How to Avoid Doing The Worst Thing You Can Do During a Firefighter Promotion Process

People spend a huge chunk of their lives comparing themselves to those around them. As you begin your firefighter promotional exam prep remember, while some comparisons can be healthy, even motivating, others can become a source of constant negative self-talk and jealousy and can be destructive to one's mental health

How To Avoid Comparing Yourself to Other Firefighters 

  1. Limit Social Media

If you truly struggle with comparing yourself to others and it is hurting your mental health, say bye bye to social media, especially as you begin your journey to promotion in the fire service. If you aren’t ready to fully get rid of social media, stop following those accounts that are making you feel down about yourself. Social media is a highlight reel of most people's lives. Sure some people use it as the opposite, a place to share sadness, challenges, etc., but most people are bragging about the tiniest positive thing that has happened to them, leaving out all of the other not so great, boring everyday stuff. A lot of people use social media as a space to get more praise and validation in the first place. Try taking a temporary break from social media while you go through the promotion process as a way to decrease those comparisons and help improve your mental health. It truly doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing anyways, as long as you are doing what you want and need to do in life, just focus on that. 

  1. Know Your Own Value & Worth

The key to preventing the constant comparison of yourself to others is to know your own worth. A lot of people who are chronic comparers struggle with this, so it is time to find your strengths. Everyone has strengths even if you have a hard time finding them. Take some time with just yourself to reflect on yourself and the things you are great at, so you can begin to understand your own value and worth in this world. Stop criticizing yourself for where you are in life or mistakes you may have made in the past. Truly accept those compliments that others are giving you and believe in them. Finding the value you hold within yourself will help build your self-esteem and you won’t feel the need to compare yourself to others any longer.

  1. Practice Gratitude

Another great way to stop comparing yourself and your life to others is to practice gratitude. Take a look at your life and remind yourself of what you are grateful for every single day. Start with one thing a day and build it up to five. Start each day saying what you are grateful for in your own life instead of looking at the lives of others and comparing them. You will be surprised how such a simple thing can improve your mood and self-esteem. 

  1. Compete With Yourself Only

There is nothing wrong with healthy competition, but if you have gotten to the point where the comparisons are a constant in your life, it is no longer healthy, so become your own competition. You can become your own competition by setting goals for yourself. Set a goal of a score you want to get on your promotional exam, set a goal of where you want to end up in your career and so on. You can set goals in life and become your own competition, instead of trying to compete with other firefighters around you and falling into unhealthy comparisons. You are your own competition, you don’t need anyone else to keep you motivated. You are going after these goals for yourself anyways, it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. 

  1. Be Able to Celebrate the Success of Others

Instead of comparing yourself to others, celebrate others. If someone does better than you on their promotional exam, congratulate them on their success. It doesn't mean you are lesser than them. Someone doing better than you doesn’t need to ruin your day and incite anger or jealousy inside of you. Once you reach the point where you can finally celebrate the successes of your colleagues and peers instead of being jealous of them you have succeeded. 

The Takeaway

Someone will always be better than you at something, so instead of focusing on that, focus on what you are the best at. Know your worth so you don’t need to look at others for external validation and motivation, because comparison ultimately ends in negativity. You do not need to look at what everyone else around you is doing all the time, comparing yourself to others constantly will just steal your joy and make you feel less than. As you begin your promotion journey, turn off social media where your colleagues are constantly posting their success and focus on yourself.