It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others, isn’t it?
One click of the mouse and we can virtually see the life history of others in our industry. We easily flip into the mindset that they are doing so much better than us.
I remember doing this when I first set up my coaching practice. My idol was a coach called Marie Forleo, who lives in New York. She had the perfect combination of sassiness and expertise and taught marketing skills with wit and humility. I loved her approach.
The trouble was, I noticed that I began trying to emulate her style. I started video blogs, which she seemed to do effortlessly. I found myself spending hours trying to perfect my online presence and feeling as if I was falling short. I noticed my enthusiasm started to wane.
After a few, exhausting months, I realised that falling short of some standard of what I thought I should be was not such a good strategy. What I actually should have been more of was myself.
Looking back, I realise that this stage is normal when we’re learning to find our voice. Learning from the experts in our industry is really useful. We can learn from the best and this can increase our awareness of what ‘great’ looks like. But it’s also limiting.
The danger is when we become invested in the comparison mindset and we limit our ability to do original work. When we admire others and try to emulate something that works well, we can become a shadow version of ourselves – we lack clarity in our own voice, which lessens our confidence rather than building it.
So – how do we all get out of this rabbit hole?
The simple answer is – passion. Hot, sizzling, juicy, yeah ha, feelings of joy and ‘this is what I love’ passion.
And – there’s more I have to say about passion projects.
I developed a fascination for my own projects and decided to learn what I wanted to know by doing small and meaningful projects that had a start and a finish.
I started experimenting with facilitating short workshops in London. I ran a workshop called Playful Presence, which was about bringing out your inner clown. I then tried my first online course – ‘Get your passion project done in six weeks’. They were small but significant steps that helped me to learn what my point of view was. It definitely helped me realise more of my opinion, my style and way of seeing the world.
I began to realise that l had a lot of my expertise to bring. By building little workshops that were short and sharp I received feedback that built my confidence and awareness.
By starting with little projects, I also began to build a bigger body of work.
The turning point for me was starting a collaboration with Beverley Glick, a former rock music journalist and story coach. I convinced her that my creative community needed to learn how to tell their own stories and we developed a body of work together called Trailblazing Creatives, which included an archetypes quiz, a workshop, an online course and now a book (coming soon!).
My creativity really blossomed when I collaborated, when I had someone to bounce ideas off. Beverley and I had different strengths to bring to the party. I was good at new ideas and visioning. Bev was great at keeping a steady order, writing great copy and following through.
So – my advice to you if you resonate with the ‘comparison trap’ is to see this as a stage of learning, rather than a state of mind to stay stuck in.
Start a small, tangible project that you can start and finish easily. Small projects build confidence. They remind you of what you stand for and they can become part of a bigger body of work.
Many creative people are visionaries and become exhausted before getting a project off the ground because the goal is simply too big.
We end up with half-written pieces sitting on our laptops and the feeling of frustration that you’re not shifting forward.
Start with small, easy projects. Get them done – get them out the door.
If you want a coach for accountability – get on the phone to me. I’ll help you make it happen.
I love creatives for their dreaming and desires for a better world. Don’t ever compare yourself with anyone – you are an original, there’s only you and your projects and ideas matter a lot.
Do leave a comment below and tell me what project you’d love to commit to.
p.s If you haven’t joined my facebook tribe yet – what are you waiting for? Come and join Bev, myself and some brilliant ambitious creatives. Click Join Trailblazer Tribe.