Overcoming Comparison

In a Creative Industry

A few weeks ago, I shared one of the most vulnerable posts that I had ever written about the Loneliness of Entrepreneurship. And as I sat there feverishly typing those words that had been weighing on my heart, I knew that today’s post wasn’t far behind.

Comparison is something that we all deal with as Creative Entrepreneurs and in some ways comparison can be a positive and healthy distinction between your strengths and the strengths of others. Unfortunately, for so many of us (me included!), our virtual world of constant sharing, perfect Instagram updates, and polished Pinterest Boards left me doubting my abilities and utterly exhausted. I felt like I simply couldn’t keep up and it took me so long to stop and realize… that the only person I should ever compare myself to is a younger version of me.

So if you’re in that place, ever have been, or know someone who is… Today’s post was written for you.

Overcoming Comparison in a Creative Industry | Tips for Wedding Photographers and Entrepreneurs

 

It starts with something small. – The opportunity she got that passed you by. The publication that turned you down, but took her work instead. The perfect office, styled wardrobe, and polished nails that set the bar impossibly high for your yoga-pant wearing, pony-tail rocking, state on any given Monday morning.

Somewhere along the way, a Comparison Monster is born.

And it lurks in the background of your mind, planting seeds of doubt. Over time, those seeds grow and the monster works tirelessly cultivating lies that with a single spark, burn like wildfire set to a barren field of insecurities. You aren’t as good as she is. You aren’t pretty enough or thin enough. You don’t have what it takes to succeed.

And in this digital world, it can feel like there is no escape. No outlet to thwart the constant barrage of perfect representations of our imperfect lives.  There has to be a better way. There has to be an alternative. No one can possibly survive the growing bitterness and self-destruction that accompanies this constant game of measuring up.

Because, somewhere along the way, you are going to surrender the beautifully unique person that you were in the pursuit of becoming someone else. As with jpeg files… a copy, and each successive copy thereafter, will never be as good as the original.

Overcoming_Comparison_Creative_Entrepreneur_Tips

If we continue to believe that the perfectly sculpted versions of reality that we see in the media and online are achievable, then we are never going to feel fulfilled. So we have to change our mindset. We have to scare away the comparison monster that we’ve created in the broken, insecure places within our souls and choose to rise above it all. We must actively guard our hearts and always remember –

Her prosperity does not make me inferior. And I choose to cheer her on because community rises above competition.

Compassion sets us free, perseverance pushes us forward, and comparison cannot hold us down when our words are wings of gratitude and our heart is guarded from the negativity of this dark and broken world.

If no one has told you lately, then please let me be the first… You are good enough. You are braver than you believe and more daring than you know. Every scar that you carry and every worry in your past, has shaped you into a truly remarkable human being.

And such a brave and unrelenting person is deserving of something greater. You are worthy of something greater. A love that fills your heart and brings joy like a spark to your soul. You were made to endure. You were created to seek out your own characterization of success and chart a course for your life unlike any other.

Never lose sight of what makes you uniquely beautiful.

Because it is that uniqueness which makes you… you.

Overcoming Comparison in a Creative Industry | Tips for Wedding Photographers

It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the comparison game and in a world where every waking moment revolves around a phone or a computer – we have to intentionally seek ways to rise above it! This is still something I struggle with… (I would be lying if I said otherwise!), but I’ve found an incredible sense of peace by being grateful and surrounding myself with women who believe in supporting one another above all else!

Steps to Overcoming Comparison:

1) Define the Culprits –

Although Social Media is a huge aspect of my business and has contributed to much of my success as a Creative Entrepreneur, it also comes with the price-tag of constantly being bombarded with an impossible standard of beauty, success, and aesthetics. And somewhere along the line, this mechanism that is designed to bring people together can so easily tear us all apart. So the first, and most difficult step, to overcoming comparison often lies in identifying the culprits and eliminating them from your field of view.

If Instagram in the morning leaves you feeling inadequate, post your image for the day and delete the application completely from your phone to prevent you from playing the comparison game. If there is a person you’ve placed on a pedestal and constantly measure up to or a negative voice that consistently brings you down, you may need to unfollow (at least temporarily) until you begin to rejuvenate + heal. Those culprits for comparison will always be there, and ignoring them won’t make them go away entirely, but it is the first step to taking control of the problem, protecting your creativity and establishing a more positive mindset.

