Tips to avoid the comparison trap w/Kay West
The Goodness Squad Podcast Episode #104
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Comparison is the thief of joy. We’ve all been caught in the comparison trap at one time or another. But, we don’t have to stay there. Kay West, founder of A Worldwide Sisterhood, shares her thoughts on creating a community of women worldwide that supports one another. When we each use and strengthen our talents, we are creating space for other women to do the same and are better able to avoid comparison.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- SALT Gathering
- Malachi 3:3
- Kay West – A Worldwide Sisterhood
- Our Identity and Our Destiny by Tad R Callister
- Come to Zion by D. Todd Christofferson
- Swallowed Up in the Will of Our Father by Neal A Maxwell
- 1 Corinthians 12:21-22
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As many of you know, I believe that you should start a business or at least that many of us should, that many of us are feeling called to, but I don’t just believe you should start a business.
I believe that part of the reason so many of us are feeling called to start businesses online is because God expects us to use our talents. He needs us to use our talents and he needs us to do so as a team, not just as individuals. He wants us to combine our various talents, to be humble enough to accept that we don’t have all talents. At the same time, be meek enough to accept that we do have some talents and we need to use them and use them well as a team.
My guest today is an expert in this – in helping women to do just that, to find their talents, to accept them, to share them and to stop competing.
Get out of the comparison trap
My guest today is Kay, who is the founder of A Worldwide Sisterhood. She has spent the past several years gathering women, Latter-day Saint women specifically, and helping them feel and realize and accept that they are a part of a worldwide sisterhood and that they are needed.
I’m really, really thrilled to have her here today and to have you hear from her. I heard her speak recently at SALT. We knew each other before that, but hearing her speak there, I know what she teaches and I know what she does, it was powerful. She really believes this and she’s really, really good at helping other women to see it. So, welcome Kay.
KAY: I’m so grateful and honored that you would have me on. First of all, I just love everything you do. And I think that what you do and the way you do it is very unique. Actually very helpful. I think some times we get caught up in these things and we just are led down a path and there’s no real end to it, but you’re distinct and clear and it’s easy to follow and it really helps to take the many paths in front of us and really get it down into one path that we can follow easily. So I love what you do. I think you’re amazing.
MISTY: Thank you. See, I told you she’s really good at making everybody feel like they’re amazing and needed and have this incredible purpose. And the truth is, we do all have an incredible purpose. And Kay is really, really good at helping women to see that.
So, Kay, tell me, why do you believe so strongly that we need each other as women?
Why women need other women
KAY: It’s really grounded in my faith. I think the power of women, and especially united women, is beyond our comprehension. I think that when we really understand that our lineage and our heritage and our foundation began before this world and it extends beyond life on earth, I think then we see the magnitude of why it’s so important.
We were united before and that’s what our purpose is here. Being a member of the church, the prophet has told us that the greatest cause we can be involved in right now is the gathering of scattered Israel and isn’t that uniting everyone, uniting the world?
It’s kind of like overwhelming to think about it like that. My purpose is to unite the whole entire world? But when we really stop and think that when we are united as sisters, especially sisters in Christ, anything is possible. And when we understand that heritage and that identity and that foundation, it does become so powerful.
I think that it’s something that is ingrained in us from before this world began. And I think it’s something that is because we are literally heavenly father’s children, and that is his purpose. And that is our purpose and we want that. And so there’s no doubt that we need one another.
And really, I think one of our goals here on earth is to recognize it and figure out how to do that. And I think it comes easier to us than we think really.
Knowing our true identiy helps us avoid comparison
MISTY: Okay. That’s an interesting statement because in the very first episode of this podcast, I talk about how our biggest hurdle, I call it kryptonite, but it’s competition and comparison. I feel like it’s hard. So tell me what you mean by that statement. That it’s easier to us than we think, because obviously I think it’s harder than maybe it really is.
KAY: Oh, it is. It is hard. I think it comes easier to us when you understand your identity. The funny thing is that early Christianity, they were kind of more in line of us being children of God, like the same beliefs that we have today in our church.
Somewhere along the way, it’s become, if you say that you’re a child of God and that you’re going to become like God, it’s kind of blasphemous, right? And we ended up looking at God like, oh, well he’s our creator.
Tad R Callister gave this great talk at BYU. He says something like, can a painting become a painter? Can a building become the architect?
