Why Kim Kardashian’s Advice to Women in Business Is All Wrong (and What to Follow Instead)


In a controversial interview for Variety, Kim Kardashian recently presented her best advice to women in business: “Go ahead and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.” While we may have no idea who the “nobody” she’s referring to is, we do know one thing: comparing someone’s success to Kim Kardashian’s would be unfair. After all, she has had access to capital and resources that many entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, can only dream of.

However, the entrepreneurs one may compare oneself with are not always the Kardashians of entrepreneurship. It could just be someone who has managed to generate more profit or seems to have started a business seamlessly. Social comparison, which refers to an individual’s tendency to evaluate oneself (i.e., achievements, skills, social status) based on information about others, is often exacerbated by the use of social networking sites. Research shows that people worldwide use these sites for 2 hours or more per day. This online consumption, which usually consists of only the highlights of people’s lives, can increase the likelihood of social comparison.

Whether keeping up with the Joneses (or Kardashians), social comparison can leave people feeling discouraged and depressed, triggering impostor syndrome. In fact, comments like Kim Kardashian’s can deceive individuals — that is, comments can make people question their ability and ability to succeed as entrepreneurs, finding themselves working hard and yet not meeting performance standards.

So, what can entrepreneurs do to avoid being exhausted and stimulated by social comparison? Apply the 3 C’s.

1. Curiosity

Rather than identifying ways in which the target of comparison may be better than you, consider approaching the target with curiosity. What can you learn from the entrepreneur? How can the entrepreneur be helpful in taking your business to the next level? Seeing other entrepreneurs as teachers and mentors rather than envied rivals can help reduce anger and focus your energy and focus on your business.

2. Control:

Determine what you can and cannot control. Some entrepreneurs may be more successful not because they are smarter or work harder, but because they may not face the same challenges as you.

For example, gender and racial biases in investors’ financing decisions are well established. In a research experiment that my colleague Jason D’Mello and I conducted into financing decisions, we found that investors were more willing to fund a company founded by a white entrepreneur than by a black entrepreneur – even if the venture was the same and only differed in the entrepreneur’s race. Other research has found similar differences in the funding of male versus female entrepreneurs.

In the words of Kim Kardashian, you may very well “pick up your damn ass and work,” but if you’re still not meeting your goals, remember that there may be factors at play that are beyond your control.

3. Compassion

Be kind to yourself and take a moment to acknowledge your efforts. Entrepreneurship can be isolating and offers more opportunities for criticism than encouragement. If you find yourself comparing your level of success to someone else’s and the comparison is making you weakened rather than strengthened, take a step back and remind yourself that you’re doing your best. Most of us only see people’s success – rarely the obstacles they have had to overcome or the privilege to which they are entitled.

You and your business have value. Engaging in social comparison can undermine this. In the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “If you compare yourself to others, you’re missing out, especially if they’re from a different background than yours. But you’re here for a reason—you’re here.” to do something that is unique to you.”

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.


This post Why Kim Kardashian’s Advice to Women in Business Is All Wrong (and What to Follow Instead) was original published at “https://www.inc.com/angelica-s-gutierrez/why-kim-kardashians-advice-to-women-in-business-is-all-wrong-and-what-to-follow-instead.html”

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