2) Focus on Your Strengths + Redirect Your Energy in the Spirit of Gratitude

You have to guard your heart against the comparison monsters that bring about unrealistic insecurities within your life and business! I’ve found that by honing in on my strengths and the things that make me unique, rather than idolizing those aspects in others, I feel more fulfilled. Start by asking yourself: What am I good at? And how can I focus on using my strengths to better serve others in my life + business?

The power of positive self-talk should not be underestimated as well. Remember to give yourself a break and hold yourself to realistic goals rather than the perfected realities of social media! We’re taught from the time we’re young to be kind to others… but so often we forget to treat ourselves with that same compassion.

And one of the best ways to overcome comparison is to redirect your energy in the spirit of gratitude! Look around at the blessings that you have and truly be grateful. Find ways not to focus on what you’re lacking, but rather on what you have to offer others in the pursuit of service.

3) Placing Community above Competition

Seek to celebrate the accomplishments of others rather than use those achievements as pillars of comparison. I’ve also found that surrounding myself with positive people, voices of mutual support and guidance, help to keep my mind optimistic in times of growth within my business.

You are a reflection of the people that surround you and so much strength comes from building a group of friends who are encouraging, positive, and genuine.

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90 responses to “Overcoming Comparison”

  1. Lauren Swann says:

    This is such an amazing post! It’s so hard for anyone not to be comparing themselves these days with the Internet, let alone creatives! These are such great tips! One other thing I would add is getting to know the person that you’re comparing yourself to! If you look at their heart and who they are as a person, it’s a lot easier to want to cheer them on instead of pulling them down!!

  2. Ashley says:

    this is absolutely beautiful. Your words are so full of truth and wisdom! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  3. You are truly beautiful inside AND out!!!! xoxo!

  4. Natalie it’s like I think I can’t love you more, and adore you more, and respect you more, and then it happens! And you speak to ALL of our hearts! I’m confident that I’ve grown a TON in this department of comparison but naturally..it still exists! It’s still there every now and then. I love you for your heart and love you share!!! I am going to snuggle you so badly when I see you again next THIS MONTH!! OXOXOXO

  5. Caitlin says:

    love you + your heart! this post is perfect

  6. Tara Hope says:

    You are a wise woman Natalie! Beautifully written as always;)

  7. This is just what I needed! Being so fresh in this industry I often find myself feeling inept. But recently I’ve discovered how important a community is, not just for my business, but mostly for myself. Thanks for this refreshing post!

  8. This is amazing! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what other people are doing and not to see the blessings in our own lives!

  9. Thank you for this!! Needed this post so badly! Thank you for sharing! ☺️

  10. Jaclyn says:

    Natalie, this post is just what I needed to read today. So many times I’ve compared myself to so many other photographers in the industry and often times it makes me want to give up because I don’t think I’ll ever be as good. Your quote “Her prosperity does not make you inferior. And I choose to cheer her on because community rises above competition” is so spot on. I’ve always loved, cheered for, and praised others for their work but I need to take time and understand that just because their business is thriving and mine isn’t doesn’t mean it won’t some day. I have to remember that I am good enough despite my obstacles (which are usually something that I put in the way myself with self doubt). Thank you so much for this post and your understanding heart 🙂

  11. Lisa says:

    Amazing and encouraging post! Thank you for sharing. It gave me a pep in my step and heart!

  12. Jessica says:

    Natalie, I don’t think this could have been more perfectly written… This definitely speaks to the heart and I see myself falling into this trap more often than I would like. I think I am definitely going to take your advice with the deleting the Instagram app because I find myself just staring in awe at others’ work for what seems hours and leaving miserable and discouraged. Thank you so much for your advice sweet girl! 🙂

  13. Karena Dixon says:

    Natalie, you are a beautiful and genuine soul. Thank you for sharing your heart. For posts like this that make our industry a better place for each of us to thrive.

  14. Meghan says:

    So beautiful! Thank you!

  15. “The perfect office, styled wardrobe, and polished nails that set the bar impossibly high for your yoga-pant wearing, pony-tail rocking, state on any given Monday morning.” >>>>> THIS!!! Yes!!! Haha, thank you thank you thank you for being YOU and sharing your heart 🙂 You are AMAZING, girl — don’t ever doubt it!!!

  16. Laurel says:

    This was a beautiful post! You have a gift with words, as well as with images.

  17. Nastja says:

    “the only person I should ever compare myself to is a younger version of me”

    Totally agree with you Natalie. Great post with so many wonderful advice!

  18. Maggie Trice says:

    Here you go again! Speaking straight to my heart! Thank you for being fearless and transparent!

  19. Brea says:

    Such a NECESSARY post! Thank you for doing these!!

  20. Natalie, this was incredible. And just what I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing your heart, lady.