If we’re just the creation of God and not his literal children, then we’re really limiting ourselves because really we know that we will become joint heirs with Christ, inherit all things, become like God and our heavenly Mother. When we think of it more like that, and think of all the things that God has within him and our heavenly mother has within her, we inherited those attributes. You better believe that we inherited the ability to be unified.
And I believe that is what’s inside of us. He wouldn’t make gathering the whole world, his greatest school, if he didn’t know that we could do it, if she didn’t know that that was one of the gifts that was passed on to us.
Now, I’m not saying it’s always easy, because we do live here on earth. We live in this terrestrial world. We live in this life where Satan, very sneakily, is finding our weaknesses and having us turn on one another. But I think it is easier than we believe because we have that divine nature within us and we really need to focus on it.
We need to stop looking at God as our creator, and look at Him like he’s our father.
What happens when we avoid comparison and share our gifts with each other
MISTY: One thing that helps me with this concept of ‘I need other women or other people,’ is the idea that I’m not like Him yet. I have within me the ability to become like my heavenly mother, but it’s gonna take time for me to get it all down. Just like a baby. It takes time for them to grow up and become an adult. But I do believe that there are pieces of each of us that are a lot closer and that’s where our talents come in.
I will fully admit that, right now in my life, I’m really, really great at tech. I am, I’m good at it. It’s something that I’ve worked at and I’ve become really good at and it comes second nature to me. I can figure it out, it doesn’t stress me out. But then I have my daughter, who isn’t good at all of that, but she can decorate like nothing else. I spent two hours decorating a Christmas shelf and she came and she’s like, “mom, that looks really bad.” I was like, “it really looks really bad. Can you fix it?” And in 10 minutes it was beautiful.
I think that God has given us all of his attributes in embryo, but some of them are more for further developed than others. And I can let my daughter, I’m just going to let her decorate my house. I’m not going to fight it. I’m going to accept that she’s better at that than I am right now. We can kind of team up. Then I stop wasting energy, trying to decorate, and focus on what I’m really good at. So, what are your thoughts along that line?
KAY: Oh, absolutely. So one of my greatest talents, I’m going to tell you, okay? Don’t be jealous. One of my greatest gifts and talents is when I sit next to my friend, who is a really good singer, I sound amazing.
In my mind, all of a sudden I’m thinking, “Wow, I’m such a good singer.” But here’s the thing, I’m not. But that’s just it, if you get me and her and the rest of the room singing together, doesn’t it sound good? Even though I’m not a great singer, it sounds good.
That’s just what you’re describing. And isn’t that just like Paul? I love Paul so much. He says, the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee. Again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you much more. Those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary. And isn’t that crazy? They seem feeble, but they are necessary.
I think part of this problem is that we always think, “okay, well, this is my talent and I’m the only one that can do this.” And we don’t let other people try. Another thing is that we’ll say, “that’s their talent. I don’t need to try.” And so I think it’s both things. I think that each of us do have all these gifts and talents and we are capable.
Your gifts with technology are amazing and it is a blessing to so many. It’s definitely something that I admire because I am not tech savvy at all, but it is, is a really powerful thought. When you think about that, these seemingly feeble things are necessary. And when we take into account, times and seasons, opportunity for our own growth as well as others, and patience – I think this is so key when we invite the spirit to help us learn, to help us develop it.
I think we don’t use that gift enough. Several years ago, I did this deep dive study into the Holy Ghost. Literally, all the gifts of God we receive from the Holy Ghost. How often do we come across something and we stop and just in our hearts or kneel down, begin our day and ask our heavenly Father and invite the holy ghost to be with us in our cooking, in our piano, in our tech, in our scripture study.
We have to take the time to invite him to be with us because we know he’s there. And I think we just take for granted that gift, that he’ll always be there. And when we really invite him, all of a sudden we’re able to learn and grow.
Appreciating the value of other’s gifts
I’ve seen it just this past year with the things I’ve been working on. When I take that time, just to grow my talents, my abilities and capabilities grow. And so I think stop selling ourselves short and stop thinking that other people can do it, because God needs you to do it.
He didn’t send all of us to earth so that the one could do it. He sent us as a group, that need one another, so that we can all do it.
At the beginning, we talked about the work of gathering scattered Israel around the world. If He were to say, “Misty, go gather the world. It’s all on you.” That’s pretty daunting, right? But when we really look at it, if we really are united and we really are taking everybody’s gifts and talents and nurturing and growing and encouraging and helping and lifting and we recognize that it’s beyond Utah, it’s beyond Idaho. It’s beyond Arizona. It’s even beyond the United States. All of a sudden it becomes easier.
