Argh go comparison-free they say (well the internet does anyway) and yes it’s hard, so hard to go cold turkey on measuring yourself up against others, particularly in your own field, but you must stop obsessively doing just that in order to thrive and feel good about yourself.
Yes, some comparison is needed, it motivates and inspires you but your levels of emulation need to be realistic and healthy. Sadly, I hear the opposite from creatives far too often, with many stating that comparison only serves to drain and deter them, preventing them from getting their art out into the world.
It makes them anxious and disheartened.
They compare social media numbers, PR, work opportunities and even friendship groups to their own, often dismissing who they are and what they, themselves, bring to the table.
Let me tell you, we all do this at times. It’s normal. We beat ourselves up and question our voice, story, and place in the world. Never more so than when we feel overtired (parenting life) and hormonal (hey there PMT).
We are rarely kind to ourselves nor build ourselves up, as we would a good friend.
We become trapped in a negative self-perpetuating cycle of low confidence which limits our get-go prowess and the opportunities which come with that.
The reality is, you need to feign confidence so others will believe in you too.
Remind yourself of your positive qualities and take leadership guru Eve Poole’s advice to take small steps,
‘We’ve all read the statistics about how many men apply for jobs they aren’t qualified for, while women won’t apply for anything unless they are a 90% match. But I hope you’ve also watched The Princess Diaries? If so, you’ll know that ‘there are some things that are more important that fear.’ So you might get found out. Well, find yourself out first. Figure out what it is you think they could ‘get’ you on, and make sure they can’t.
My research is all about maintaining performance under pressure, and you do that by learning under pressure, so that you build the neurobiologcal templates to guide you when you are in a stressful situation: leadership muscle memory, if you will. So what are you afraid of? Start scheduling in some practice so that you build up your resilience over time. Public Speaking? Try giving a vote of thanks at a local gathering. Then scale up gradually. Ask a question in a public meeting; make a video Christmas card; talk at a school assembly; and before long you’ll be defending your neighbours on local radio. I call it leadersmithing, because it’s about honing your craft.
You don’t need to be a master today, you just need to be working towards it. And remember, it wasn’t the hare that won the race, it was the tortoise’.
Eve is on a mission to help leaders feel brave enough to tackle the daunting challenges we currently face. For years, leadership has been the preserve of old white men with a penchant for books on military heroes, but that’s no longer what we need. Fuelled by a career that spans the charity sector, academia, and management consulting,
Eve teaches and writes about leadership and character, and about how to curate a development journey that genuinely makes you job-ready for the big stuff. Her approach – leadersmithing – is about rediscovering the craft of leading through daily practice, and about the practical skills needed to develop mastery. You can buy Eve’s book on Leadersmithing HERE.
It’s time to slowly work tortoise-style towards our dreams, to take action, however small and to let experience, and confidence build-and build.
Productivity will always be rewarded for all, particularly online. Know that. I remember the elation and pride I felt on publishing my first post here, and the support I received from friends on FB which spurred me on to write and share another post and another, eventually leading me to pivot into a brand new career and way of life, both blogging and vlogging.
Who knows where one meeting, post or public speaking engagement could lead?
So stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on your badass self, safe in the knowledge that your individuality is your USP.
Do join in with my #5fabthings instagram tag where I’m asking people to share 5 things about themselves they are proud of and makes them happy to help remind themselves that the power is within. Please do join in and include the tag. See you there!
Photo by Kirsty Mattsson Photography