One of my clients likes to compare what he is doing to what other people are doing. Sometimes, the pattern of comparing yourself to others is productive and other times it becomes divisive in what you are trying to accomplish.

For example, when he is job hunting, he wants to know why he has not found a job as quickly as someone else he knows.  After all, it only took them two weeks to find a job and a month later he doesn’t have one.

It’s a pattern with him. He’s competitive to the point of not being forgiving. The pattern is so strong, he fails to realize and celebrate what he is doing right. He forgets that his path or journey may be very different from the person he is comparing himself to. Here are a few of things we talked about:

 Your skills, training and experiences will be different.

Just because someone is going for the same jobs as you are or worked for the same company you do, it does not mean that both of you bring the same level or combination of skills, abilities and experiences to the next position. No two people are alike.

Your relationships will be different.

You’ve heard it before and I will say it again, people find jobs through the people they know. You will have different relationships than the other person. Even if you know the same people, the relationship will be different. People like to help people they like, know and trust.

You may have a different agenda.

The other person may be looking for a job, you may be creating a career or entering into a new phase of life. Some people don’t care if they stay with a company for short time; other people want to find a company that they can stay with for their entire career. Your goals will be different and that drives how you conduct your job search process. Those kinds of steps take longer because you will be pickier.

Look at the big picture, not just one step.

If you are focusing in one activity – they got the job in less than two weeks, you may be losing the sight of they also left that job within the first six months because it was not a good fit. Making good choices is more important that landing quickly. Too many people take the first thing that comes along and subsequently find they are going through the process all over again.

Comparing yourself to others is defeating.

If comparing yourself to others is defeating and does not inspire you, stop doing it. Set your own standards and measure yourself on how you are doing with your goals. Remember to reward yourself along the way.