I recently watched a documentary on Audrey Hepburn – one of the most iconic actresses and Unicef ambassadors in history. However, one of her comments really struck me. Despite being considered one of the most beautiful and talented women of the 20th century and being envied for her slender figure and timeless style, when asked if there was anything she would change about herself, she wished that she had smaller feet because her friends all wore pretty shoes. This comment made me think about how often we all compare ourselves in life, and especially in business.
How many times have you looked at another’s portfolio and felt jealous of their recent work? How often have you seen another photographer’s images and felt insecure about your own style and technique? I’m sure we all have. So here are a few ways of dealing with that infamous green eyed monster.
The first way of dealing with comparison is to be honest with yourself. Does your comparison stem from the way you feel about your skill level? Or perhaps your brand’s appearance? Normally, our insecurities are caused by the way we feel about ourselves, rather than who we are comparing ourselves to. So figure out what it is that’s making you feel defeated rather than motivated and then work out a way to change it.
FOCUS ON YOURSELF
Use competition to motivate yourself. If you are envious of someone else’s great reviews then work on your customer service more wholeheartedly. Feel insecure about your skills? Take a course to refine your techniques and make your work even better. Or maybe your competition is receiving more enquiries that you. Why not work on your marketing a bit harder. The more you focus on yourself the easier it is to feel motivated and view your competition objectively.
THERE’S ROOM FOR EVERYONE
You need to realise there is room for whatever you have to offer. Perhaps you are offering a bespoke package to high-end clientèle, whereas someone else is more budget-friendly. Or maybe your a newborn photographer specialising in classic, vintage-style images. I would be loving your portfolio however someone else might want something more contemporary. You’re never going to please everyone, but neither will your competition. Your goal is to appeal to your ideal customer so that they choose you over every other option.
DON’T THINK OF THEM AS FOES
Just because someone is in the same industry as yourself doesn’t mean they have to be an enemy. There have been many amazing collaborations between people within the same industry. So reach out to them! You could drop them a line saying how much you like their style or admire the use of lighting for example. If you’re feeling brave you could even ask them out for a coffee to discuss the industry. Some people will say no, others might ignore you, but you might find you make someone’s day. You have nothing to lose.
Next time you find yourself comparing your business (your life or even your feet) to someone else, remember that they will have insecurities of their own. Focus on your own strengths and use those jealous feelings to work on the areas you need to improve on.
How do you deal with comparison?