Today we are talking about creativity and comparison. How do we balance those in a healthy way? How the heck do we do it? I can’t even tell you how many times I find myself comparing my work to other people’s work.
And it’s hard. It’s hard on your heart. It’s hard on your soul. It’s hard on pretty much everything that you try to do in your business, if you’re comparing yourself constantly to other people in your industry. So how do we accomplish comparison to make it healthy? How do we continue to drive this creativity within us without falling in that hole of comparison?
Let me just ask this question first. How many of you struggle with comparison?
I can probably say all of you do because that’s normally the case. Everybody struggles with comparison. You’re not alone there. Even the highest people that you think are in your industry struggle with it.
They struggle with comparison like everyone does. Now my next question is how many of you long for creativity? I mean, especially after this year, but you’re struggling to find that creativity.
How do you find that? I’m going to help you today.
If you’re in a season of comparison, how do you get back to that creative season? How can we use social media to cultivate a healthy relationship with community instead of comparing ourselves?
How do we use it for creativity and inspiration instead of comparison? I think it’s really easy to copy someone, but it’s way harder to be original.
So how many of you see something on Instagram – maybe it’s someone who’s in the same industry as you – and you think, gosh, I wish I thought of that or, oh my gosh, that’s such an amazing photo. I suck. I wish I thought of that. They’re so good. I’m terrible. And it goes on.
I mean, I am one of those people, there are plenty of people that I find myself comparing myself to and it’s, it’s not fair. It’s not fair to me because I am a smart, beautiful, talented, creative, and I have my own talents that that person doesn’t. And you do too.
Let me tell you right now you are unique and you have special talents and a special eye and special gifts that the other person doesn’t.
So how do you hone in on that and how do you use those gifts and those unique abilities that you have to stand out? Because that’s ultimately what all of us want to do. We just want to stand out. We want to be recognized. We want our work to go places I could go on because it’s true. And unfortunately, while I want to say that that’s the right motivation to have. It’s not.
Comparison is Not Always a Bad Thing.
I think our first motivation to be to serve should be to serve our clients. However, it does help our clients find us, or I should say our potential clients find us when we have original work out there that really stands out. So how do you hone in on that and how, how do we do this? Well, I first want to start with is comparison a bad thing. I’m actually going to say, no, it’s not.
And I know that this is really controversial because most of you are going to say, it’s terrible. It can tear you down. It can destroy you.
Well, I actually think it can be a really good thing. And here’s why:
Comparison is first of all, something that everyone struggles with, but how you handle your comparison will define whether or not it’s healthy for you. So if you let your comparison tear you down and destroy you, you’re never going to be in a good place creatively because you’re always going to be thinking that person’s better than I am. I’m worthless, which is a terrible thing to be thinking because you’re not worthless. You’re great. And Jesus loves you.
If instead you see work that you love from a colleague or someone in your industry, and you decide to take that as inspiration, that’s healthy.
If instead you see work that you love in some, with someone in your industry and you decide to take that as inspiration, and you’re not going to copy them – you’re just taking it as inspiration to maybe do something else – that’s healthy.
If you cannot look at someone else’s work and also be stoked and happy for them, then you’re going to have an issue with comparison because you’re going to start to hate that other person. And you don’t want to be hating anyone in your industry. That’s just not how it should be. We should be all together in this. There’s plenty of work to go around for everyone.
So if you can’t look at someone else’s work and be happy for them and be so stoked that they were able to find this creative creativity to make them original, you’re going to have issues with comparison.
You’re At Your Healthiest When You Can Be Inspired By Others.
You know, you are at your healthiest creatively when you can look at other work and you can be inspired, not disheartened because if you’re just heartened by looking at your friend’s work, you’re always going to be in this place of tearing yourself down, always thinking you’re never going to be enough. And that is so unhealthy for you as a creative.
I think it’s really hard being small business creatives in this industry because we are so creative based. Obviously we create, we create new and original things. It has to stand out in a saturated market in photography or in brand design. There are a lot of people out there that can help clients that are in search of those needs. So how do you stand out and how do you really make yourself look creative and awesome?
If you’re copying someone else, it’s a lot harder to be original. It’s easy to copy someone else. And if that idea’s already happened, then you’re going to know that people are going to look at you as the person who copied that other person, especially because the photography industry, as an example, is so small.
So you want to stand out and you also want to cheer on people who are really honing in on their creativity. That’s how this all works.
If you are not at your healthiest, then maybe you need to reevaluate your time on social media. This means stop looking at other people’s work.
If you’re feeling really sad about yourself and really down on your work, maybe you need to take a break from social media and you need to mute those that you’re comparing yourself to. And instead focus time on being with yourself creatively.
Take a Break from Social Media.
I mean, I personally struggle with this. There are times where I have great friends of mine that I find myself comparing my, and when I get in that season of like comparisons struggle, I usually mute those people. Or I take a break from social media.
Last year I thought it was so needed to post every single day to Instagram, like post photos, post-work constantly. And while that’s good marketing wise, in my mental health, it was not good. Like I was on the app so many hours in the day, it was terrible.
