Hello, how are you?
In this week’s blog I wanted to talk about finding inspiration versus comparison. It follows on nicely from last week’s post about copying versus inspiration.
I spoke to a friend of mine this week and he was saying, ‘I’ve been travelling around with my family and just taking some time out. I’ve started to see other people doing what I am doing in their businesses and I am starting to feel fear that I am missing out. Should I be doing more? I should be doing what they are doing and working more’. He then said, ‘I am starting to feel really guilty that I am not doing enough. I am feeling inadequate as a person because I am comparing myself to these other people.’
I found this so interesting, and following this conversation, I noticed myself and others around me doing the same. It happens so often and we all do it subconsciously. Maybe even more so at the moment with everything that is going on in the world with the pandemic we’re in.
What is the difference between being inspired by someone and comparing?
Comparing yourself to others you see online, friends, family, people around you, can start to be crippling and can fill you with anxiety. Whilst thinking about this and how I could help my friend, I found this quote from John Acuff.
“Inspiration tells you anything is possible. Comparison tells you everything is impossible. Inspiration fills you up. Comparison empties you. Inspiration drives you forward. Comparison pulls you backwards. Inspiration tells you there is still time to accomplish something amazing. Comparison tells you it’s too late.”
How powerful are those words? They are so true. Comparing ourselves to others is damaging in so many ways. There are times when comparing is useful – as in when we are comparing prices of what we’re selling. Having a look to see what is going on is okay, and using these as benchmarks can be helpful, but it is when you start to compare yourself as a whole and as a person that it can begin to affect us.
When we start to compare in a negative way, as in, we’re following someone on social media, we start to look at how they are working. For example, someone else who is helping artists. I might start to look at how they are teaching, how they run their sessions, how they do their podcasts, how they do their live videos. Everyone will do it so differently to me because they are different people. But, I will begin to question what I am doing wrong.
I am doing nothing wrong. We are different and unique and that is what makes us as humans so fascinating. It is so easy to compare and look at what I should change to follow suit and this can be so damaging.
WE HAVE TO STOP. We need to refrain from doing this. Stop following them. Stop looking.
As I’ve said before, you are looking at someone else who may be on chapter 25 and you are on chapter 1. There is no comparison – how can there be? You’re just starting out and they have been making, creating and selling art for the past 25 years. It just doesn’t work.
What I have learnt over the years is that I just need to focus on me. What I am doing with my business, family and life. This stops the comparison from emptying me. It stops pulling me backwards and I start to become inspired.
Now, I follow people who inspire me, that give me food for thought, room to grow and feel good. It works wonders. Being really mindful of what I am doing, am I comparing or am being inspired?
Finding people who inspire you is key. So, for me, Carrie Green. She is the founder of The Female Entrepreneur Association. I love what she does. I aspire to do what she is doing but in the art world. The main reason why I love Carrie Green is I can follow here and I don’t compare. We are different, we teach different things, we have different audiences, there is no reason to compare, but every reason so seek inspiration in what she does.
Sharing when something goes wrong is good. I feel like I am not alone in making mistakes, we’re all human after all. Carrie shares herself and not an edited version which draws me in and aspires me to move forward.
Being aware of your thoughts and feelings that start to crop up is so important. If you can feel yourself starting to compare and the feeling of self-doubt creeping in, pull it back. Who is that you are comparing yourself to? STOP.
It is a conversion that I find so interesting and can talk about for hours, but I just want to let this seed sit with you so you can take it forward and ask yourself, wait, am I comparing myself? How is it making me feel? Am I being inspired or am I starting to feel self-doubt?
Be mindful. We are all on our own path, creating our destiny. Our wants and needs as people are different and so are our goals in life. You don’t need to compare yourself to anyone, just accomplish something amazing!