Address21031 Ventura Blvd Suite #316, Woodland Hills, CA 91364 | call us(818) 741-1319

What Do You Do When All of Your Co-Workers Are Over-Achievers? How Not to Compare Yourself to Others!

A young African American woman is sitting at her desk in her office. She has her laptop open in front of her with her hands on her temples. Around her are multiple hands that are giving her things.

What Do You Do When All of Your Co-Workers Are Over-Achievers? How Not to Compare Yourself to Others!

A young African American woman is sitting at her desk in her office. She has her laptop open in front of her with her hands on her temples. Around her are multiple hands that are giving her things.

In today’s fast-paced and competitive work environment, finding yourself surrounded by over-achieving colleagues is not uncommon. While it can be inspiring to work alongside individuals who strive for excellence, it’s easy to fall into the trap of constant comparison. The desire to measure up to your overachieving coworkers can lead to stress, anxiety, and a sense of inadequacy. Being overwhelmed by the pressure of professional competition is something we hear about from our patients who see us for Anxiety Treatment in Woodland Hills.

We all want to feel that we are putting our best foot forward and representing ourselves well. When it comes to our jobs or careers, where our livelihoods also depend on being perceived as valuable, the stakes are made even higher. If you are working in a career that you have built over a number of years, you likely feel the pressure of living up to your aspirations. The idea that you are the person in the workplace who is lagging in some way can be distressing and counterproductive.

Perfectionism in the Workplace

A young woman with long black hair is in her workplace. She is leaning her head in her hand as she looks down. This woman may be worrying about work.

Perfectionism is a double-edged sword in the professional realm. On one hand, it can drive individuals to set high standards and achieve remarkable results. However, when perfectionism turns into a constant need for validation and comparison with others, it can create a toxic work environment. The pressure to outperform colleagues may lead to burnout, diminished self-worth, and strained interpersonal relationships. It’s crucial to recognize the signs of perfectionism and adopt a healthier approach to personal and professional growth.

3 Ways to Not Compare Yourself to Your Coworkers:

1) Embrace Your Uniqueness:

Two young women are at a store. One of the women are handing the other a shopping bag. This woman may be shopping after work.

Instead of fixating on your perceived shortcomings compared to your overachieving co-workers, celebrate your unique strengths and talents. Remember that diversity in skills and approaches contributes to a well-rounded and successful team. Recognize that everyone brings something valuable to the table, including you.
A major contributing factor to career burnout is trying to be someone or something you aren’t instead of bringing your authentic self to a career. Connecting with yourself where you are is how you empower yourself. There is nobody else at your place of employment with your unique intersection of traits, skills, and thought processes. That is a fact. No matter what you are, someone will always be “more” that; the way all your traits intersect is what makes you powerful as an individual.

Sometimes, we lose sight of our ability to show up as our individual selves when we can’t find a way to do so within the parameters of our jobs or when we can’t see how to make something our own. You may find it challenging to follow timelines or procedures that don’t align with your approach; it might feel as though you’re “not right for the job” as a result. Instead, look for ways to create a day that works for you. If you are most able to focus on details at a certain time of day, are you able to do detail-oriented work at that time? Do you have social aspects of your job that work best in the afternoon, when you’ve just had some lunch, or in the morning, when you’re fresh and haven’t had too many other ideas pop up? Give yourself permission to work in ways that work for you, and celebrate your self-awareness and initiative in structuring your days effectively.

When you aren’t able to adjust something to suit you better, speak kindly to yourself: “I am being asked to show up in a way that isn’t best for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m the worst.” By all means, we have all had to try to thrive in environments that aren’t tailored to us, and we can’t expect everywhere we go to work in the way that is most ideal for us. That doesn’t give us an excuse not to try or to take our jobs less seriously. What it does is help us remember that we are not in control of everything around us. There will always be times when something gets in the way of our plans. There will always be scenarios where we make mistakes, where we drop a ball, where we misunderstand an assignment, or where we’ve simply got too much on our minds.

If you struggle to hold on to your awareness of your individuality, make a list of everything you can think of about yourself. Make a list of your training, your years of experience, the places you’ve traveled to, the books you’ve read, the teachers you’ve had, the hobbies you’ve worked on, the skills outside work, the kind of friends you have, the kind of stranger you are; how do you treat people you don’t know? List your favorite color, animal, restaurant, movie, or anything you can think of. See if anything on that list makes you feel especially proud or if something really represents you. Can you somehow bring it into your workday? Maybe as a screensaver, a note on your desk? How can you stay rooted as yourself at work?

A young blonde woman is standing in her work place at a mechanic shop. She is wearing work gear and gloves. This woman is actively at work.

2) Set Personal Goals:
You can only control what you do; you have no control over the actions, work, or talent of others. Because of this, goals related to the achievements of other people are a setup for distress, frustration, and self-doubt. Rather than constantly measuring your success against your co-workers, focus on setting and achieving your own personal and professional goals. By concentrating on your individual journey, you’ll cultivate a sense of fulfillment independent of external comparisons.

Identify areas for growth – are there higher positions in your company that you are close to being qualified for? Are there facets of your position that are a challenge for you or that you dread tackling? How can you build your skills in those areas or reconfigure your process so that you can accomplish more with less stress?

When setting goals, make sure that you establish realistic benchmarks. It’s all well and good to aim high and try new things, but if you only consider yourself successful if you reach one specific accomplishment, and that particular accomplishment is highly unlikely, you may be doomed to feeling like a failure. Determine for yourself what milestones along the way will indicate to you that you are moving closer to your goals and how reasonable they are. Set some progress markers that are tiny steps and some that are closer to leaps. A small win can give you a bit of a bolster; build them into your plan!