And I found myself in a comparison hole where I could never really get out of the funk of being like original.
I was always finding myself copying others in a shoot or with my editing or in Photoshop. So my advice, if you’re in this stage is to take a break, step back, mute the people you’re comparing yourself to and focus on being creative by yourself. And there are also other ways to be inspired besides looking at people in your industry.
Get Inspired by Things Outside of Your Industry.
What I mean by that is as a creative, you can be inspired by pretty much anything. The world itself is a canvas. Okay. Our God created the world. It is creation. If you can look at things like nature, like take a walk in nature, maybe you’ll be inspired by something. If you can look at movies like cinematic movies, for example, those are really great things that keep me inspired because I’m looking at camera angles and lighting and all of these fun things that have nothing to do with weddings.
If you can look at paintings, sometimes I’ve found really cool poses in paintings like historical paintings or even like modern paintings. There’s a lot to be learned there.
Reality TV shows – this one’s a funny one – if you watch the Bachelor, you, you understand. But, there was this one date that happened on Bachelor in Paradise, and they went to a pottery class and I’ve always wanted to do this shoe in a pottery studio. Even if it was just a style shoot, it would be so fun.
So that inspired me, weirdly. But all this goes without saying that stuff like that can inspire you. Don’t let it NOT inspire you.
I always say like, if you think of an idea, run with it and just do it and see how it turns out. And if it’s maybe not what you were expecting fine, you don’t have to share it. But if it was at least you have this like awesome original content, you know?
Music. Sometimes I hear a song and then I get a shoot idea. There was this one song it’s called Lost in Space – it’s a very Spacey type of song and it’s electronic. And I thought it would be so cool to go to the sand dunes and to just put people in an astronaut costume and then just have fun and make it look like they’re in zero gravity.
Well, that’s what we did. And it was so amazing. See below!
Music is great.
These are all things that you can use to be creative!
Don’t always be looking at others in your industry because it’s, at some point it will tear you down. And when that happens, that’s when you need to take a break.
Use Comparison in a Healthy Way.
So now let’s talk about how we can actually use comparison in a healthy way, because there is a way to do it.
As I mentioned before, I know it’s a controversial topic, but there is a way so comparison should be used to help inspire you to create something similar, but different.
My Friend Will Khoury – he is awesome – and he has taught me a lot about photography. If you don’t follow him, go check him out. Basically he did this one shot and Yosemite specifically Taft point. See Below:
Credit to Will Khoury Photography.
I thought it was really cool, but I thought, what if they were standing on the same level, but they were reaching for each other. See Below:
Not the same, but different. And I, even gave him a shout out and I was like, will really inspire this photo. And I just wanted to share it because I thought it was really cool. And it did really well. A lot of people were like, this is amazing. This is awesome. And it stood out, even though it was a similar concept, but it was still different. It was still original.
There are other ways that you can look at work and be inspired and it doesn’t mean like copying or doing something similar, even if it leads to a completely different location or a completely different idea.
That’s how, you know, you’re in a healthy space with comparison – because you’re not tearing yourself down to think that you’re less than that person. Instead, you’re thinking yourself as an equal, or I would hope maybe better.
Comparison should also be used to drive you, to keep creating and to keep also inspiring others like those other people did for you. If you can inspire other people. How cool is that?
Seek to Inspire Others.
You can get other people to be inspired by your work, you’re going to stand out so much more. Comparison should be used to drive you to keep creating it, it shouldn’t be tearing you down to stop creating.
If it’s stopping you, you’re in an unhealthy space, you need to take a step back from your industry. You need to get inspired again, elsewhere.
If you’re looking at others in your industry and it’s driving you to keep going, that is so good. That is a healthy spot to be in with comparison.
Comparison should be used to help you want to be better, but not tearing yourself to make you think that you aren’t already great. Because you’re already great.
If you’re here, you’re running your own business. You’ve got clients. They’re happy. They’re raving about you. You are great. You’re doing a great job at your at your career creatively because you’re a small business creative.
If it’s driving you to be better than you’re already greatness, then that is also a healthy space because it’s driving you to move forward.
If comparison is pulling you back, that’s when you know you’re in an unhealthy space. If it’s pulling you forward to keep going and actually do better, then you’re in a healthy space.
Creativity is so important. And guess what? You probably started this business because you love to be creative, whether it’s photography, whether it’s creating social media, whether it’s creating brands for people, you are here because you love to be creative. It is a passion of yours. So don’t lose that. Don’t get burnt out with comparison. Take a step back if you need to.
I think this is just maybe your reminder that you need today to tell you that if you’re in that space, you need to take a step back, focus on yourself, focus on your own creativity, take a break from people in your industry and look to other things that will help you be inspired.
Don’t Lose Sight of Who You Are as a Creative!
I hope this was helpful! I know that comparison’s a tough thing to talk about, and I know that it can get really hard sometimes, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not always going to be hard. You can find ways around this. You can get through this season of struggle if you’re in it. And I know that you can keep going.
Don’t lose sight of who you are as a creative, keep creating original content. And you’re going to do great things. I know it.