I think when we really nurture our gifts and talents and recognize that in others and build that up, in them and in us, then we have the confidence within ourselves and in others.
MISTY: I will fully admit that I am partially motivated by money. I want to earn money with my business. I will admit that. But, when I really feel like I want to quit, when I really feel like it’s too hard, one of the biggest motivators to me is helping other women get better at what I do.
I want you to know that you really can do this. You can build a website. It is possible. And then them coming back to me and saying, you kept telling me I could, I didn’t believe it, but I just did it. That’s God-like right. That growth, that becoming something better than we were yesterday or than we were last year.
I don’t believe that it’s every single person’s time in the whole world to become better at everything. I’m not that naive, but I do believe that God is calling some women to be online. And in order to successfully do that, they’ve got to have some sort of understanding of tech. And if I can be a small part of giving that to them, that is humbling and gratifying and exciting.
I know that I am not the only person that can do that. Each of us has gifts that we can help other women with. And to add to that, even though I’m letting my daughter decorate my house, as I watch her I’m learning. I’m like, “oh, that was a good idea.” I start to learn things and she is sharing that with me. She is sharing that little piece of godhood with me and helping me grow that in myself. But if she just kept it to herself and she didn’t ever use it, well, that would be a problem. I would be weaker for it.
KAY: You know, it’s true. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with earning money. I mean, we live on this earth. We need money. Monetary value matters. And I’m not saying it’s everybody’s end all and be all, everybody has their own needs and things like that when it comes to money. I don’t think heavenly Father has a problem with people earning money either. I really don’t, but that’s a different topic.
It is easier than we think to support and lift and love one another, because when it happens, you feel the way you do. There’s nothing that brings me greater joy than you sharing your testimony with me. That’s so exciting.
Your visibility has nothing to do with your importance
MISTY: So one of the notes that I took when I listened to you talk at SALT, I wrote down, ‘what is it that we are afraid of if we stop competing?’ And to be 100% honest, I don’t know if those were your exact words or if that was the spirit speaking to me, but I would love your answer to that question.
Because I preach against it, but I still struggle with it. I will see somebody else in my same area online being successful or doing something really cool and there’s a little piece of me that’s like, “oh, am I not good enough?” And I compare myself, so why are we so afraid to let go of that? What is holding us back?
KAY: The very simplest answer is Satan.
But yeah, what are we competing for? What is so worth it that we’re afraid that if we don’t compete, what would happen? I think it’s more obvious online. So let’s look at this in an online presence. If you’re online, you can literally count the likes, the followers, the views and it becomes a numbers thing and you can get really caught up into that really easily.
Whenever I’m online, I do everything I can to never look at my number, look at likes. I look at comments and I respond to them. I look at people and I communicate with them. I’m being very careful. I think also we have this tendency to think if we’re not visible, we’re not important.
And so just for a little bit of an example of that, there’s some who think that the sisters in our church need more visibility at conference or in the media or whatever, they need the same amount of visibility as the men. In doing so, we think that because they’re not visible, they’re not important.
So, I think that’s partly how we feel. I think we partly feel if we’re not visible, we’re not important. But, it goes beyond that. If you were to sit and ask any one of those sisters, “if you had a talk in every session of general conference, would you feel more important?” We’re very much downplaying the work that they do. And I think we’re doing that to ourselves too.
We’re very much looking at the things that we’re doing and saying that they don’t matter. And it does, even if one person gets it that one day or one person that whole month, it mattered.
How you see failure is a choice
I think another thing is that nobody likes failure. I don’t want to fail, but my whole thinking is that failure is an option. It’s an option because we look at it like, “if I fail, that’s the end of the world.” But think about Thomas Edison and the light bulb. He just said it took him 10,001 tries to get it right.
But really, sometimes failure brings you to an even greater path and purpose. And so I always look at it and think “why don’t we just do it and try? And if we fail, we readjust and go forward.” It’s way easier for the Lord to move a ship that’s in motion than one that’s still anchored to the dock, right?
MISTY: I love that. Elder Bednar gave a talk a few years ago where he talked about a test and how it’s just a measurement of where your at right now so that you can figure out how to move forward. So even if you get an F on the test, great.
I’ve started doing that with my kids. They come home and they’re disappointed in some score or something that they got at school. And I’m like, “Oh great. This is exciting. Now we can figure out what we need to work on. We’ve got really clear direction that you’re struggling with your nines times tables. Now, instead of having to work on them all, we’re just going to focus on nines this week.”