Celebrate your progress as you go! You deserve to celebrate yourself, and waiting until some future time when you might achieve one main achievement isn’t very motivating. Life can be unpredictable; you might change careers before you reach a far-off goal, and then what? Taking time to acknowledge your progress, perseverance, good days, great ideas, and value is a crucial habit to build.

Set goals outside of work achievements, such as promotions and/or raises. Set goals to do with your overall wellness at work, such as drinking enough water and eating enough good throughout the day. Set goals regarding your boundaries about your personal time! If you are not on the clock, you are not on the clock. If you let your work life bleed into the rest of your life, it will become the number one thing you are focused on, which is a surefire way to create feelings of competition and insecurity. Having a life outside of your job allows you to retain perspective about your days at the office, the ups and downs of your professional progress, and the essence of your life as a whole.

Set goals that are separate from work entirely, such as goals to get enough rest, to move your body in ways that feel good, to find and utilize a creative outlet, to nurture a passion that is all your own, and more. Taking time to rest and reset is vital when it comes to being able to show up consistently and be present with others; work uses your social battery the same way a party or family reunion would. Building your confidence overall will benefit your confidence in the workplace. When we are accepting and nurturing of who we are, we show up to all our endeavors with a more open mind and greater resilience.

3) Foster a Supportive Network:

A group of 4 women are having dinner together at a restaurant. They are all laughing and smiling together. These may be coworkers grabbing lunch during work.

Open communication is key to breaking free from the comparison cycle. Share your thoughts and feelings with trusted colleagues or seek guidance from a mentor or therapist. Building a supportive network can provide valuable perspectives, reassurance, and a sense of community. Collaborating with others can also lead to shared insights and strategies for overcoming common challenges in a high-achieving workplace.
Consider the idea that your co-workers may be feeling the same way about working with you. It is so easy to lose sight of the ways that we show up and do great work when we have perfectionist tendencies. We diminish the things we’re good at and focus on the things we struggle with. Someone you work with might think that the things you are best at are important, impressive, and impossible to achieve for themselves. You never know how someone else is feeling about their place in the world.

Everyone can play a part in making sure that work environments are safe for everyone. This includes being aware of privilege and power. Collaboration and reciprocity are great ways to foster positive energy. Consider the ways you are able to show up without crossing your own boundaries or burning yourself out. If you are someone who enjoys baking, you might decide to show up with cookies for the break room every once in a while. If you like scouting out activities, you might suggest some fun team-building at local attractions.

Baking and planning might not be your area, but you can still contribute to a supportive atmosphere at work by appreciating the people around you. If you notice that other people are showing up by being generous with their time or efforts, thank them. “Thanks so much for organizing that museum trip! I had a lot of fun.” Acknowledge them for the work they do. “I see how organized you are with your reports, and I wanted to let you know that I admire that so much.”

You may want to consider attending therapy throughout this process. If you are someone who struggles with perfectionism, you may experience anxiety symptoms as well as the pressure to achieve. As Woodland Hills anxiety specialists, we offer therapy for perfectionism that addresses the ways anxiety feeds perfectionism and perfectionism feeds anxiety. In perfectionism therapy, we utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to uncover the underlying reasons for perfectionism and to re-frame the core beliefs that have led to them.

Building your network outside work and therapy can help you to remain balanced in your mindset. This can help to prevent an obsession with success and competition from taking over your life. This network also sets you up for a place to go when you have a really tough day at work or you’re struggling with a tricky project. Having people to cheer you on and support you without hesitation is so important. It can also help to have an ear outside of “office politics”. No matter what you do or how hard you try, you may find that there are always people who don’t want to connect, who aren’t easy to collaborate with, who stress you out. Having people in your corner who see and value you for who you are can make it more tolerable to deal with the people you aren’t able to win over at work.

A young Asian American woman is standing in her office. She is holding a coffee cup and smiling. Woman is at work.

Of course, we like to feel proud of ourselves and not have the sense that we are the weak link or the lower performer in what we do. But when that desire becomes a fixation on the achievements of coworkers and insecurity about ourselves, no good can come of that situation. Distress about professional achievements is something we hear from our clients who come to us for therapy for anxiety in Woodland Hills. It is a common concern, especially in these trying financial times, to want to perform and stand out at the place where you make your living. For some, financial motivations are the driving factor. For others, the workplace is only one area that becomes about perfectionism and competition. And for others still, a focus on work is a signal that there are other issues or pain points being avoided; a desire to succeed at work is an attempt to feel in control. Retaining a sense of self outside of your job performance is a great way to resist the urge to be intimidated by the people around us who are doing well. If you think about it, you’re likely to realize that if you’re surrounded by high-achieving people, the chances are good that you’re excelling, also. Stay focused on yourself, remain confident, and see how your work days change for the better.

Anxiety Therapy In Woodland Hills

Anxiety in work settings can show up as constant worry of criticism, fear of failure, and constant comparison to others. Work Anxiety can be as debilitating as anxiety in social and romantic relationships. If left untreated, anxiety will only get stronger. 

When you seek Anxiety Therapy in Woodland Hills, CA, our CBT specialists will work with you in identifying your anxious thoughts that lead to intense emotions and impulsive behaviors. Through the use of mindfulness and self-compassion, the goal is to befriend one’s anxiety. 

Contact us today for your complimentary 20-minute phone consultation with our Admin Team today!

Latest Blogs

address21031 Ventura Blvd, Suite 316
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Share This Blog

Contact Form