It’s that fun time of year when lots of people catch colds or get the flu. Fortunately, as miserable as it is to get sick, for most of us with a little rest and some good self-care we recover within a short period of time.
However, this season, I’ve noticed a much more powerful bug going around my creative circles. Unlike the flu, this bug seems to linger for months on end and results in much more unfortunate, and unwanted side-effects.
Maybe you’ve noticed it too?
I’m calling it the COMPARISON EPIDEMIC.
Most people who have caught this condition can walk around for weeks on end unaware of what’s happening to them...then one day they wake up and are completely infected. That’s because comparison’s debilitating impact is sneaky and often does it’s damage to our spirit and minds in subtle ways, lowering our individual drive and enthusiasm and making us more susceptible to discouragement and creative paralysis.
I believe this is an urgent matter for creators and one not enough of us are talking about.
I see comparison’s toxic influence spreading and infecting more and more people each day.
In fact, it is completely possible that you are unknowingly currently suffering!
Here is a list of some initial symptoms I’ve recognized:
- You no longer find your colorful social media feed inspiring & encouraging, instead seeing other creative folks growing successful businesses and living thriving creative lives leaves you feeling discouraged, unmotivated and even resentful.
- Despite the many things you’ve accomplished and personal progress you are making, when you look at where others are at, you feel like a failure that doesn’t add up.
- You were once really excited about a creative idea you had for a new business, or product. Yet, you decided it wasn’t worth moving forward on the idea because you found someone else was already making something similar.
- You find yourself looking externally for ideas instead of internally, and as a result, your once unique style and creative perspective is starting to look more and more similar to others.
- You worry that people will find out that your real life running a business looks a lot different than what you project on your social-media life.
As a creator, contracting comparison can be crippling. I’m well aware that there have been months, even years of my life when I have suffered from the comparison condition. Once you get it, it’s hard to shake.
That is why this year I’m working hard to inoculate myself early on. For this week’s Monday Maker Motivation challenge I’m sharing with you the most effective self-reflection questions I’ve found that can help you stay immunized so you avoid catching the comparison epidemic in the year ahead.
TRY IT: Comparison Vaccine Exercise
Before starting, do a temperature check by taking a moment to honestly ask yourself: “Is comparing yourself to others currently hurting your progress, or holding you back from realizing your dreams?”
Consider the following questions:
- Why do you create/ what drives you to make?
- What are your strengths and the things that you do really well?
- What do others tell you you do really well or compliment you on?
- What makes you and/or your products unique?
- What is something you’ve accomplished that you are really proud of?
- What personal challenges have you overcome and goals achieved to get where you are today?
- What does creative success mean to you?
- Are there any distorted things you tell yourself that hold you back? Can you reframe these into more realistic/positive statements?
- Are there any activities you participate in or people you spend time around that deflate your creative drive and motivation? Can you make changes to lower the impact of these things?
- How would you rate your self-confidence? Is there anything you can do to improve this?
In our socially connected culture, comparison is hard to avoid, but I believe, if we spend more time working on ourselves and acknowledging the unique contributions we can make to the world, instead of how we measure up to others, it is possible to build creative businesses that thrive.
I’m confident that you have creative ideas and I trust there are customers out there that would love to purchase your products. This year, let’s be intentional about guarding ourselves against the contagious comparison epidemic and instead focus our energy on our own growth. I think it will bear fruitful results.
We’re in this together,