How to Combat Comparison: 3 Powerful Truths for the Struggling Creative Entrepreneur
My dear creative entrepreneur. If you’re here and today was a rough day, welcome. If today was a perfect day, welcome. I was actually so inspired to write this because of conversations with you! I wanted to take a second to let you know that I am so proud of you! I’m proud of the creative work that you do as an entrepreneur and the person that you are with AND without your camera in hand (speaking directly to my fellow photographers!). I hope these three simple truths leave you encouraged and energized to keep pushing ahead in your work as a creative entrepreneur. You’re doing so great!
Our creative industry is such a unique one, and sometimes it’s super overwhelming. I firmly believe that everyone is creative, whether or not they are in the “industry.” We create atmospheres with our presence, with our words, and with the way we relate to others. As a creative and an artist, we do both: creating with our words and hands (or cameras).
One reason I firmly believe that comparison is such a tricky topic to navigate stems from our art being so personal to us. It’s not like working in retail where if the customer doesn’t love a product, it doesn’t matter emotionally because you didn’t design it. It holds no weight because you don’t feel the ownership over it–you didn’t make it. You are simply a middle man between the consumer and the seller.
As a photographer, our work is so personal. We feel responsible for making sure the client loves the product because we put so much energy into making it the best it can be! We are the creative entrepreneur behind this creation, so we feel deeply invested in how it is received.
It only makes sense then that at times it may SEEM like others are succeeding faster or that your work SEEMS to not be good enough. But that doesn’t make it true. Here are a few ways I have found to combat the lies of comparison as a creative entrepreneur!
By no means am I an expert at this, but there are definitely a few things over the years that have helped me in this area. As a follower of Jesus, I know in my head that my worth and value doesn’t come from anything that I DO or ACCOMPLISH but simply by who I am in Jesus! But, knowing that in my head doesn’t always translate to deeply feeling it in my heart.
At the end of the day, we are all on the same team. As a photographer, videographer, or other kind of creative entrepreneur, we must have an OUTWARD mindset, not an inward one. If everything we do and say is focused around what we will gain from it, then it’s no wonder you are comparing yourself to everyone you see! Remember this: photography is simply a means to an end—that end being loving people!
When our baseline heart posture is one focused on others and not ourselves, comparison turns to celebration! You will genuinely be able to celebrate others and the successes in their businesses without feeling like you are missing out or not doing enough. Because you know not only who you are, but how much you are supposed to be doing. You’re able to rest in who you are in Jesus knowing that you’re exactly where you are supposed to be!
Continually bring yourself back to why you even started doing photography in the first place. Was it to look cool online? Or maybe to have a flexible schedule? What about your desire to travel? Or do you genuinely want to capture moments for other people that they will always have to look back upon and relive?
I’m not saying that any of the previous reasons are inherently bad. We all want freedom in our schedules and to be cool sometimes! I know I do! I am just saying that it’s important to remind yourself of the reason behind your work as a creative entrepreneur.
When we take a step back and remember the first shoot we ever did, or the first wedding we photographed, it brings back those initial feelings of excitement! Remember that first-booked-client feeling and let it impact the way you view your work today.
At the beginning and end of every day, what are the words you speak to yourself? There is so much talk (rightfully so) about the weight of our words and the power we hold when speaking to other people. Words make us feel things, and people will always remember the way you made them feel.
But, what isn’t always discussed is the way that you speak to your own self. The words you say to yourself are VITAL to the health of your mind and heart. You are so valuable, seen, known, and loved, not for the work you produce, but for the person that you are. If you never took another picture or video for the rest of your life, nothing about your value would change. It’s important to remember that your work doesn’t define your value! Do you believe that, friend?
I want to encourage you today to slow down and remind yourself how important you are to this world. I am so thankful that you’re here. No matter if you have been in this business for a month, or 10 years, I am so proud of you. Keep it up, my creative entrepreneur friend!
Do you want to continue this conversation? I would love to walk alongside you on your entrepreneurial journey! See what a mentorship with me could look like!