Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from photographer, writer, blogger and all-around artistpreneur Becka Robinson. Becka has a passion for inspiring other creative business owners, so she began her personal blog to candidly share the struggles, lessons and triumphs of creative small-business ownership. In this post, Becka offers valuable tips on avoiding the comparison trap and maintaining a confident outlook on all that you do in business and beyond. Thanks, Becka, for this positive and encouraging advice! — Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump . . .
I’ve never been one of the cool kids. And this fact, to this day, is why I do a lot of the ridiculous things I do. I’m pretty easy to get along with, so I’ve always been a friend of some cool kids, but never really one of them. I’m just on the outside, not really invited to the party but sometimes I get to go by proxy. Do you know the feeling?
For the last year I’ve been intentional about trying to distance myself from that feeling. It’s hard, I’ll be honest, because the internet makes comparisons so stinkin’ easy. Just a click here, a URL there and boom! I can easily find 10 websites that make me feel like I suck, like I’ll always be picked last for kickball. (And I’m actually surprisingly good at kickball. No lie.)
I thought that maybe I’m not the only one dealing with this, so I figured I’d share some tips that I’ve used over the last year to help remove myself from the comparison trap and set myself up for success. Because let’s be honest: If I have no idea what the cool kids are doing, I won’t feel left out.
Step 1. Clean out your RSS and pare it down to the best of the best.
First and foremost, I pared down the places I visited online. There’s no need for me to see what every single one of my peers did this week because, inevitably, I will compare it to what I did, what I accomplished, where I shot, where I was featured, whom I got to collaborate with, etc.
Step 2. Hide the people you don’t actually know from your Facebook feed. You’re wasting time and brainpower trying to keep up with them all.
Second, I hid a BUNCH of people from my Facebook feed. And by a bunch, I mean hundreds. I did not un-friend them; let’s just clarify that from the start. But I now only keep people in my feed whom I actually know in real life and/or work with. It takes me about 5 minutes to catch up on their lives when I open Facebook (instead of the hour or so it took me to read about every single contact I had). And when I’m curious about a particular person, I just look her/him up.
Step 3. Take Twitter with a grain of salt. Everyone wants to appear happy and successful, so they will usually only share the best. Remind yourself that they have bad days/months/seasons, too.
I’ll be honest, I wish there was a way to apply Step 2 to Twitter because Twitter is even more dangerous. Some days it is just one big brag fest and a constant name drop. And everyone’s positivity when I’m having a bad day can be depressing. But Twitter is a necessary and wonderfully addictive evil in my life (kind of like ice cream), and I love that I can communicate with so many people. So I work Twitter to my advantage and filter what I read through the knowledge that everyone is trying to promote themselves in a positive way, just like I am.
Step 4. Find whatever inspires you and start spending more of your time there.
To allow myself a positive form of internet distraction, I started branching out from my own creative genre. I’m a photographer, so to move beyond my niche, I added a bunch of personal, design, fashion and inspiration blogs to my reader. Only about 10% of the sites I follow currently are inside my own industry (just enough to keep me in the loop). I now love my time reading them and come away inspired instead of frustrated.
Step 5. Stop trying to be like your idols, and stop trying to copy the trends. Do what you love whether it’s in style or not, and do a kick-ass job of it.
What fills me with joy? What do I want to do with my time? What do I do really well? What do I think is total rubbish? I’ve been doing more of the first three and cutting out that last one. At the end of the day, I’m never going to truly leave an impact on this world by following the people I think are cooler than myself. I’ve got to keep doing my own thing. Dance to the beat of my own drummer.