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You know, it’s inevitable that every once in a while you’re going to be blindsided by comparison. Even if you’re practiced at avoiding it, it can still creep in. Some time in your journey you’re going to stumble across someone who is doing something similar to what you’re doing or worse, what you want to be doing. When this happens there is a flood of emotion that starts with anger and wraps up somewhere in the realm of fear. And our first reaction as humans, is to run. To give up. To look at the closeness of these similar ideas and think about how we’re not enough and how we never will be.

I want to pop this pity party bubble for you. Because I’ve been to that party today even, so you know I know what I’m talking about. I’m 100% qualified to talk about the comparison pity party. That party is LAME-SAUCE! They only serve old Cheetos and flat Bud Light. No bueno.

So here’s the deal:

First, seeing someone doing something similar to what you do is not confirmation that you should stop. It’s confirmation that you’re on to something. It’s proof of concept. It means that there are other people out there who want what you are making. What awesome news, right? Keep going.

Second, the immediate reaction to this situation is anger and fear because we think they’re taking something away from us. Like there’s not enough people in the world to like us both. This is a scarcity mindset and it will cause your ideas to fail. Usually because it will make you quit. My friend Dave likes to say, ”If I take a big breath right now, does that mean you have any less air to breathe?”

Dealing-With-Comparision-For-Creatives

Third, if you want to be doing something, start. I’m writing that for myself to read later. If you’re a photographer and you want to be photographing weddings in amazing locations, start. If you want to be coaching and teaching people what you’ve learned, start. If you want to be able to work from anywhere, start. Start building the life you want because you really can design it. It’s not something that’s reserved for the people you look up to as if they’re on another level or have a “very particular set of skills” that you can’t learn. You have what you need to start.

So don’t look at other people and think “Man, I wish I was doing that.” If that thought pops into your head today, get out a pen and paper and write down 100 ways to make “that” happen. Because there’s only one thing on the list of things that are stopping “that” thing from becoming a reality: You.

Comparison happens in your head —> feeds our tendency towards safety —> which feeds our belief in scarcity —> which makes us retreat and protect.

This mindset will stop you from doing your best work. The work you are meant to do. It will keep you where you are. Don’t let it.

 

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Enjoy Your Place In The Story“If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.” -Donald Miller, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years

 

This journey is an epic. There’s no clear path. There are dragons, and monsters, and mountains, and valleys. The way will never be straight or easy or have an end. There will be good and bad and stuff that makes sense and stuff that doesn’t. But that’s what you get when you wake up and there’s breath in your lungs: An epic.

 So breathe it in today, Enjoy your place in the story and create within.

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Feed-Your-SoulMy biggest strength and biggest weakness is vision casting. I can paint a big, grand, beautiful picture of what something could become. And there are times it gets so big in my head before I’ve started that I end up getting burnt out a quarter of the way through.

Here’s the hang up, consistently: Money.

Making money with your ideas is great. Wonderful. Amazing! It’s what we do as creative entrepreneurs: We make stuff for a living. The problem, for me, comes when I make every idea about making money. How can I monetize it? And I gotta tell ya, sometimes, you shouldn’t. Not because it wouldn’t work, but more so because maybe this thing is feeding your soul and not your wallet. Maybe it fills your emotional bank account. I’m not saying that things that do that can’t also feed your real bank account (they 100% can), but I know that when money enters the equation, something changes.

Beware of making every idea about making money. Sometimes making stuff is just about making stuff. And that has value. Massive value. Don’t lose sight of that fact as you continue on this journey. Be mindful of the things that feed your soul.

Chris

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J.R.R Tolkien Quotes, You“What do you fear, lady?” [Aragorn] asked.
“A cage,” [Éowyn] said. “To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

We build our own cages that keep us from the life we long for. The ironic thing is, the life we long for is happening right now–And if we don’t take notice of the cage we’re building, stoping us from experiencing it, we’ll get lost in the building of our cage and accept it as our reality.

Look up from the cage today. Because you’re free.

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The-Only-Safe-PlanI read an article in Outside magazine last year about big wave surfer Garrett McNamara and his quest to surf some of the biggest waves in the world that break off the coast of Portugal. The story is amazing and I’m not even going to try to recap because the whole thing is worth a read. But one of the things he said in the article that really stuck with me, comes after a paragraph about the epic crashes McNamara has had and what a huge risk it is to surf big waves.

He said, “It’s calculated… It’s a calculated crazy. The only safe plan is don’t go.”

I could ramble on and on about taking risks with your work and tell you to be a little bit crazy. But I’m not gonna. I’m going to tell you to be crazier than you think is safe. Brush up against the edge of stupid now and again. And do it in a calculated way. Meaning that there’s a reason, a why, behind the crazy. Making something worthwhile is not safe.

What is your big wave? What are you willing to wade out into the cold, choppy waters for? No one will think it’s safe. Lots of people will think you’re crazy. And they’d be right. There is no safe plan for creating work that can change the world. The only safe plan is to not show up.

 

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