If we could do that more in our own lives, thinking, “What does that tell me about myself and where I should be growing right now? That’s all failure is. That’s really hard to put that into action sometimes, in the middle of it, but so important.
The author of comparison is Satan
KAY: It really is. And again, the very simplest answer is Satan, right? Satan causes all this comparing and criticizing and even copying. We hear someone else say something and we claim them as our own and take credit for other people’s things. And we’re jealous and judgmental of one another. And it’s causing all this quarrel and division because why?
Because heavenly Father needs us to be united. So Satan’s greatest tool is that he wants to divide us and he’s doing a pretty good job of if we let him. We’re so busy looking around that we don’t stop and take the time to look up.
We don’t and we need to, and I think it’s easier said than done, but those are the times when we have to stop and look up and just say, “look, I need my Savior.” A good signal is if this is so hard, Satan’s probably fighting against it for a reason.
The simple ways you can look up
MISTY: Yeah. So tell me Kay, in your life, and I know some of these might even end up being primary answers, but how do you look up? What do you do to stop yourself from looking around and to look up? What are some practical examples?
KAY: They are primary answers. They’re primary for a reason.
When I look at our foundation, we want to build a firm foundation and it is: scripture reading, saying your prayers, going to the temple, doing the things that you know you need to do in your everyday life.
I just started social media about 4 ago. And I made a promise to myself, before getting on, that I would always connect with the Lord before I connect with the world.
So starting social media, that was going to be my number one priority. And our foundation is horizontal. But if you look at a construction site, when you build your home, they have all this rebar running through the cement and it runs horizontal, but it also runs through. Because that’s what gives it the strength, right? So our foundation is the things that we’re doing, the prayer, the scriptures, the studying, the searching and seeking and looking for truth from the correct sources.
But, the vertical, our connection with God and our connection with our Savior and the holy ghost, it matters. That’s the rebar really reinforcing our foundation. So those are the things I do. It is pretty primary. It’s pretty basic. And also the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, right? I try and start my day with faith each day and that’s something that it is a spiritual gift of mine. I do have a lot of faith, but if I get too comfortable with it, I can lose it too. So it’s something that I strive for every day.
And repentance, looking at the things that we did at the end of our day and think back on our day, what can I improve on? What do I need help with and then asking for it? And then the next day starting it with, okay, I want to do better than yesterday, please help me get through it. They’re the first principles and ordinances of the gospel because they’re the first principles that we need on a daily basis to get there.
MISTY: Thank you for that reminder. I think you’re right. I know when God really is first in my life, even on such a small, daily scale, I feel a difference.It’s not like it takes a year or five years of me being perfect and putting God first before I see the effects in my life.
If yesterday I struggled and I do better today at putting him first, then today goes better. Even if nothing goes better externally, things go better internally. I feel better about what’s going on in my life. I feel equipped and capable to handle it and to move forward and involve other people and care about other people.
KAY: Yeah. And not beat ourselves up when we don’t, because I have days like that too. And the thing is if, if we were perfect, we wouldn’t be here. So it really is just trying, just trying your best. And that’s really all He asks. He knows our hearts. So even if we can’t get there that day, He knows deep down what we want.
Thoughts on being refined
MISTY: Okay. I have two questions for you. The last one is going to be, do you have anything else to add? So keep that in mind, but before then I want to talk about Malachi 3:3, the refiner of silver. You talked about this when you spoke at SALT and it was really impactful for me. So tell me a little bit about that.
KAY: I like these deep dive studies, I guess. So several years ago, I kind of wanted to figure out, what is this refining process? Why is it brought up so many times?
To refine silver is actually more difficult than it is to refine gold because gold comes in nuggets.
The whole refining process is a melting of the metal until liquid state and then the dross, the extra stuff that you don’t need, kind of goes to the surface and the refiner can blow it away or skim off the top.
I’m sure gold is very hard at refining, I’m not saying it’s so much easier. I’m just saying that it is different. Silver runs in streaks through the rock. To get the silver is actually a much more difficult and a longer process than it is for the gold. And I always wondered that because the scripture literally says, and He, which is Christ, shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, not gold.
If we were just these golden nuggets that it just takes a few refining processes to become pure, then we think about, well, we’re not, we just talked about how we have those days where it’s not that easy. We have those days where our silver is all embedded in the rock. It takes a lot of work.
