՛ Brown’s book, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough"

○     Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)

○     Meditation practice

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Learn More at https://sellingthecouch.com/headway


Disclosures: Please note that all opinions are my own and based on my personal experience. Sponsors are acknowledged. Some links in the description are affiliate links where if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you. I use these funds to continue to create helpful content to serve our field. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

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Hi. I'm Melvin. I'm a psychologist (PhD), entrepreneur, and online creator living in Philadelphia, PA.

In 2014, I began to think about how to use the therapy skills we learn in grad school, and in our clinical work into different realms (e.g., podcasting, consulting, online course creation, etc).

This allows us to serve others on larger scales while diversifying our income beyond 1 to 1 work.

I make podcasts and videos about business, tech, productivity, and lessons I'm learning from becoming the CEO of a lean, mean 5 person 100% remote team (we're not really mean..it just rhymed =P).

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I'm actually using it. The mic that I normally use for, for like video recordings, for consult, for coaching calls, that Mike is the road, video mic TG, if you're curious, but, uh, I'm, I'm. Getting ready to use, uh, getting ready to set up the new mic, which is going to be the Shure SM seven B, but I just haven't had a chance to do that.

. Today's podcast session is [:

Uh, I've had to do a lot of personal work on this, uh, in, in terms of just therapy and my own like journaling and lots of conversations and things like that. I wanted to have this conversation of. This conversation, because I know that this is something many of us struggle with, which is comparing ourselves to others in the field.

quote called comparison can [:

Her website is at Dr. supriya.com and Sabrina and I, she is part of the STC newsletter. That's how we first connected. Uh, she sent a very sweet and thoughtful note a couple of months ago, and we've had just a nice connection and, and, uh, yeah. We got to this point where it made sense to do a podcast conversation on this topic, we're going to cover a range of different things.

And first, we're going to start with this idea that how comparison comes so easily to many of us. And why does Sabrina think that is? And then some of the ways that. Even for Supriya how she noticed that she was comparing herself to other colleagues and how it impacted her and how she was able to sort of reframe and think, think about.


Or launch an online course or do paid speaking or something like that. And that insecurity inevitably creeps up for most of us. And how does Dr. Sabrina handle that tension as it, as it comes up? And then we're going to wrap up with some of the resources and tips and things that. She's found helpful, just, uh, just to navigate this whole world before we do get to today's podcast session, just wanted to take a moment to thank a brand new sponsor on the STC podcast.

ild a new mental health care [:

So more specifically, um, I actually didn't know this, but one in four Americans have a treatable mental health condition, but most don't get that care. And the number one reason that they often don't is price. So practically because 70% of therapists do not accept insurance. Because of the administer. And often that's because of either lower Lois were lower reimbursement rates, just difficulties getting on panels or because of the administrative burden.

asset free national network [:

And at the same time, helping them so much of the population that is seeking mental health services and in, in an awesome way, you can learn more about headway in the services that they provide over@sellingthecouch.com forward slash headway. So we'll get right to today's podcast session. Here's my conversation with Dr.

Supriya Blair from Dr. Sabria. Dot com Hey, Supriya welcome to selling the couch.

Supriya: Hey Melvin, thank you so much for having me

Melvin: both excited and grateful for our conversation. I, uh, you know, we've, we've connected over email, have, you know, built a nice connection and, uh, it's, it's neat too. Actually do a podcast conversation and that actually to actually be on zoom and, uh, and talk.

So I'm grateful for this time together.

Supriya: Me [:

Melvin: Yeah, absolutely. Today's topic is a pretty vulnerable one, you know, I know that just. Something I've struggled with. I know that a lot of our colleagues struggle with, which is comparing ourselves to others in the field.

And, you know, I'm grateful that we can have a, an honest and vulnerable conversation like this, because I feel like so many of us are gifted in so many different ways. And it's so easy to let that comparison. Um, most tourists from fulfilling what, you know, we were put on this earth to

Supriya: do. Absolutely. I think it's a super important conversation and one that doesn't always get, get proper light, I would say.

mparison. Thing. It's almost [:

Supriya: Sure. So I liked think that one of the reasons why we do compare is well-intentioned.

So we want to serve our clients as best as we can make sure that we're keeping up with best practices as that's part of our responsibility and overall, genuinely want to. Give better do better. I also think that, you know, patterns are learned over time. We don't just necessarily pick things overnight.

t of something we thrived on [:

And ultimately I think if you really go get down to the bedrock comparison really comes from insecurity. A feeling of right. Am I doing enough? Am I, am I on the right track? Am I being enough? Jay Shetty has a, I know you're a quotes person. So I think you'd appreciate this. Jay Shetty has a really powerful quote where he says comparison means you feel dissatisfied and disappointed with what you have.

So the only thing that makes you feel better is feeling you are better than others. It's a recipe for failure.

