14 Effective Strategies for Connecting With Peers Without Comparing Your Successes

Originally published by Newsweek.com

Loren Margolis, Founder & Managing Director, Training & Leadership Success

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From Instagram and Twitter to now even LinkedIn, having a presence online today means constantly reading about what everyone has going on. This includes the life updates that people typically post but social media has also increased people’s tendency to primarily share the highlights rather than the entire picture.

While this is not a bad thing on its own, constantly viewing the success of your peers can amplify your own feelings of inadequacy around personal and professional failures. Simply deciding to take a step back is one approach to consider, but it can negatively impact your relationships with peers over time.

Below, 14 Newsweek Expert Forum members share recommendations for how professionals can connect and maintain healthy relationships with peers without comparing themselves to others’ success and accomplishments.

1. Focus on Delivering Your Own Unique Gifts
Comparing yourself to another person can lead to mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. Smartphones and social media platforms provide billions of opportunities to disrupt your peace of mind. One healthy way to connect with your peers without comparing yourself to their success or accomplishments is to remind yourself that everyone has unique gifts to deliver. Deliver yours.
– Lillian Gregory, The 4D Unicorn

2. Connect Inward
One healthy way to connect with your peers without comparing yourself to their successes and accomplishments is to connect inward first. Focus on your own successes and accomplishments, focus on how unique the path you are on is, and focus on your own goals and future dreams.
– Michael Atar, cytovale

3. Remember Your Goals and Timelines
Have your own personal goals and timelines for achieving those goals. If someone gets a PhD but that’s not your goal, then good for them. If your goal is to become a vice president by the age of 30, don’t sweat it if someone else makes it by age 25. Learn to value relationships, not just your own success.
– Zain Jaffer, Zain Ventures

4. Practice a Growth Mindset
Remember that some people will always be ahead of you and some will also be behind you. View those ahead of you as models for yourself to grow and improve. Rather than comparing in a negative way, look at what you can learn from them. There is more than enough success to go around.
– Krista Neher, Boot Camp Digital

5. Show Vulnerability
Be vulnerable. Often mistaken for weakness, vulnerability is the root of authentic leadership and genuine work relationships. It’s your ability to reveal in words and actions who you genuinely are as well as what you think and feel. Don’t overshare but do share gradually. Talk about work first. If a project didn’t go well, express disappointment. Share if you find a client challenging. Be vulnerable to connect.
– Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

6. Be Genuine
Being genuine is key. When somebody is truly interested in another human being without focusing on seniority, rank or accomplishments, that always leads to good conversations and great relationships. Moreover, keeping an open mind can also help with impostor syndrome. We all meet with people who are more advanced in their careers than us, so remember that they also started somewhere.
– Krisztina Veres, Veres Career Consulting

7. Keep the Conversation on Safe Topics
If we are looking to connect with our peers without addressing our work lives, the best way to veer the conversation in a safe direction that’s also a place where diverse opinions are welcomed and light-hearted. Keep the conversation geared toward food and entertainment like TV shows. This will reveal someone’s likes and dislikes without placing them in a compromising situation.
– Cynthia Salarizadeh, House of Saka, Inc.

8. Start Conversations With Curiosity
A deep and powerful curiosity in all people inherently leads to stronger relationships and connections. When we come from a place of curiosity, we enter into a conversation with humility and understand that we do not know everything that we could know and seek to discover the unknown. The perspectives and experiences expressed by others are then a gift of trust, building our own potential while deepening relationships.
– Lowell Aplebaum, Vista Cova

9. Be an Active Listener
It should never be about us but about them. Give your peers your undivided attention as an active listener and show them that they have your undivided attention and empathy. If we show enough care by listening and understanding their needs, their interest in us will multiply exponentially.
– Alan Wozniak, Business Health Matters (BHM) Executive Consulting

10. Create a Support Network
Band together with your peers to create a support group or network where you can safely surface what you’re struggling with and offer it up for suggestions from your peers. This kind of vulnerability, especially when done in person or on video, inspires others to do the same. Then you can learn from each other where you need help the most rather than feeling in competition with them.
– April White, Trust Relations

11. Understand Your Own Values
Start with your values. Understanding your values relative to your peers’ values illuminates why your respective definitions of success may vary. The success style that suits them may not fit you. One question to ask to shift from envy to empathy is, “Why does this accomplishment or accolade mean so much to you?” The answer might surprise you!
– Karen Mangia, Salesforce

12. Make Celebrating Success a Collaborative Effort
Celebrating your successes (big and small) together is a collaborative and rewarding way to connect with your peers. Hold an accountability call at the end of each week to share the wins, losses and lessons learned. This practice diminishes the comparison trap and shines light on things you may have otherwise ignored. Share your shine!
– Joyel Crawford, Crawford Leadership Strategies, LLC

13. Intentionally Contribute to Others’ Success
I like to silently be part of my friends’ success. I am intentional about creating opportunities for others when they are not in the room. For me, a connection is not about what my peers see me do for them but what I can do for them when they are not looking. My silence drives my support, and the transparency in that intention drives our mutual growth. – Uriel Saenz, THE US LIFESTYLE GROUP LLC

14. View Any Success as Larger Community Wins
As the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all ships.” When you connect with your peers, it’s important to remember that we are all part of the same community on some level and that everyone’s individual contributions collectively serve to advance the team and industry as a whole. Connect through events or groups that focus on building a community of professionals in a noncompetitive environment.
– Israel Tannenbaum, Withum