This week in L.A., a local news channel did a story on “NoMoPhobia”—a new term to describe the panic some of us feel when we don’t have our cell phones on us. The idea made me chuckle, until I came to realize that it was likely very true. Our attachment to technology has become a very real phenomenon. And for online entrepreneurs, like you and I, it also brings about cyber envy.
How many of you can relate to these experiences?
1. You check your email in the morning and find a new email blast from Debbie Super Coach, a leader in your industry. Admittedly, you are subscribed to her list so you can keep an eye on what she’s doing—and how she’s doing it. She drives you nuts, but you still read it all. She shares how delighted she is that her latest 300-person workshop has completely sold out, while she’s been raising six adopted children from Africa, losing 10 pounds, and cooking homemade organic meals for her family. Your stomach sinks, because you’ve been marketing your own workshop for two months now and enrollments are low. (And you’ve been so busy that your kids get Cheerios for dinner.)
2. Then you get another announcement from Tricky Dick — the marketer you subscribe to, whose latest launch is causing a huge buzz. It irritates you. You don’t even like him. He’s kind of a sexist pig. And you don’t even understand what he’s selling, but now you feel you should take some time and watch his 36-part video series and buy his stuff—because everyone else talks about him and seems to like him. Maybe he knows something you don’t. And if you don’t get this product now, it may be GONE later, you know?
3. Then you get a Facebook update from a competitor of yours named Sherrie Merry. You used to be friends until she copied one of your sales letters. And now you see she has 100,000 social media followers! You have only 5,000. And the kicker is… you know her stuff SUCKS!
You scream “WTF?!!” from your home office so loudly that your neighbors likely hear you.
You are ready to LOSE IT.
Ladies, welcome to cyber envy!
Cyber envy takes its toll on us in two ways. First, it causes envy. You see others doing or having what you wish you were doing or having.
But it also creates anxiety. With the internet and social media, we are seeing everything at once from everyone. Accomplishments, numbers, and accolades are coming at us from all directions. It feels like a constant race and competition. And yet we just can’t turn it off. It feels like if we don’t log on everyday, or subscribe to every list, we are missing out on something.
It goes without saying that this is NOT a healthy place from which to work and live. Wouldn’t you rather wake up every day, and truly celebrate others’ successes without somehow feeling like you have less, or even worse, ARE less?
It is possible. I had to work on this myself. Here are a few strategies that helped me…
Explore Your Envy
Think about the types of online activities that trigger envy for you. Is it the success of another entrepreneur’s latest launch, the impressive roster of speakers at a competitor’s conference, the buzz about another in your industry, or a friend’s huge community of Facebook followers that gets you down?
By becoming very specific about what it is you are envious of, you empower yourself to make the right choice—the one that will serve you best. Let’s take a look at a few:
Choice #1: Use Your Envy as Fuel
Take a look at your cyber envy triggers and use it as a guiding light that’s shining on where you want to improve YOUR business. If you see that a competitor has an amazing following on Twitter, then set a plan to increase your own followers. If she’s getting tons of media, and you want that too, hire a publicist. If you’re envious of someone’s speaker lineup, then make it a goal to attract better speakers at your next event. If you’re jealous of a competitor’s creative marketing campaign, or how her website looks, it’s time to up-level your branding.
Choice #2: Let Your Envy Go
Sometimes, like in real life, it’s best to pick your battles. At the end of the day, only you can define what makes you successful and happy. One woman may need to make millions to see herself as successful, while another is over the moon breaking six figures. For others, success means making a comfortable living by being creative and happy. If you read between the virtual lines, which these days means status updates, shared links, quotes, etc. you’ll find these unique definitions of success. So let your envy go—and get clear on what you want YOUR unique life to be.
Choice #3: Subscribe to Yourself
I hope that you literally already subscribe to your own list, but here, I mean you should SUBSCRIBE to yourself. To YOU and what you stand for. When you look deep down inside, you’ll hear a unique voice that only you can offer to the world. It’s why you started your business, and it’s WHAT will keep you in business for years to come, as long as you don’t get sidetracked.
Don’t lose your voice in the noise of other people’s marketing, launches, etc. Stick to your guns. If someone just had an insanely successful launch, but it doesn’t feel right to you, or your gut is telling you to try something different, go for it! You don’t have to follow what the crowd is doing. You never know what goldmine you’ll stumble upon on your own.
One Last Tip:
If you try to stay on top of what EVERY person in your field is doing, it will cause your demise. So, I recommend you choose just THREE leaders who you really want to learn from, and follow them well. Not just marketers. I mean real leaders. People who you learn from and who engage you and inspire you.
Then, turn off your Facebook and Twitter alerts. You can poke your head in and check on all your social media when you have time.
If at first this feels scary to do—to NOT watch what everyone else is doing in real time. But remember, all those other marketers will be out there for years to come. You can tap into the noise again whenever you want to. And I guarantee they will still have something to sell you!
How About It?© Copyright 2012 Ali Brown