You will have days when you are building your creative career and are struck by the Comparison Killer. The comparison killer happens when you are doing just that…comparing yourself to your competition.
Of course a bit of healthy competition helps us to keep moving forward and innovating. It only becomes a problem when it makes the green jealously monster come out of hiding.
It is useful to take the odd look at what your competitors are doing so that you can either improve on what they are offering or else check-in that you are on track, offering what your customers and audience are interested in. There is a balancing act between looking and feeling overwhelmed.
We are naturally tribal creatures. This means that we constantly check that we are doing what our social group approves of, and changing our habits and dress accordingly. We can do this completely unconsciously.
I’m sure that you have seen gangs of teenagers out on the weekends looking like carbon copies of each other, and I challenge you to look at your own social circle. I have no doubt that the majority of them hold similar ideals and taste to you.
The Comparison Killer is bad for our health. It can not only kill our confidence, but also paralysis us from moving forward, or putting our creative work out there.
We need to be brave to create. We are often pioneers trying out new ways of creating products and services. This takes guts, especially if you are doing most of it alone.
In this podcast I talk about why you need to be kind to yourself and what you can do when the comparison killer strikes. I want you to be able to carry on being creative rather than allowing it to kill your confidence.
I have set you a challenge as well. Spend this week detoxing from the comparison killer. I teach you how in the podcast.
Don’t beat yourself up if you do find yourself comparing your work to someone else’s. It is a normal part of being human. The key is to know what to do with those thoughts and feelings so that you can carry on and not end up as an anxious, mess on the floor.
Here are a few things that you can do if you find yourself attacked by the comparison killer:
- Turn off the website or close the magazine that you are comparing yourself to. It sounds simple, but we can end up down the Internet rabbit hole once those negative feelings start, and this can exaggerate the feeling rather than stopping it.
- Take a break- whether this is to go for a walk, putting the kettle on or reading a book that you enjoy. Try to distract yourself for the next hour.
- Ask yourself what exactly you are feeling when the comparison killer strikes. Are you jealous, frustrated, angry, anxious, or scared? Identify what those feelings are and then ask yourself why you are feeling them. Try to be as honest with yourself as you can.
- Remind yourself that you don’t know everything about them. You don’t know the help they might have had, or the financial package they received. They might be having a terrible time, but are presenting a glossy version of themselves to the world.
- Then think about how you are presenting yourself to the world. Can you be more open, tell your audience more about your own story or the journey you took to get where you are now?
- Breathe- A simple pause and reflection can do wonders when our anxiety levels peak.
- Ask for help. Find a friend to chat it over with, or join the Creative Women International Facebook group where you can ask questions and get some support.
In the comments below, let me know what is the biggest problem you have at the moment with comparing yourself to others. Have you found some tricks to cope with it that you can share with others?
Remember to be kind to yourself. It takes guts to build a creative career. You may stumble on the way, but being able to get up and dust yourself off, and learn from the experience is what makes you stronger.