What if you don’t have aTEDx talk and ‘bestselling’ book?

How to pull yourself out of the comparisonitis death spiral when it seems everyone ‘meaningful’ has a TEDx talk and book — and probably a podcast!

Have you ever secretly had any of these thoughts?:-

  • People who have TEDx talks and books in their LinkedIn profile really hack me off.
  • I am a useless nobody without a TEDx talk and a book to tell everyone about.
  • I must be very boring — I don’t even have a TEDx talk or a book.

If so you are not a bad or useless person.

You have simply fallen into the comparisonitis trap and temporarily lost your sense of being a unique individual!

As you put a glowing comment below the ‘TEDx’ person’s post — congratulating them on their amazing talk…

you are thinking —

‘Bully for you — aren’t you something special!’

But hang on — that’s not lwho you are.

You are not a jealous person.

You don’t even want to be centre stage or celeb status!

But something isn’t right.

Ok — let’s unwrap this and get you out of the squasher spiral of false failure feelings.

For a start — where is this ‘failure v success’ thing coming from?

What defines success?

That should read — ‘what defines YOUR success’?

When you omit the ‘YOUR’ you offer yourself up to the comparisonitis gods.

You forget who you are, why you are doing what you are doing and … what you actually enjoy doing!

Your definition of success, and your pursuit of it, should present you with broad and deep growth based on who you are and how you want to feel every day. Anything else is at best a compromise and at worst a tragedy. Lucy Sheridan

Here are 3 key elements of the confusion around ‘success’-

  1. We have a false sense of ‘we can all be superstars’. Mediocre is normal and nothing to be ashamed of!
  2. We get to see too much of everyone! It looks like there is a clear journey from where we are to where we want to be (or think we want to be). This is rare! Anyway — do we actually want to be where THEY are?
  3. We don’t have every available skill or personality trait that ever existed! Some achievements might be beyond us.
I think this is beyond me!

So now —

Reframe your ‘TEDx talk and book’ envy.

Do a good brainstorm and explore your answers to these questions:

  1. What is my motivation to do a TEDx talk and write a book?
  2. Would I enjoy the process?
  3. Who says I should have a TEDx and book?
  4. What would the talk and book be about?
  5. Do I enjoy the challenge of public speaking?
  6. Do I enjoy the challenge of writing? Is a good blog better than a book for me and those I want to engage?
  7. Am I prepared to spend a big chunk of time working on these projects?
  8. If I do have a talk and book — what will I do with them?
  9. What is my thing? What do I want to help people with? Do they need that in a talk or book?
  10. If I did the talk and book would I consider them useless if they didn’t get loads of views, purchases, reviews and …. bring me lots of new opportunities?

I think you know where we are heading with this…

What is your motivation?

For artists, scientists, inventors, schoolchildren, and the rest of us, intrinsic motivation-the drive to do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing-is essential for high levels of creativity. Daniel H Pink.

Exactly. Intrinsic motivation.

So ask yourself — what is your motivation for doing a TEDx and writing your book?

Hang on.

Do you even have this motivation at all?

What is driving the feeling that you need to have these ‘status symbols?’

Is it just a need to be seen as the kind of person that has a TEDx and book?

Do you think it is the magic key to hundreds of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ — which you have somehow given way more importance to than makes sense?

Is it some odd hangover from your childhood — when your sibling got more praise than you?

As an adult, did your parents have a habit of talking about other people’s children who were in amazing jobs/relationships…. winning awards for their charity work…. you name it!

Have you over indulged in the ’10 steps to overnight success’ books/podcasts or videos?

Is your motivation fuelled by ‘prove a point-ism’?


If you can’t tap into a solid core of intrinsic motivation — you might not be advised to spent the next year or so on your book and talk (and the book will also be a considerable financial investment!).

But just a moment…

surely there’s nothing wrong about the desire to be more visible and get engagement with your unique perspectives and valuable insights — is there?



there are all sorts of ways to achieve this — and they might not involve a TEDx or book!

What’s right for them might not be right for you.

One person’s bucket list is another person’s nightmare list!

If a TEDx and book are right for you — and you have done the work I address above…

good luck — enjoy — and let me know when they go live!


if not…

what next?

For you — it might be:

  • A blog that you love writing and it shows!
  • Articles in various publications that match your vibe.
  • Starting a networking group.
  • Growing engagement through consistently showing up to share — as you — on your chosen platform (mine is LinkedIn).
  • Starting a ‘movement’,
  • Being a champion of others.

For you — it might be…

  • downsizing and spending more time on a hobby that makes your heart sing!
  • Watching TED talks and reviewing them!
  • Starting a book club.

Here’s a thought…

Enjoy the things others produce without feeling you lack something because you haven’t produced those things.

The more you unsquash and celebrate your ‘you-ness’ — the easier it is to celebrate the success of others and not feel the need to impersonate them.

Brainstorming unique value and spotting the ‘should trap’ squashers is one of the things create resources on and explore with clients.


I also explore inner barriers — self-inflicted ‘self-squashing’ traps, in my book ‘The Mystery of the Squashed Self’ and my TEDx talk — ‘Beware the Self Squashing Prophecy’.