Melvin: Yeah. There's sort of this lack of contentment, like just given the circumstances, it's very, almost like future focused where you don't appreciate the present moment. Yeah, that is such a good quote.

I'm so glad. Like you, you pulled that quote, what, in that quote resonated for you? For me,

s really, I think it was the [:

So right. Is that I don't feel good enough or is something lacking and then the other part, so what do we do with that comparison? Well, in order for our ego to feel a bit. Better than we might sort of fall asleep place herself as above and beyond. And, you know, sine tangent, spiritually speaking, you know, I truly come from the belief that we're all the same inside.

We're cut from the same cloth, but our spirit, right. That is the same within us. Um, our soul expresses a differently. So earlier, prior, right, we had talked about this idea that we all have those unique gifts. And that's really where our soul shines through.

Melvin: Hmm. Yeah. It's such a, such a beautiful way of putting it.

I wanted to ask you a [:

Supriya: colleagues. Yeah, the first one, I would say, um, as a pretty poignant conversation back in prior to postdocs. So funny story between internship year and postdoc.

I had a long weekend, so I ended August 29. And then I remember the day and postdoc started right after labor day, September 2nd.

Melvin: Oh man. You liked rolled right into it. Huh?

Supriya: I did. And it was out of state. It was, it was a thing. Maybe it's a good thing. Prior to the end of my internship year, I sat with my then dissertation chair who really, you know, someone I really admire.

ivism. And I remember asking [:

Your responsibilities, their responsibilities are different from yours. So you don't have to do. What they're doing, and it might seem so obvious, but I think sometimes we don't give ourselves permission to do something differently because we see like other people or what they do as almost like the template.

Versus a

Melvin: template. Oh, interesting. And almost like you have to do that template because that's the only way to accomplish it.

nk one, right as we're a bit [:

Melvin: us share.

Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I, I think, I mean, even like at a practical level, like I remember starting this podcast and, you know, John Lee Dumas and Pat Flynn are like two people. I really admired in the podcasting space. I think my personally is probably a little more like pats, but we're obviously like completely different people.

But I remember like in these initial episodes, I felt like I had to have a certain tone, had to be this like super peppy high energy, which is like not who I am at all. And then I had to ask questions a certain way and it is true. Like, And, you know, I, yeah, I think I was like younger and naive and scared and, you know, and didn't, I was trying to find my voice and all of those things, you know?


Supriya: And you know, us being a conglomerate of all of our mentors, all of our professors that we respect so much. And just bringing that light forward, I think is really

Melvin: beautiful. [:


Supriya: So interestingly enough, I'm going to sort of toot my own, my own horn a little bit here. Supposedly with my dissertation. I was really like the only person that didn't have to do a revision in the schools like history. And very shortly after the funding, she had asked me, you know, take some time off and celebrate and then come back to me in like January.

And we'll talk about publishing and. I had a lot of, you know, psychobabble, cognitive dissonance. And it just wasn't something that I was interested in that I wanted to do. So, you know, I, I had to have a, I did have a meeting with her and I said, you know, I respect you so much. Obviously you are my mentor.

I came to this school was to [:

Like you want to do well. Right. And you want the people you respect to respect you. And there's also a time where you individually. And I think that was, um, a really poignant moment for me to say, I respect you. My lane is shifting,

Melvin: Oh my gosh. I was like, put myself in your shoes. I would have went like right away.

those lessons from mentors, [:

And one of the most honoring things that I can do is to respect that path that I'm being called. Yes. So after that conversation, like, what was that like? How did it sit with you? Yeah.

Supriya: Well, to your point, right? So much anxiety, right? Because at least in my mind it was well, Oh no, she might yell at me or I don't think your advisor's really well.

his next area of my life and [:

So I do a lot of writing and I used to write poetry actually in high school, but going into the schooling system, I lost sight of that. And. It was almost like moving from an academic writer to a free writer again. And the process was really interesting because, um, academic writing is not for me. I did well in it, but it just didn't really come.

It wasn't as fun. Right. And I wanted to sort of step away from that, that model that. We were, or that template we were talking about. And so I would just get paper out and just sort of doodle right. And over time, that really helped me just to express myself more. Mm

Melvin: yeah, absolutely. I think, uh, yeah, I mean, just so well said, I, I think there's such this interesting thing.

y felt this. And I know that [:

And this is the path that I want. So I wanted to ask you because like, this is something I've often struggled with, which is when you start to go on your own path. There can be pushback, right. And even pushback can sometimes come from people. We respect, whether it's family, friends, colleagues. Right. How do you in general, like, handle that?

someone else. Right? So it's [:

I was actually having a conversation with. My old boss who happens to be the same generation as my dad, and both were private practice individuals. And their model was so different than what could be today. Meaning they were typically the breadwinners. They had that nine to five or nine to six model. And that's what you did every day.

