Over the past few months I have been coaching a number of people on their journey to bringing creativity into their own business or start-up coaching practices. Though the clients were both male and female and from all corners of the globe (US, South Africa, AUS) each of them had a similar issue…
They were all suffering from a case of ‘Comparisonitis’
Definition: Comparisonitis ‘Comparing oneself unfavourably to others.’ (Source Angela Murray)
Each in their own ways were comparing their artistic talent, the time they have available to learn, the facilities they have, the funds they have available- to the others in the group and to other established coaches like myself.
“How can I coach others when I’m just learning it for the first time, and I don’t think my art is good?”
“Maybe I should give up as I have fallen so far behind on my course, and others are so far ahead?
“I won’t be able to make this work because I don’t have a fancy studio”
“How can I start my own business when I don’t have much money compared to other established coaches?”
Each of them was comparing themselves to others and suffering with a severe case of Comparisonitis.
Does this sound familiar?
It does to me – I’ve previously found myself not posting something I came up with because someone like Elizabeth Gilbert, Oprah or Marie Forleo had just published the same idea. Or I remember when I first started out coaching I got myself stuck trying to design my website because I was comparing my efforts with the sites of established coaches of the time. I had to learn how to let go of comparison.
I once heard it said that “comparison is the thief of joy” which rings true, as I tell my clients “comparison is the death of creativity”.
When we compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking in some way we often give up, we throw in the towel. We find excuses such as I haven’t got enough time, money, skill or support.
But what if your ‘imperfect’ version is what people need?
What if your version is more interesting because it is different? What if your story told through your work could change the lives of countless other people who have not resonated with what is already out there?
“There is nothing more genuine than breaking from the chorus to learn the sound of your own voice.”
So next time you find yourself not going for what you want
When you stop yourself from trying something because “others are already doing it and they are much better at it than me” insert your own excuse here ….. just check and see if you are suffering from an acute case of Comparisonitis.
My cure for the symptoms of Comparisonitis in 7 easy steps:
Step 1 – Stop following people on social media and unsubscribe from newsletters of people who make you feel inadequate
Step 2 – Find a supportive group that welcomes beginners in whatever you want to try
Step 3 – Believe in yourself and a friendly universe (everyone who has ever done anything great in this world was a beginner sometime)
Step 4 – Go out and play, start small, take a class and give it a go (don’t put any expectations on it)
Step 5 – Build your creative muscles. Your creative brain is your biggest cheerleader, it loves challenge, it loves change and it believes in you. So exercise it.
Step 6 – Find a creative way to switch off the negative chatter from your logical brain. I find mindless doodling or colouring in or some of the arty phone apps help. (See below for further BONUS tips on Step 6)
Step 7 – Get yourself out there – in the words of a famous sports shoe manufacturer “Just Do It!”.
Guarantee: If you follow this 7 step programme severe symptoms of Comparisonitis will subside and you will receive more freedom, fun and flow into your life.
Give these simple tips a go and let me know how you get on, and to help you with step 6 – see my bonus tips below.
BONUS tips for Step 6
Download my free e-book ‘ 7 days to Be Creative Be You’ for simple creative activities you can do in less than 10 minutes a day with objects you already have in your home.
Photo credits: Berzin, Mikael Cho, Engin_Akyurt, Startup Stock Photos