Y’all, I have a ton of favorite blogs, even more favorite photographers, and I troll way too many instagram feeds. I am a visual being, like most creatives, I see art all around me. Therefore, inspiration is all around me. And while I should be using these amazing beings as motivation, sometimes following certain people's every move can open up the opportunity to negatively compare myself to them. Social media can be a gift and a curse for new entrepreneurs. So when it comes to your journey, you have to be careful not to play the comparison game.
So what’s the comparison game? It’s when you come across somebody you feel is totally awesome. Maybe you love their style, or what they’ve accomplished. Maybe they have 10,000 followers and you’re like whaaaat. Now your goal is to get like them. Your admiration for their hustle starts off as inspiration, then quickly turns to "I wish I could do that". Instead of using a muse’s journey as motivation, you start to develop negative, debilitating thoughts about yourself, as if your completely separate hustle’s are somehow related. The criticizing begins, a little whining, some dramatic yelling. And then you end up throwing yourself into a self-imposed #girlboss depression. You've clearly lost this round.
Girl, why do we do this? Fear? Lack of confidence? Nothing better to do? All kinds of reasons. When you are doing (what you believe to be) the best you can and then come across someone doing what you wish you could do, the little bit of confidence you did have can be deflated, quickly. But only if you let it!
So how do I keep myself from playing the comparison game?
Well for starters, I would put myself on timeout when I saw my inspiration was turning into comparing. Last year I followed a whole bunch of pretty IG accounts that I thought would keep me inspired to reach my goals. After a few weeks, I found myself feeling super low, some days I would avoid social media altogether. What was wrong? I had stopped using the pretty feeds as positive inspiration and had started negatively comparing myself to everything I saw. I decided I had no other choice but to unfollow said pretty accounts until I gained more confidence in myself. If you don't have enough confidence in yourself, its easy to negatively compare, so stop following your fav movers and shakers until you can do so without cutting your own self down every time they update you on their fabulous life.
I also softly remind myself that I may be in a different stage than the fabulous people I come across. If someone shows up on your radar, chances are they’ve been working at their ‘thing’ for years. Instead of feeling bad for yourself, maybe you could reach out to them, and see if they don't mind sharing a little advice. If they live in your area, you could even invite them out for coffee. I came across a fabulous photo session one day while searching google for my photos (they weren't there). I immediately yelled out 'Who did this! This is amazing!" I clicked through the photo to a page owned by the fabulous Bri McDaniel. After a quick looksee, I found out we had lots in common outside of our photography styles. I thought she was amazing. So I asked her out for coffee. We chatted for hours, found out we had even more things in common and now she is a new friend! The old Kelley would have thrown herself into a comparison panic and missed out, but the new Kelley no longer compares, and skips along in her high heels at her own pace. Bri told me it took her 3 or 4 years to get to the first page of google (she's actually listed above her mentor now but we're not gonna talk about that). The point is, you are not the only one going through new #girlboss trials and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So never compare. Be motivated! Make friends! If you have something special, real people will rally around you and help as best they can. If you are far from satisfied with your current situation, then that alone should be the fuel that sends your hustle into overdrive.
If you have ginourmous goals and need help getting started, come back Thursday. I'll show you how I break my larger-than life goals down into actual, real-life accomplishments. In the meantime, stay fearless, dolls!
*Photos by my girlfriend and budding second-shooter Fallon. She's getting good! <3