Have you ever seen someone post some kind of life update –
they quit their job because they’re now a freelancer who works from the beaches of Bali, they launched that new YouTube channel two weeks ago and already got 1,000 subscribers –
and immediately felt those weird feelings of jealousy and self-loathing creeping in?
Over the years, I’ve found that we creators are the ones who are most likely to fall into this trap. We compare ourselves to other creators, other people, wondering if we should be doing the same thing to get the same results or fearing that our own progress isn’t enough.
I still compare myself to other creators sometimes (who doesn’t?), and I’ve come to realize that it’s probably something that’s always going to happen, no matter how far I’ve gotten in my career and business.
But I’ve found that the more important thing is what I do when those bouts of comparisons come up.
Also over the years, I’ve learned how to “cleanse” myself from those toxic comparisons. These help me from falling into that rabbit hole of ill feelings towards myself and even other creators.
If you’re a creator that always finds yourself comparing your progress with someone else’s, this one’s for you.
6 Ways for Creators to Do a Comparison Cleanse
Remember your own superpower
In my heart of hearts, I know that we’re all different. Meaning we have different strengths, different paths, different perspectives to bring to the huge table that’s the creative life.
But all too often – when it matters most – I forget about that.
I could see someone else killing it in their passion project or biz and I immediately think: wow, I’m not even that far ahead; I should be making that much progress; I should probably start doing what they do to get those results…
So one thing I started doing to combat those thoughts is remembering my own superpower.
I make a list of my own strengths, my own skills, my own expertise. I list down my big goals for myself and I remind myself why that goal matters.
I remember what other people look up to me for, what other people always ask me for help with. I remember that somewhere out there, someone (at least just one person) appreciates what I’m doing – and you know what? That person is me.
Take time to remember your own superpower too. Write it down if you have to, there’s no shame in that. (I personally keep a little list in my Notes app.)
Keep your written-down superpower somewhere for comparison emergencies. So when the self-doubt hits, you can just pull it out and read through it and remember that no one else has your superpower, and no one else can bring what you bring to the table.
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What's your superpower? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ No, this isn't some fun icebreaker I like to ask at parties. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is the question I ask myself every time I'm buried in negative self-talk (which, for a creative, happens waaay more than I care to admit ). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Next time you seriously start to doubt yourself, take two minutes to remember what you're good at, what you're proud of, what people look up to you for... And THAT’S your superpower. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ P.S. No one is allowed to judge you for it – heck, YOU'RE not even allowed to judge you for it.
Check out my IG post on fiding your superpower.
No one else has your superpower, and no one else can bring what you bring to the table.
Track your progress
A lot of the time, self-doubt creeps up on us because we forget how much we’ve actually accomplished in our own creative endeavors.
By tracking your progress, it’s easy to actually look back and say, “Wow, I did that.”
You can track your progress every week or every month (even every day, if that’s what you need). List down your accomplishments and see just how much closer you are to your big goals.
Committed to publishing that bullet journal online? Look at you with those 30 pages already. Yas kween.
Celebrate big milestones and tiny victories
Whenever you hit a milestone or even a tiny victory in your passion project or biz, I want you to give yourself the kudos you deserve.
Completed that new blog post? HAPPY DANCE.
Fixed that bug on your website? HAPPY DANCE.
Figured out what to sell to your audience? HAPPY DANCE.
Even if you have to write down everything you accomplished every week or month, do it. And please, please, please celebrate it. #momentum, am I right?
If you need help getting started, I have a done-for-you template for tracking your own milestones. Download it for free here:
Create a vision board
Sometimes, when a case of the comparisons hit me really bad, I realize it’s because I’m suddenly doubting my own goals or path.
To get rid of that constant doubt, create a vision board where you put in all your goals and dreams in a way that you can visually see.
So your creator friend moved to a brand-spankin’-new apartment with a recording studio? Your goal might be to buy a house, so put that dream house on your vision board and don’t get distracted by someone else’s goal.
The key is to be really specific with your goals. What’s your dream house like? Your dream career? Your dream car? Your dream routine?
Find photos or quotes that visually remind you of these things, and slap those on to your own goal-slaying vision board.
Don’t let other people’s goals and dreams distract you from your own!
Reframe other people’s successes
When someone else is absolutely killing it in their biz or passion project, I remind myself of this quote I really like:
Someone else’s success doesn’t take away any of your own.
In the same way that there’s enough money, enough food, enough business for everyone out there, there’s also enough success and kudos to go around.
Instead of feeling bad that your creator friend finally launched their dream course, maybe step back and say, “Good on them! Now it’s my turn to do the same.”
Let other people’s progress inspire you.
Don’t let other people’s goals and dreams distract you from your own.
Unfollow accounts that just constantly make you feel bad
Okay, don’t get me wrong here. As much as I love how social media has brought me closer to my tribe and audience (I constantly engage my with audience on my Instagram and have now enjoyed posting valuable content every other day), I know that it can be a haven for triggering the comparison demons.
One way to stop that? Just unfollow those accounts that don’t inspire you in any way.
It’s one thing to keep following people who are absolutely killing it as a way to inspire you, but it’s another thing to keep following people who – honestly? – just aren’t doing anything to help you with your own self-image.
I’m talking about accounts that constantly make you feel bad about yourself. Accounts that show off instead of share. Accounts that make you doubt instead of deliver.
Social media is a part of your life just as what food you’re planning to eat tonight. You can make the decision to unfollow people who simply don’t help your mental health.
Now you can stop comparing yourself to other creators
Comparisons will always happen. Let that be a fact. But you can choose to let these comparisons paralyze you – or you can do something about them and find peace in your own strengths, goals, and progress.
Leave me a comment:
Do you compare yourself to others a lot? What strategies have you tried for your own comparison cleanse? Are you going to try some of the tips I wrote about in this blog post?