life lessons / comparison

We’ve all heard the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy,” but oh boy – it couldn’t be more spot on. The job I chose to take on is SO visual + present within the online world, that it’s hard not to get a little jealous of what exciting things others in your “niche” may be doing. It’s that feeling of missing out or wanting to do more and more. But guess what? You are yourself and they are themselves. Although our paths may cross from time to time, we were made to forge our own. Comparison will only slow you down.

Now, I’ve been all over the board here. Sometimes I wake up and feel the need to offer business consultations. Other days I wonder what it would be like to step it up a notch and make a living off of blogging. But here’s the thing … while I dabble in some of the above things and more, I’m not a business coach, nor am I a full-time blogger. I am a designer. And when I allow comparison to seep in, I tend to get distracted from what I truly love to do. It’s a life lesson that I’m sure I will need to remind myself of again and again in the future. But we’re only human, right?

When it comes down to it, I’ve had one consistent goal throughout my freelance years : to open up a small studio that works with top notch lifestyle brands. And while I consider myself halfway there within my personal studio, I know I have something big to work towards. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. The reason, though, that I’m sharing this with you all today is to hold myself accountable and put everything on the table. On those days that I feel Mr. Comparison creeping in, this is exactly what I need to remember. I am doing what I was meant to do. It’s as simple as that.

  1. Allison says:

    yes, yes; a resounding yes! seeing your own life through the scope of social media (especially side by side with others) can be frustrating and fun-sucking… the opposite of its purpose. very cool about your studio idea, too. look forward to seeing you come closer and closer to that dream!

    • breanna says:

      Yup, the side by side thing is a biggie! People may be taking SIMILAR paths, but that doesn’t mean we all have to do the same thing. :)

  2. Jess says:

    Preach it. I’m in that awkward, “I work full time but I have this other dream that’s taking over” phase. It’s so easy for me to look at people who are doing what I want to be doing and they seem so many steps ahead of me that it can start to feel like there’s no reason for me to start sometimes. But when I stop comparing myself and start listing out the things that make what I offer unique (without bringing anyone else in to the picture), that’s where I find the courage to try to put myself out there and keep pushing forward, regardless of anyone else I could be comparing myself to.

  3. Ffion says:

    So very true. It’s so easy to get caught up in the carefully curated online lives of professional bloggers and fall into a deep hole of self-doubt and feeling small. I find it good to get my own work done before going through my favourite blogs, at least then I’ve been doing “my” work before I get moochy :)

    • breanna says:

      That’s a great idea! I tend to check out blogs in the morning … eek. Maybe that should become an afternoon thing!

  4. Quyen says:

    Thank you so much for this post. As a blogger, I am online a lot too. As much as it is important to stay relevant and keep with the trends, it is hard to not compare where I am at with my blog and business with others. I have had to remind myself multiple times that I can only do things in my own way and pace. I feel that as long as I am doing what I love, I will get there…
    http://liveitinerantly.com

  5. Emma says:

    I’m a young mom struggling with being young and being older and more grown up, while working among older women who are more established and trying to become a graphic designer. Comparison has left me feeling anxious, stressed and depressed so many times and I am always struggling with not feeling good enough at many things in my life. I love seeing posts like this because it reminds me that we all struggle with it, and I’m not the only one who feels like I could be better. I think the key is to turn this competition into motivation to be better for just yourself, and not everyone else!

    • breanna says:

      For sure. None of us are alone in this boat … everyone experiences it in some form. That’s a good thing to remember, too!!

  6. Erin says:

    Thank you so much, Breanna. I really really needed this lately! I’ve been dealing with Mr. Comparison for a while, and it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by everything you see online, even other classmates getting gigs that you feel like you’re missing out on. You are a definite inspiration, though! Thanks for the post!

  7. Megan says:

    Oh my gosh Breanna, this post is exactly what I needed. And hearing that even you struggle with “Mr. Comparison” honestly says a lot to me! I, and I’m sure a lot of us other designers out here, tend to compare myself to you. Your work is just so great, and you’re so inspiring it’s hard not to! Hearing you do the same really brings me back to the ground, and reminds me to focus on myself and not others. Thank you so so so much for this post!

  8. Andra says:

    I LOVE what you have to say here! I think everyone (especially designers and online businesses alike) needs to hear it. Being in my first year of business, I can feel like a baby business, in comparison to businesses that have been around for say 5…10…or even more years! It’s easy to forget that they started year one at some point too :) That’s why comparison is so silly.
    Thanks again for sharing lady!