  21. Stephanie says:

    Natalie,
    You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! I have been a little discouraged this past week, and this post just reminded me of how important it is to be true to myself 🙂

    When I first started in photography, the sense of community in the industry wasn’t as important as it is now. It is so encouraging to know I am not alone out there, and that people that I look up to and admire go through the same things 🙂

    Thank you for not being afraid to share from your heart 🙂

  22. Uche says:

    Natalie, thank you for such an awesome post!! As a new business owner this is something I really needed to hear (read) to give me that boost I need to constantly be and believe in myself. It is not easy to speak (write) the hidden truths we all know & struggle with, so I applaud you for writing to our hearts. God bless you!!!

  23. This post is so beautiful Nat and SO needed! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of feeling inferior to others!

  24. Sarah Chase says:

    This is beautiful! I fell victim more than once, and it is such a heavy feeling to hold onto.

  25. I’ve felt this a lot lately and really needed this today. Thank you!

  26. Jess says:

    Ahhhh!! This is SO beautiful and SO true. Every word. We all struggle with this and reading this post was a breath of fresh air…and a reminder that we aren’t in this alone. Thanks for sharing!! xoxoxo

  27. Alex Meyer says:

    Oh, Natalie!! This is so spot on and encouraging! Love this: “the only person I should ever compare myself to is a younger version of me.” Amen! Grateful for your leadership and vulnerability with all of this!

  28. Katie says:

    Oh Natalie you are amazing. I love this, I love hearing the words from your heart and I love how passionate you are about this! <3 <3 hugs

  29. Macy says:

    This post is perfect. As someone beginning their journey in a creative business, reading these words struck a cord. I can’t wait to see where this creative life takes me. Thank you for this!

  30. Shaina Koren says:

    Natalie! This is such a beautiful post and resonates so much with me. We are ALL unique and those things that make us different are our strengths. I too often forget to focus on those! Thank you for being so open and honest with your audience and allowing us all to benefit from your wisdom. <3 xo

  31. Tatyana says:

    So helpful and beautiful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  32. This is the best post that has ever existed in our industry.

    I thought it was over when you finished preaching such a great message… and then you gave STEPS.

    BAM.

    #best. #post. #ever.

  33. oh natalie. i wrote a post about this (never published it… it’s just on my laptop!) because I was struggling with it so much! so lovely to meet you. wish you lived closer. <3

  34. What a wonderful writer you are. How did you get so wise at such a young age? You seem to be what we lovingly refer to as an “old soul”. Thank you for this thoughtful and thought provoking blog post. I so agree with you about the problems of comparing one’s self to others. I love the comment from Lauren that “getting to know the person you are comparing yourself to is very helpful”. The person created by social media may not be the person you meet. Usually the person you actually meet is more humble, more kind, and more real with insecurities of their own. We all need to be reminded that we are ourselves, our only competition and our work and goals should be directed toward whatever makes us stronger and happier. I love, love your quote “Her prosperity does not make you inferior. And I choose to cheer her on because community rises above competition”. Adding that to our office bulletin board. Thank you!

  35. Sarah Bohl says:

    thank you so much for sharing Natalie! I thought I had tamed the monster until I started redesigning my website and have been scouring through dozens of others’ pages to see what I want. Comparison reared its ugly head and your post was the perfect antidote. 🙂 thank you!

  36. Ashley says:

    Love you and you are awesome!!! <3

  37. This could not be more spot on! All of this makes me do *praise hands!* Thank you so much for your honesty on this topic and just for constant wisdom here on your blog! Amazing!

  38. I have been STRUGGLING with this lately. I can’t believe how overwhelmed I feel when it’s barely March. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing so much of your heart. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in the struggle of Comparing.

  39. This is such true and great advice! As a photographer, I am frequently caught in this trap (even with my wife, who is my business partner). These words are definitely something I needed to hear. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  40. Dilia says:

    This post speaks to my heart and soul. I’ve been there, doubting my work, myself as a photographer, and lacking motivation. It’s comparison that has made the doubt so much stronger and it definitely is a monster. You shared in one of your newsletters that creatives should build community and connect. I’ve made it one of my priorities to do just that by reaching out to photographers in the area. That alone has allowed me to gain more confidence because I have had the opportunity to learn from more seasoned professionals. Now it’s a matter of having more confidence in sharing my work with others and actually posting on my blog. I’m so grateful to have found photographers like you that constantly inspire me and motivate me to indulge in my passion and get lost in what I love to do.

