I often begin my day with a quick scan of my Twitter feed. Most days, it’s a way for me to tune into what’s going on in the lives of the people I’m close to, and those I admire. I enjoy it as a practice of connection.

Every now and then, though, something else sneaks in – I see what others are up to, and I feel a twinge of something. It might be a twinge of self-doubt, envy, or awe – but in any case, something within me begins to disconnect from the people behind the screens and focuses instead on my own “shoulds”: I should be doing more of this. I could never accomplish that. What has he done to deserve that? 

Here’s what I’ve learned about managing these “keeping score” feelings: whether they’re directed at myself or at others – and whether the tone of them is aspirational or critical – at their heart, they are a symptom of disconnection. They emerge when I’ve unconsciously slipped into seeing other people in two dimensions rather than three.

My latest piece for 99u is about how to get back into the three-dimensional world, so you can stop feeling less-than (or greater-than) other people, and step back into appreciation, connection and compassion.

Admiration and envy are responses that point us toward what we value most. And when we become aware of what we value, we are much better positioned to create a life that’s richly satisfying.

If you notice yourself admiring people who take creative risks, bring your full attention to the part of you that wants to dare more greatly. If you catch yourself envying the folks in your circles who are at ease with self-promotion, take some time to reflect on how you might share your triumphs in a way that feels totally YOU. Heck, if you’re obsessing over tennis players’ forearms, it could be a sign that you’re ready to revamp your fitness regime. You get the idea.

Read the full article at 99U >

And for more on breaking free of the comparison loop to focus on what matters most to you, check out Beyond Compare, the digital program I’ve co-created with leadership coach Tanya Geisler.