Bringing Up Business: 7 Ways to Trade Jealousy for Joy | Kansas City Wedding Photographer Merry Ohler
Many of us experience occasional periods of self-doubt, or worry. The entrepreneurial life can be a lonely one, and my experience has taught me that competition and comparison serve only to isolate us even further. Rather than focusing on what those in our circles are doing and comparing our work to theirs, we are best served when we keep our focus in our own lane and concentrate on leaning in to our calling. With that being said, there are times when it is difficult to navigate the murky waters of peer community and professional support. The siren song of social media is strong and sultry, and all of us succumb to comparison now and then. However, if we want to grow in our craft and business, we must be intentional about our actions, habits and attitudes. If you find yourself stalled, take stock of where you are and how you found your way there, then follow these seven steps to kick your jealousy to the curb and find your way back to growth and joy.
1. Unfollow anyone who doesn't inspire you.
A couple of years ago, I found myself frustrated with my perceived lack of growth and angry that I couldn't seem to surpass my peers. Upon careful self-examination, I discovered that I was comparing my work with peers in my field. With each new post that caught my eye, I would think, that is just stunning. Now why didn't I think of that? Or, look at that angle. I wish I'd done that during my last session! I was cultivating jealousy and envy in my heart, without even realizing I was doing so!
Maybe you can relate.
Where do you spend most of your scroll time? Instagram? Facebook? Snapchat? More importantly, is that scroll time breathing life into you? Or is it sucking creativity and joy from your spirit? Do the images and posts that pop into your feed leave you feeling positive and encouraged? Do you find yourself smiling as you peruse your feed? Or do you find yourself feeding into envy and comparison?
No one else knows your answer, Love. Be honest. Are you truly inspired by every person or brand you currently follow? When Suzy Scarfmaker's most recent crochet creation crosses your feed, do you find yourself comparing your most recent scarf to hers? Or do you find yourself genuinely excited for her? If you discover that you are entertaining thoughts of comparison or competition, it is time to make some changes.
Go through your list and UNFOLLOW those individuals or brands! If you find yourself feeling anything other than inspired when you see someone's posts pop into your feed, unfollow them immediately! Stop subjecting yourself to this inner struggle and move on.
Hear me on this: You can support someone and wish them success without subscribing to every single thing they have to say on social media.
Repeat after me: I can support someone and wish them success without being invested in every single thing they have to say on social media.
When we are able to recognize that we are prone to comparison and choose to be intentional about what we allow ourselves to dwell on, we are signaling that we are ready for growth, both personally and professionally.
2. Fill your cup.
As a Kansas City wedding photographer, entrepreneur educator, business coach, wife, mama and writer amid a whole host of other things, I quickly learned the importance of creating space to rest. As creatives, it is vital that we lean into the things that feed our soul. Otherwise, we find ourselves discouraged, tired, angry and fast approaching "burn out." Do you know what fills your cup - what rejuvenates you? Maybe for you that means reading a novel or soaking in silence as you create something with your hands. Each of us are different, but we all share the need to take care of ourselves so that we can continue to walk in our calling with energy and inspiration.
3. Invest in yourself.
Physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. If we aren't willing to invest time and effort into ourselves, why would anyone else do the same? We can't expect to grow our business without focusing on personal growth, too.
Take care of your body. Go to the doctor for annual checkups. Drink enough water. Eat good, wholesome, nourishing food. Move around. Dance with your kiddos, take a walk or go for a jog. It doesn't matter what it is, but do something.
Take stock of your emotional and mental health. Are you experiencing mood swings or depression? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Talk to a counselor or trusted friend. Ask for help.
Take care of your soul. Be thankful for what you have. Study the Bible. Read the Word and ask yourself what God is saying to you about Himself, about mankind, about how we should live. Journal what He is saying to you, personally. Decide how you are going to apply that to your own life, then make an action plan of next steps. Pray. Ask Him for guidance and listen for His response.
Save money. Set short and long term goals, then achieve them. Put money into an account for retirement. Buy well made clothes that fit you - that are flattering and comfortable. Wear good shoes that support your feet. Get a manicure or pedicure once in a while. Invest in a course to teach you how to use the business tools you need to manage your business. Invest in help when you need it. Hire someone to help you with housekeeping, use a laundry service, lawn care, nanny, babysitter, tax professional or accountant.
4. Stop living by someone else's definition of success.
Listen up, Love. A college degree, title or number of followers on Facebook is not the definition of your success. The only person who defines your measure of success is you. So, how do you define it? As a wedding expert, portrait and wedding photographer in Kansas City, I've learned that my definition of success is: the ability to pour into others as I do something I love for work while keeping my faith and family top priority and contributing to our family financially.
I love that I get to decide how successful my business becomes. I alone choose how much effort and work I put into it, and while the responsibility is real, it is also so motivating! If I choose to slack off and skip blogging or scheduling my social posts, I know that I am the only person responsible for the lag in business. If I want to grow and reach more people, I can do that by putting in the hours and effort and getting my name out there.
I am a success because I choose what success means to me. Are you?
5. Verbalize your goals.
Language is everything. If we want to change the way we live and work, we need to change the way we think and talk about it. For example, when thinking about our career, we must change the actual way we are thinking about our goals. Rather than thinking, "I will try to become the best in my field in this area," we should instead think, "I will put in the work required to become the authority on my field in this region." Speaking our goals aloud in this manner is also a huge help and will make a dent in our mindset.
6. Accept that you can't please everyone.
Everyone wants to be loved and liked, but we will never be able to please every person we meet. Rather than focusing on why certain individuals may not be our biggest fans, we must instead focus on refining and defining our voice = so those who are our people can hear us clearly and concisely. We all have a bad day now and then, but if we shift our attention and efforts from "why not," to "how can I serve my tribe better," we will begin to connect with our ideal customers on a deeper level.
7. Schedule a social media fast.
If you don't do this already, start right now! Choose one day this week to disconnect from your various channels and refocus your attention on your loved ones. Turn off your applications and silence any notifications the night before your fast, and make sure to tell someone you are fasting from social media for the sake of accountability. Use your free time to do something that soothes you. Read a book. Take a nap. Have a conversation with your spouse, mom, friend, fill-in-your-blank. Enjoy the day from start to finish, and do not turn your notifications and apps back on until the following morning. Who knows - after one day you might be ready to try a whole weekend without!
Few things keep us from reaching our full potential and thriving like jealousy. Rather than settling for the green-eyed monster, follow these 7 Ways to Trade Jealousy for Joy and you'll soon find yourself walking in your calling with purpose, passion and joy, of course.