  41. Amanda says:

    LOVE this! Such truth in every sentence! thank you for sharing Natalie!

  42. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for posting this; it was a great reminder! Here in the Savannah area there are so many other talented floral designers that it can be discouraging at times as I start my own business. However, I am more often inspired by them rather than overwhelmed with comparison. #3 especially hit home with me. I find a lot of joy from making local businesses free floral arrangements that have helped me get the word out about my business. Thanks again!

  43. Nikki Seiler says:

    Oh my word. Breathlessly free-ing and something we need to constantly remind ourselves of. Thank you for this amazing piece of artwork of the heart that really puts everything into perspecitve!!!

  44. Ashley says:

    this is absolutely wonderful! Thank you for writing this. Truly inspirational and sometimes even though we think it and feel it, it’s heart warming to know we are not alone. =)

  45. Meaghan says:

    LOVE this Natalie. 🙂

  46. […] reading Natalie’s honest post yesterday, I think I’m starting to get over myself. All this time, I’ve been feeling sorry for […]

  47. Kimmie says:

    This post. It just says it all, and your vulnerability just spears right into my heart. I hate admitting that comparison holds me back, but it does. And it hurts and tears me down. And number three undoubtedly is the hardest thing to do! BUT it’s the truth and the truth can set us free!

  48. Amy Dunkel says:

    This was Beautiful, Thank you.

  49. I had to read this several times because of tears that kept flowing. I have been this person. The one to compare my life, my craft and my status against everyone else. It is truly exhausting. Thank you for this amazing post to redirect those of us that forget whats important in life; each other.

  50. Corinne says:

    As I was reading this I pressed the keyboard play button to restart my spotify. The song that just began to play was “Monster” by Imagine Dragons. Spotify knows!

  51. Valisha says:

    Love this! Well done.

  52. Natalie, I love reading everything you write, it’s always beautiful, but this was just perfection!

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking + just a few weeks ago after making a great connection with another photographer, I wrote these words:

    “Work together not against each other, We’re all a community not competition.”

    I recently moved to Virginia + left behind a really fantastic community. I know there are so many amazing photographers here, but everyone is so good that they are crazy busy! Initially I felt like I was just one more competitor moving in to their territory. I really want to help build a community where everyone feels welcome, so I set out to accomplish this very task + give back so hopefully others won’t struggle like I did.

  53. […] conversations I have with like-minded business owners in the wedding industry. People like Natalie, who wrote a blog post yesterday about overcoming comparison by cultivating community— a mantra […]

  54. Natalie, that is just awesome! Even just a few days ago, I felt, I should just give up trying to build a business, “I am just not good enough….”. It is very challenging not to compare myself to others, but I will try to apply all the great things you suggested. Those are really truth, we just have to sometimes hear it from others to able to redirect our thoughts of ourselves.
    Thank you very much and looking forward reading more from you.

  55. Sammie Brown says:

    Thank you so much! This posts was beautifully written and the timing is spot on. I just came back from WPPI which is an incredibly uplifting and motivating event to attend, however those twinges of doubt can begin to creep in when you surround yourselves with others who you idolize and envy.

  56. Margie says:

    This is just what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

  57. Wow. Natalie, thank you for your heart, passion, and encouragement The honesty and care you obviously inherit is evident!!!! Thank you for this!

  58. Stephanie Cruz says:

    Amazing! I needed this!

  59. Molly says:

    Natalie! I love this post! Thank you so much for writing it. You have such a talent for writing and getting to the hearts of many. The good and the ugly. 🙂 It resonates well with me, and is a very healing article. LOVE!

  60. What a lovely post – thank you so much for the encouragement and for sharing your heart!

  61. Tami Womack says:

    Incredible post. I so wish you had been around ~50~ yrs ago and I had read “this” then.

  62. So blessed to know you and call you friend. Look at how this post has impacted so many people in such an incredibly positive way! You’re an amazing person, Natalie! xoxo!

  63. […] the incredible soul that is Natalie Franke begins a movement in the photography community…“community over competition” — and Father Phil during the inquirer’s class talks about how strong we all are […]

  64. […] will be launching a new series this week as a spin-off from Natalie Franke’s #communityovercompetition and my Day in the Life post earlier this month. Twice a month, […]

  65. […] each other, love on each other, and build each other up in the most inspiring environment ever. Community over competition is the very heart of Creative at Heart and I just love that about […]

  66. I love this post! It’s been on my to-read-list for a few days and I finally got to it. And it’s glorious, thank you for writing it Natalie!