And then we see someone like you, right? Where. Um, more people nowadays are juggling multiple hats. So really just taking yourself out of the equation, recognizing someone is telling you something from their viewpoint, right? Can you honor their perspective without taking it personally? Number one, and with the comparison factor, right?

someone else is successful, [:

Oh. And in that it's a bit scary, but it's so much more empowering.

Melvin: Yeah. No, I think, uh, I was just gonna like connect with you on that because I dunno for me, I think one of the like recent, I think life realizations was. That, you know, I don't want to like look at my life like later and say that I didn't do something because someone told me not to do it or that I would regret doing it because I was just, she was scared.

Like, [:

Supriya: Right. So you have at the end of the day, right? I mean, at the end of the day, who do we wake up with ourself at the end of the day? Who do we go to sleep with ourself for the rest of her days?

So, you know, you're speaking to something that's super important, which is all of your choices, all of your dreams, they're yours, and they're all

Melvin: beautiful. Yeah, absolutely. I wanted to kind of wrap up with, well, maybe like a scenario. I imagine you have seen this. I know that I have struggled with this, which is, you know, let's say you log on to some.

accomplished. Right. Whether [:

Right. I know for me, there is this thing and I, and you said it really well. And I maybe I just wanted to sort of like go a little deeper with it, but. There's a moment for me and I really have to check myself, right? Like, you know, if, for example, you know, someone that I really respect, you know, has a podcast and there's this growing at a faster rate than mine.

Right. And there's a moment for me. I'm like, I really have to check myself because there's a thought that comes and it's like, Mel, why, what are you doing wrong? Right. And I really have to check myself on that because it's what you said, like what I'm trying to learn. And it really does not come naturally to me.

, all of that kind of stuff. [:

Supriya: Yeah. And one of those is exactly what you had just said. Right? You check yourself, right. You're taking yourself out of that equation.

And another one that I would say is we're not privy to people's, um, editing rooms, right? We're not privy to their process. I think you give a really different perspective in, in a public platform, right? You are very open and you share that blood, sweat, and tears, but in many cases we're not privy to people's blood, sweat, and tears.

hat we do is meaningful and. [:

And when you serve, um, in my personal belief system, the point is that you're serving, right? So you're giving and the service is the most important thing. And Earl Nightingale, he, um, had, this is like, I don't know, 1950s or something. He had this, you could YouTube it. It's a talk about the strangest secret, and this has a little bit of a monetary component, but he says that.

You know, so many of us, I think we focus on money, right? And, and, you know, getting to be financially independent and providing for our families. But he says the secret to money is actually service because your service leads to success. And then your success inherently will you'll gain money after you're successful, not before.

s out of the equation, we're [:

Maybe you sort of step back and you gather your own thoughts. You gather your energy and perhaps at a later time, you come back and congratulate. Deepak Chopra. He says, he talks about like the, the law, the spiritual law of giving and receiving. And he says, when you give, right. So if someone is doing something wonderful and you're recognizing it, you are calling attention to it.

bundance is in a way aligned [:

That means I'm in this arena

Melvin: too. Well, that's such a different and so much more empowering way to look at things, you know, uh, to see it as like something that, yeah. That you're in the arena with them, that that is a potential for you, right. As opposed to something that, that you can never, that you can only aspire to and never achieve.


Supriya: And you know, Melvin, one thing about, so it's interesting, here's a real life in process, right? You and me thing. So there've been plenty of times when I listened to your podcast. Right. And the thought comes up, should I do a podcast? Like. Oh, would I talk about, and so far, all of the times that the thought has come up, it's been known, right.

not my thing right now, but [:

Right. You could say, thank you. And right. Like be well. And I heard a reframe recently, which I really loved, which is, you know, could that competition actually shift into partnership?

Melvin: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and I guess sort of the, the other point of that is if, when that sense, if you see something right, that someone else is doing and you dismiss it so quickly, those partnerships opportunities, none of those things ever even have the chance to come to fruition.

is conversation. I know this [:

Supriya: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, I love Renee Brown, Dr. Bernay Brown. So one of her books, they're all fantastic. But, uh, with the not good enough in particular. She has a book called long title. I thought it was me, but it's not moving from what will people think I'm enough?

Melvin: Yeah, that was impressive.

Supriya: I think that's right or close to it.

, he talks about my assuming [:

And then finally, I would say honestly, meditation. So meditation has really helped me clear the clutter of. You know, mind, just the jargon that goes on. And it's also been my number one tool to spark creativity, to be

Melvin: honest. Yeah. That's awesome. Uh, I'm a big fan of mindfulness and meditation as well. I was like, I dunno.