The refiner keeps on refining, going through this heating and cooling process of removing all the impurities. I have impurities that I need to remove and to go through this whole process over and over.until the refiner sees his reflection staring back.
So if we’re the silver, it’s not us that people see when we’re refined, they see Christ’s reflection, he’s our reflector. Everything we do, if we’re doing it for Christ and with Christ, then when people look at us and what we’re trying to do, I don’t even care what it is – It’s technology. It’s helping somebody learn technology, it’s helping bake a cake. It’s helping somebody to learn to read. It’s just smiling at someone and making their day better. I don’t care what it is, anything that helps lift someone, sharing some part of Christ, is reflecting Christ.
This refining process to me, is so beautiful. When we really allow our Savior and His atonement to work in our lives and to refine us, then everything that we do reflects him. And then our visibility doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if people see us or not, but do they see Christ in us?
That is what I want to leave behind, “oh, she loved her Savior. She wanted others to know Him.”
MISTY: Beautiful. Thank you. Very, very inspired thoughts. And I will agree and kind of goes back to the comment earlier about comparison and wanting to be like someone else and wondering if I’m enough, when I actually help someone online, offline, when I actually help someone, with the Savior’s help. I see that and I see them come closer to Him in any way, by developing a talent just a little more, by learning in any way, I’m fully satisfied. I’m happy.
It doesn’t matter what other people are doing. Okay. Anything else that you want to say about, to use your phrase, becoming a worldwide sisterhood? How do we get better at that?
Zion begins with each of us
KAY: Well, I think this week’s come follow me study is so good. It’s Moses 7. It’s all about Zion and I love it so much. But I think the warning is real. We all wait for Zion and Elder Christofferson gave this amazing talk. He talks about how, yeah, Zion was a place, but it became a place because of the people and it starts individually.
We can’t just wait for Zion to happen. We have to treat it individually. And part of that is, is really when we are setting aside that competition, setting aside all the things of the world that don’t matter and submitting. I know people don’t often like the word submit, but I love that word because we really do need to submit because there’s a humility that we, as people here on earth, tend to lack when it comes to our really trying to understand and come closer to our Savior.
Neal A Maxwell gave a great talk. I’m going to quote him directly because it’s so so good. He says, “the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s alter. The many other things we give are actually things he has already given or loaned to us.” Then he says, “When you and I finally submit our will by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will then we are really giving something to him. It is the only possession which is truly ours to give.”
MISTY: So I’m sorry, because it’s one of my very favorite quotes. I first read it in college and it has made a big difference. It is just so good.
KAY: And I think when we think about that, like really, truly think about it. And like, let that be part of our daily thought and part of our daily actions and like really try, just try, what does it hurt to give somebody the credit? What does it hurt to share someone else’s journey, story, business, testimony? It really doesn’t, it literally helps to be this worldwide sisterhood.
President Nelson reminded us, we are over 8 million women around the world in over 170 countries. And he says, “you not only have the numbers, but you have the spiritual capacity to change the world.” And I just think, “you know, we do.” We were organized under the priesthood authority, under His power. And when we’re united in Christ, we have that power and it is truly unstoppable.
That is why Satan works so hard to stop us. And so with all of the power we have, and we know we are entitled to, from God, we need to draw on his power and overcome all that. Just set it aside and be united, lift one another, become united within ourselves and within our homes and communities and wards, and then throughout the world.
I know we’re going to just keep seeing amazing things happen and amazing women do amazing things. And it’s an exciting time to be part of the sisterhood. When in any other time in history could we be united with someone on the other side of the earth?
It is an incredible time to be alive.
2 Ways for you to lift others
MISTY: Thank you very, very much for coming to visit with us today. You’re inspiring, as always. I want to leave those of you who are listening with a challenge. I want to challenge you to lift in two ways:
- I want you to find some way in which you can lift that is not public. Your neighbor, your daughter, your son, your husband, I don’t care. Just somebody. I want you to lift them, help them to see a little bit better that they are a child of God, not a creation of God, but a child of God.
- And second, I want you to do so in a public way. I want you to go online and lift someone else, leave them a comment, share something that they’ve shared, reshare it. Tell somebody else about them, tell your following about this other person and how they have helped you.
I want you to take some small steps that we can lift and become more unified and more Zion. Anything else before we sign off?
KAY: No. Thank you so much for letting me come on and share with your audience. I love you, Misty. Thank you for everything you do. I love your testimony. I love your faith. I love your knowledge. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. We’re all blessed because of it.
MISTY: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate those kind words. All right. We will see you next time.
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