I’m not going to lie, this is my fourth attempt in two days to write this post.
I’ve spent way too much time typing, editing, deleting, repeat. At this point I just need to go for it. I have a lot to say, but I’m struggling to communicate those thoughts into words.
I’ve noticed a pattern to my blocked creativity—comparison. For example, after I listen to a great book on audible or read an inspiring article, I can’t seem to get the particular style or voice of the author out of my head.
I end up comparing my writing to the author’s writing, critiquing my every word, overanalyzing the ones that make it onto the page, and telling myself it’s not good enough, which brings my progress to a complete stop. The lesson here is this:
Comparison steals creativity.
Have you ever found yourself in a creative flow when, suddenly, you get the urge to scroll through Instagram for some more creative ideas?
Before you know it, you’re comparing your body, skills, material possessions, families, and everything else you have to those of the people whose pictures you’re liking? You’re happy for their success, and yet seeing them accomplishing their goals reminds you of how you’re not exactly where you want to be.
I’ve learned I’m at my best creatively when I stay in my own lane.
This doesn’t mean I stop reading great books or taking writing courses or attending speaking seminars. In fact, I know it means I need to continue to lean in to what inspires me, but do so with the awareness that I have a tendency to compare myself.
Bringing awareness to when I slip into the comparison mindset is key. That mindset comes from a place of lack. Once I catch myself, it’s up to me to reframe my mindset to one of abundance.
Success and creativity are not finite resources.
I can then ask why I felt inspired, focusing on the techniques and principles someone used to convey what I found so inspiring in the first place. Then I can apply them through the lens of my own unique perspective.
After all, I’m the only me there will ever be, so sharing my perspective is unique and important. And the same holds true for each and every one of you!
When it’s time for me to sit down and do the work, I minimize distractions and comparison by keeping my phone in another room and not getting on the internet. Doing so helps me focus on my own creativity and staying true to my experiences.
What are some things you do or tell yourself when comparison threatens to steal your creativity?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing.
In the words of one of my favorite online voices, Marie Forleo, “Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams. The world needs that special gift that only you have.”
Love and Blessings.
PS – I’d love the opportunity to come share my inspirational message at your next company meeting, church event, inspirational gathering, mom’s group etc. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
PPS – Back in 2015 when I published The Ellie Project, a book Andrew wrote and illustrated during the the final months of his life for our then two-year-old daughter, Ellie, I had no idea the impact it would have on families all over the country. It’s sold over 6,000 plus copies, and continues to leave a lasting impression on the hearts of those who read it. Get your signed copy here.