THE COMPARISON TRAP
When working out the subject for today's blog I'd started with a couple of different fluff articles. A motivational post on how you need to be "hungry" in voiceover. Then I tried to write about decluttering your workspace and house to add a little refresher to your life. Both posts kind of floundered as I tried writing them. The words just weren't there and I was close to just not posting one this Wednesday. But I should have known why the words weren't there, it's because it's not really what was on my mind. What's on my mind is the Comparison Trap.
I've always set out to be open and honest with this blog. To try my best not just to write simple, throw-away posts just for the sake of it, but rather to dig deep and talk honestly about what's on my mind or what I'm going through. Once I was open with myself I could see clearly that I needed to talk about the comparison problem, this mental trap we can get ourselves caught up in. A trap I find myself in right now.
I'm sure we've all been there. You've been putting in months and years of work. You're grinding away and seeing some progress and feeling good. Then you go to a social function or attend a workshop and everyone starts talking about their own journey and you hear something like this, "Oh yeah. I just kind of fell into this for fun last year and now I'm repped by three agencies, have booked two national spots, and am looking to just hone in my skills."
Oof, talk about a punch to the gut. A swift kick to the years you've been putting in and long hours and sleepless nights you've crammed in.
Here's the thing. I'm never mad at the other person or think "why them and not me?" I will always celebrate and cheer another voice actor for achieving their goals and dreams. It's an incredibly hard profession and we don't need others trying to drag us down on top of everything else. No, instead my critical eye turns back on myself. "What am I doing wrong? Is there something I'm missing that hasn't put me in the same positions to succeed as them? Do I just not have what it takes?"
The spiral downward into the Comparison Trap begins.
We're all creative people whose job it is to tap into the emotion of ourselves in order to connect with the listener. With that capability comes the other side of being very open to our emotions. That's why the Comparison Trap can be so easy to slip into. Those emotions come on fast! Even when intellectually I know that my circumstances compared to theirs are vastly different, I can't help but feel that wave crash over me.
If you also suffer from the Comparison Trap, I have something for you. It's probably not going to be what a lot of other people tell you to do. Are you ready?
Here we go.
Feel the feelings. It's OK.
You're human. Not a machine. It's OK to have emotions. Really! I know some people may tell you to stuff it or ignore them but honestly, that's not going to get you anywhere. Instead, go ahead and feel what you're feeling but then work to understand why you're feeling that way. Is it because you haven't been putting as much time in as you think you have? What did they do that you can add to your routine? How can you put yourself in the position they were in so that you too can succeed?
You see, the Comparison Trap is only a trap if you don't have an escape plan ready to go. And that escape plan is through Positive Comparison. It has been said that everyone's path is their own. That's certainly true. But that doesn't mean you can't borrow a few ideas on paving stones for your own road, yeah?