  9. I think it’s especially hard when it comes to artistic pursuits. We want to be happy for fellow creatives but it also makes us worry that maybe we aren’t working hard enough to make our own work stand out how we want. Are we unique enough? Is our work strong enough? Does my work have longevity, etc, etc. I believe in destiny. I believe if you put something out into the world and work hard for it, it will come to you.

  10. Abbie says:

    Cheers to that! Mr. Comparison may be the death of me one day! Eek! Have you heard of the Imposter Syndrome? If not, wikipedia it. My name is all over that. Haha! Apparently a high percentage of woman are in the same boat. At least I know I’m not alone.

  11. Loretta says:

    Breanna,
    I wrote this same post for myself a year ago. I had just moved to a new city, I found your blog actually and some others like “inspired o share” and “A Beautiful mess” and “blogshop” and I was just so envious of their websites and ther portfolio pieces and how they were DOING IT while I was stuck in a unchallenging job with little opportunity to grow, while my real dream was at home sitting in a sketch book on my desk. I have always been the youngest by usually 5-10 years in every place I am, which had left me feeling both isolated and unable to relate to my co workers as well as inadequate because my portfolio is no where near their caliber. And then I realized… I’m not there yet because I’m not there yet. I have 3 years experience and they have 9. It helped me see straight and re-focus. It’s now become one of my many design mantras. If it makes you feel any better I really admire your work and wish I was as far along as you in having my own studio. Right now it’s still just on paper. Someday…

  12. Melissa says:

    I’ve been going through the same thing lately. Comparing myself and my goals to others. I’m starting to really sit down and just hone in on what I’m best at and what my skills can provide to others. It takes time, but finding your own career and talent niche is worth the wait sometimes.

  13. Lucy says:

    This is so great! And you are truly brilliant at what you do.

    My last post was so, so similar to this… (it is a bit scary sharing something so personal!) The more I read it, the more I am convinced and enabled to get on with what I’M meant to be doing, not trying to be somebody else’s perfect. So, thank you for this encouragement and be encouraged yourself that you are fabulous!

    Lucy xo | We Resolve Blog

  14. Helena says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! This is so spot on. I love that last sentence ‘ I am doing what I was meant to do’. I truly believe that each and every one of us was made as a unique person with different skills and dreams. And while some of them may be the same, no one has the exact same combination of passion and talents.
    It’s weird, we actually know so well that there is absolutely NO point in comparison, yet we go back to comparing ourselves from time to time. Sometimes it’s good to remember and hear what you’ve pointed out so well. Thanks for that!

  15. Kelly Brito says:

    Oh, thank you so much for reminding me of what is important. I, like everyone else, sometimes lose sight of that one thing that was my main goal and immerse myself in a sea of possibilities of what I could do, what I should do… Although all the things I want to do are great, I must keep focus and prioritize that which is truly important to me.
    Thanks again, lady! :)

  16. So beautifully written and well put, Breanna. I think these are the very feelings and thoughts that most bloggers / designers / artists are haunted by. It’s important to not get sucked in — to remember that we are all different, our work is different and that is what makes us unique. We need to have a goal in mind and stick to it — with out being worried about what others are doing.

    Thanks for the reminder. I needed to hear this!

  17. Shayla says:

    I know I’m late reading this but I still had to comment. Like most creatives I struggled (and still struggle) with this but over the past year I have really begun to settle into my creative space and enjoy doing what I am meant to do; not anyone else. :)

  18. Casey says:

    Oh man, I feel ya on this one! I just wrote a very similar post on my own blog. When all you want to do is perfect and grow your business, it’s SO HARD not to compare yourself to those that appear to be doing it. Great advice to stay focused on your individual business goals. :)

  19. […] the midst of them all. Apparently I’m not alone, and neither are you, so listen to Jenny and Breanna, and let’s all […]

  20. Rachel says:

    I think we all struggle with this! There’s nothing wrong with using it to help push us to be more than ordinary and step out of our comfort zones but there’s a fine line you have to draw. Thanks for posting this!

    Rachel
    http://pinkflamingostyle.blogspot.com

  21. […] bemoaning the pitfalls of comparison. That it is a toxic pastime is now an accepted truism. (See here, here and here.) We’ve all heard Theodore Roosevelt’s well-known quote, “Comparison is the […]

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