I mean, it's like a whole other conversation, but I think that particular thing, I just feel like that's such a. Vital like skill to learn, especially as a business owner, because just because of the volatility of business ownership, you know? Absolutely. Supriya where can we learn more about you and the good work that you're doing in the

Supriya: world?

lvin? Uh, so Dr. supria.com, [:

Melvin: Perfect. We'll put that in our show notes as we I'm really grateful for you and yeah. And really looking forward to staying in touch. I think

Supriya: so often. Absolutely. Me too. Have a great rest of your day. You too.

Melvin: Hi there. Hi, have you enjoyed my conversation with Supriya and especially if this is something that you have struggled with, which is comparing yourself to fellow colleagues in a way that.

Seems to more hurt you than help you. I hope that today's podcast session has just really been helpful for you. I was reflecting on this conversation with Sabrina and several things definitely resonated for me. And I think one of those things, especially that's resonated is when even seeing if something kind of pops up, right?

, on social media or we hear [:

And I notice that this is, you know, pinging a little bit inside for me and yeah. Just seeing it more like, Oh, is this more of like a potential excitement kind of pinging like, Oh, this is actually something that I would want to do and wanting to potentially do in the future and what Ben Supriya said of turning that, that insecurity into an opportunity for collaboration.

casters podcasting course in [:

And, uh, I remember. Being so realizing that, you know, a lot of our colleagues were coming to me for consults on how to launch a successful podcast and being really scared of and realizing that, you know, there was a potential course there and, you know, uh, An opportunity to create a course specifically for helpers and healers that wanted a podcast and building a community around that as well.

And I remember just being stifled that for by that for several months. And finally, in a moment of courage, I reached out to John. I mean, John is like big in the entrepreneurial space, like little me, right? And I asked John, I was like, Hey, this is what's going on. You know, my colleagues are reaching out for a consult.

if I kind of launched my own [:

But he was so gracious and understanding. He was like, Hey, listen, you know, basically you have, you have, uh, people to serve and go ahead and do it. And I don't know for me, just even like, see, you know, that, that conversation, him saying that was just so affirming. And I've definitely reached out to like Kate in the following years.

And just even ask, you know, a couple of things. As I built out things and ask question that it's just been so helpful. So I think that's sort of a practical example of, um, for me, I think the big takeaway from that, that little story is think about even in your own life, in your own business, some of the things that you want to do.

That you [:

Maybe it means scheduling a console that somebody that's doing something that you want to do. Um, whatever that is, you know, I hope that today's session just gives you that extra drive and motivation show notes to today's episode can be found over@sellingthecouch.com for slash session and the number two seven.

u know, there's this tension [:

And I alluded to the, one of the issues that a lot of clinicians. Don't the reason that a lot of clinicians don't want to deal with insurance companies is because of just the crazy amount of paperwork that's involved. And then you make like a single mistake and then it gets rejected. And now you're trying to track, you know, a session that you add.

Several weeks or even several months ago and trying to get payment for it. And I know that many of us are like, I'm piecing out on that. I'm not doing that. And how do we actually make this way easier? Because they have a team that manages this for you and takes care of this for you. So literally all you have to do is submit the short sheet, uh, with the clients.

g reimbursed. In fact, I was [:

What that means is imagine the countless hours, you may be submitting paperwork. What this practically means is that you can focus on things that I'm a big believer in, which is self care, because. Our work is so important. And if we don't take care of ourselves, right, we're prone to burnout and all of those different things, you can learn more about headway on the awesome stuff they're doing in the world over@sellingthecouch.com forward slash headway.

www dot, selling the couch. [:
Show artwork for Selling the Couch

About the Podcast

Selling the Couch
Impact + Income Beyond The Therapy Room
With over 1.5 million downloads, Selling the Couch is a top podcast for mental health private practitioners who think differently.

Psychologist Melvin Varghese interviews successful therapists, top entrepreneurs, business/marketing, productivity, and social media experts.

You'll learn how therapists get referrals, make money, work through fears, and how they've stopped "trading time for income."

Melvin also shares the lessons as he grows his impact + income beyond the therapy room (podcasting, video, online courses, masterminds, investing, etc) and the tips, tools, and tech he uses to grow STC from a single-person business to the CEO of a 5-person 100% remote team.

You get bite-sized and highly actionable tips to guide your private practice and entrepreneurial journey.

About your host

Profile picture for Melvin Varghese, PhD

Melvin Varghese, PhD

Hi. I'm Melvin. I'm a psychologist, girl dad, and online creator living in Philadelphia, PA.

In 2014, I began to think about how to use our therapist skillset in different realms besides clinical work (e.g., podcasting, consulting, online course creation, writing, etc).

This allows us to serve others on larger scales while diversifying our income beyond 1 to 1 work.

I make podcasts and videos about business, tech, productivity, and lessons I'm learning from becoming the CEO of a lean, mean 5 person 100% remote team (we're not really mean..it just rhymed =P).