    I started about doing newborn photos last summer, and the only newborn photos I was bombarded with were the “baby in basket” styled images, so that’s what I started doing. I wondered why I didn’t quite feel as excited about these images as I usually do with my model work, and realized my model work is more organic and concentrates on the connection between me and the model. So I started making photographs of newborns together with their parents and siblings, which captures their connections and I feel so much more joy! And have stopped comparing myself to the newborn/family photographers as a result. In my more documentary style of work there just is no “perfect” 🙂

    J

  67. […] and inspire the hearts of like-minded creatives… with Community at the very heart of it. Community OVER Competition. And there I was comparing myself to all the other speakers (women that I adore, look up to, and […]

  68. […] for the coffee the car behind your ordered to make people smile. In the photography world, “Community over competition“, where photographers choose to cheer on one another instead of competing. Like these other […]

  69. […] other photographers, designers, small business owners instead of competitors. It was an amazing blog and I LOVED her heart behind […]

  70. […] good and to be the change that we so desperately wish to see in this industry. When I shared my Overcoming Comparison post a few weeks ago, I was overwhelmed by the response I received from other small business owners […]

  71. […] few months ago, Natalie had the courage to share her feelings about overcoming comparison. Since then, a blog post has sparked a hashtag and an entire movement centered around lifting one […]

  72. […] is a place to celebrate community over competition! A time to get together, face to face with other creatives and just TALK. Just be in each […]

  73. […] to write this post for a while now on community over competition. The beautiful and talented Natalie Franke made a tidal wave when she dropped these three simple words— Community. Over. Competition. I think […]

  74. Kelley says:

    My goodness, this post could not have spoken to me more! I recently battled my “monster” and found that unfollowing specific Instagram accounts helped tremendously – giving me the time and space I needed to “rejuvenate + heal.” I had to remind myself that I could always refollow them later if I wanted to! THANK YOU for sharing!

  75. […] A couple months ago, Natalie Frank posted a blog post that photographers, designers, planners, and other business creatives around the world stood up an applauded her for.  This post was all about overcoming the struggle of comparing yourself to other creatives around you. […]

  76. […] the competition and that my friends, changes everything. Read more about Community over Competition HERE. Here are a few photos from the […]

  77. […] to find the source of these words and discovered Natalie’s recently written blog post about overcoming comparison and her earlier post about the loneliness of entrepreneurship. Her words resonated deeply within […]

  78. […] on Instagram. Along the way, I’ve stumbled so many times with frustrations, doubts, and that giant comparison monster. Sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle and if you’re struggling to get your feet off […]

  79. […] wrote a blog awhile back that really struck a cord with so many creatives. You can read her blog HERE. Because of the outpouring of interest she received following her blog post, she and her friend […]

  80. Loved this post so much. It is so hard when I look at all the instagram posts and adore the pretty, but also do feel inadequate many days because of it. I really appreciate you taking the time to write this and I plan on going right to your post on “Loneliness of Entrepreneurship” next.

  81. Ashley says:

    I love this post. It seriously speaks to my soul right now. Something to go right alongside the last point, is what I found works for me, quite like you said, if I find something positive in my said competition, or comment positive things and lift them up, I feel so much better about them, myself and how I’m feeling. The Comparison Monster slips away as I treat others in life the way I would hope to be treated 🙂

  82. I love this, Natalie. I find it appropriate that it is Monday morning and I am reading your post while wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt. 🙂

  83. […] jealousy by rejoicing with others and their successes. . no matter how hard it may be. Read more HERE from Natalie Franke (an incredible, world-shaking photographer) about how to rise up as a COMMUNITY […]

  84. […] a movement of people who believe in Community over Competition. Back in March, Natalie wrote a blog post about how comparing ourselves to others can destroy us. She shared why we shouldn’t compare […]

  85. […] ∴ If you are an artist, you should read this: Community Over Competition – […]

  86. […] are a wonderful light in this industry and people who genuinely crave #communityovercompetition (as Natalie Franke has said): Katelyn James (and her husband Michael) in Virginia, Justin & Mary in Connecticut, and Amy […]

  87. […] I had every intension of finishing it, but I let it sit. About a month after I stared this post, Natalie Franke wrote one as well about Overcoming Comparison. I thought hers more eloquent and since she was more […]

  88. Emma Willich says:

    I love that you list steps to overcome comparing yourself to others. There’s no place for comparison when you’re trying to move forward. <3

  89. […] and Krista Jones launched the Rising Tide Society, and this happened shortly after Natalie’s blog post about overcoming comparison went live and started making waves on the world wide web. I know that what they imagined for this […]

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