comparisonWe compare all the time and in all sorts of ways.  I compare my startup to another startup.  I compare my marriage to another’s marriage.  I compare my car to another’s car.  I compare my _______ to another’s _______.  It’s an endless cycle.

There are two types of comparison – comparing “upward” and comparing “downward.”  Upward comparison is when you beat yourself up by thinking other’s lives/businesses/bodies/kids/cars/houses/etc are better than yours.  Downward comparison (keeping those same things in mind) says “I am better.”

Both types of comparison work the opposite way you want them to.  Comparing upward doesn’t automatically get you what you want. More often than not, it creates an entitlement mindset that leaves you ungrateful for what you currently have.  Comparing downward uses the limitations of others to feel better about yourself.  Which is a shallow way to feel good.

Though comparison is a way to gauge how we measure up to others, it doesn’t always help you accomplish your goals.  Unless you compare yourself to yourself.  If you want to grow your company – compare where you are at the of the first quarter to where land at the end of the second quarter.  If you want to run a faster mile, compare your time at the beginning of the month with your time at the end of the month.  Comparing your company’s growth with another company’s growth, or your body’s performance with another body’s performance, isn’t fair and isn’t accurate.  And that type of comparison will end in one of two ways: with insecurity (upward comparison) or an over-inflated sense of self (downward comparison).

Our 26th President of the United States sums it up well:

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt

lee-lefever-autographIn his CreativeMornings presentation in Seattle this morning, Lee LeFever, founder of Common Craft and author of The Art of Explanation, broached the subject of constraints.   Constraints generally have a negative connotation.  For champions of free thinking and unbridled creativity, constraints appear to be the things holding you back, the things keeping your imagination in check.  But constraints can also be incredibly liberating.  In the context of Lee LeFever’s presentation, this set of constraints helped to shape the direction of his company and its product.  But what if we apply this same process to our day-to-day lives?

It is okay to make your happiness a priority.  And sometimes, this means saying, “No.”  A set of constraints can be a set of rules to live by.  It can be a set of goals and values.  Defining what will make you happy allows you to say, “No” to the things that will diminish that happiness.  It’s not about holding yourself back, it’s about having a set of guidelines to create accountability, a set of guidelines that will directly contribute to your happiness.  Happiness is made up of a series of choices, of thousands of micro decisions over time.  In creating positive constraints, you can create freedom.  You develop the power to say, “No.”  You optimize for happiness.

The Redmond thinkspace office had its first Acceleration Services event to talk about the importance of project management. The event was held on Friday, May 30th with panelists Liz Pearce, CEO of LiquidPlanner; Trent Scott, CEO of Rainleader and Director of Sales and Marketing at Mouseflow; and Brenda Reed, Project Launch Manager at thinkspace. Josh Anderson, CEO of One into Many, was our moderator.

Notable take-aways and tweets from the people that were there!

  • Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing (@HeinzMarketingtweeted, “The iron triangle of project management: Budget, scope and quality.@lizprc @thinkspace
  • “Figuring out how to prioritize importance: As the CEO, what can be done by you, by someone else, or not at all? Also, make dates to set deadlines.” – Liz Pearce, CEO of LiquidPlanner
  • “A project is always evolving and in the beginning you may not know solid details.”  – Mieka Miller, Acceleration Services Director at thinkspace

Benefits of a Project Manager (PM)

“The benefits of having a project manager (PM) on your team are ten-fold.  A PM can help you identify what constitutes a project, help you define your objectives and overall goals. They will hold team members accountable for their project roles and responsibilities. A PM will also keep the project within budget, on time and ultimately deliver what the customer wants!” – Brenda Reed, Project Launch Manager at thinkspace.

This summer, I am participating in a continuing education program at a hospital.  The program is called Clinical Pastoral Education (or CPE), and through the program I have the opportunity to serve as one of five chaplain interns.

During our first week, we had numerous orientations, seminars and trainings.  This on-boarding was likened to a fire hose (meaning we were receiving more information than we could take in).  However, one thing I did retain during that first week was discussing the difference between helping, fixing and serving.

As a chaplain, I am learning that my role is one of service.  I am not there to help or to fix anyone.  This goes against my desire to help and fix a situation when something is wrong.  But when I am meeting with patients, the reality is that I cannot help their suffering anymore than I can fix their ailments.  I am learning that just being present with people – a “ministry of presence” – is sometimes the only thing I can do.  And the only thing that is needed.

An article by Rachel Naomi Remen has been incredibly useful in distinguishing my role as a chaplain intern.  She writes:

“Helping is based on inequality; it is not a relationship between two equals.  When you help you use your own strength to help those of lesser strength….When I fix a person I perceive them as broken.  Fixing is a form of judgment…Service, on the other hand, is an experience of mystery, surrender and awe…[Therefore,] when you help you see life as weak, when you fix, you see life as broken.  When you serve, you see life as whole.”

Understanding my posture as a chaplain is also informing the way that I interact with my colleagues, friends and family.  I appreciate it more when others listen and understand me (serve), instead of quickly try to remedy my problem (fix) or think that they know what’s best for me (help).  Adopting this service-mindset initiates more relationship in a non-condescending and genuine way.

This is definitely a new way of thinking for me – so I appreciate any comments/feedback as well as critique/pushback!  See you in the comments :)