So how’m I doing in my quest to re-invent my life, follow my evolving Blisses and create the life I really, really want?
Talk about creative abundance: on Monday I interviewed artist and shaman Laura Hollick, of Soul Art Studio, for the Thriving Artists Project, and added yet another shining star to my growing constellation of impressive role models.
In fact, Laura found me, rather than the other way around. She stumbled across the Thriving Artists Project website, saw that we are doing the same thing in our own unique ways, and reached out to say hello. We made a date, shared stories on Skype a few days later, and I knew I had to interview her for TAP!
(That interview did not disappoint – Laura’s story of going from poverty and “starving artist” thinking, to a job as a letter carrier, and ultimately to wild success as an artist and shaman, a 3,000 square foot studio, a worldwide following and a thriving income is gripping and inspiring. TAP members, watch for it soon!)
A Brief Review of the Comparison Trap
Often when I look at someone who’s steps ahead of me in creating their vision and developing their business, as Laura is, I find myself caught in the Comparison Trap. Envy, that familiar green face, rears its ugly head, and I inevitably feel badly about myself for not making as much money/being as prolific/having as large a following/being as successful/[insert envied thing here] as the person I admire.
Since my entree to the Blogosphere just over a year ago, I’ve intentionally sought out role models to help direct me, putting myself in a prime position to be caught in the Comparison Trap, consumed with envy and bad feelings. When I set about to create the Thriving Artists Project, my opportunities for getting trapped increased even more, as I regularly found new thriving artists to interview.
Don’t get me wrong – doing the interviews has been an extremely effective way to get to know more about other thrivers, learn their secrets and new tricks to apply to my own business and life. It’s been a huge boon, and given me exactly what I’d hoped it would: inspiration and real-life role models.
But sometimes I’ve still found myself dragged down by the Comparison Trap.
“I should be doing things like [Blogger X].”
“No, wait, I want to be like [Artist Y]. That’s how I should do things.”
“Damn, I wish I were as successful as [Life Coach Z]. I need to be more like her.”
“Ooh.. I love how [Slasher Q] combines her blogging, art and coaching! She’s the one I want to emulate!”
Of course I emulate aspects of each of them – that’s why they’re role models – but much as I might envy a given person’s success and want to copy it for myself, one thing I’ve always known is that, in fact, I’m not copying someone else’s model, nor do I want to.
I am creating my own, unique model, and the more I can vibrate at my own energy and create a model that’s uniquely mine, the more I will attract the people who resonate with me.
Building My Constellation
So yes, I do want to emulate my role models. I just don’t want to try to be a carbon copy of any of them.
What I really want is to emulate bits and pieces of each of them. And it felt to me like some kind of concrete… thingy… might help with that.
So here’s what I did:
Tuesday morning, while writing in my journal, I decided to put all of my heroes into a sort of mind map, in order to see all of them in one place. In woo-woo terminology, every one of the people I admire is vibrating at a different energy. A unique color, let’s say. When I look at them one at a time, I automatically start vibrating to match that particular color. (In non-woo-woo terminology, I start thinking I need to do things their way, try to be more like them.)
But that color isn’t actually my color vibration, it’s theirs. And when I vibrate too intensely at that color (which happens a lot if I’m operating out of envy!), it’s all too easy for me to forget that there are other colors that make up my personal spectrum too.
All of this may sound very abstract (and yes, woo-woo – gotta love it), but here’s what I did to make it concrete: I wrote in the center of the page:
“People who are doing their own version of what I’m doing, very successfully, a few steps ahead of me, and whose energy I want to match.” (Or, in non-woo-woo terminology, people whose business models I admire and want to emulate.)
I drew a box around that statement, and in the space surrounding that box I proceeded to write the name of every role model I could think of.
The very act of creating this mind map – my Constellation of Role Models – shifted something for me. (There’s a reason human beings have created rituals since before recorded history: they’re powerful, and they work. Not necessarily in a The Secret I-think-certain-thoughts-and-the-world-changes-for-me kind of way, but in a my-inner-world-changes-for-me kind of way.)
Suddenly, with all of my role models on a single sheet of paper, I could see the entire constellation in one place. If I imagined that each of them was vibrating at their own color, for the first time I was able to see the whole spectrum.
And seeing the spectrum laid out on the page (even though I didn’t actually color them in – it’s an imagination thing, see?) allowed me to hum at my own vibration, while drawing energy and inspiration from each of them, no one of them dominating my vision.
Instead of comparing myself negatively, from a place of envy, something about seeing 21 different names on the page allowed me to feel inspired. Inspired in a multitude of different ways from this diverse group.
Here’s another metaphor (for those who relate better to food than astral bodies)
(Because one can never have too many metaphors. Plus I’m hungry.)
“I’m creating my very own brew,” I wrote in my journal. And the individuals floating around the perimeter of my Role Model Constellation mind map are ingredients that contribute different flavorings to the soup.
I haven’t decided whether they’re vegetables that go into the stock, or spices that go into the soup.
But that’s neither here no there. The point is, I figured out a way to turn the Comparison Trap into a source of strength. And that’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself.
Who are your role models and heroes? Do they inspire you, make you envious, or both? If they make you envious, have you found a positive way to deal with that feeling?
If you enjoyed this post and would like to receive more right in your inbox, subscribe to my email updates.
Please share this post across the web so we can inspire even more creative thinking – and creative living. Feel free to Tweet it, Like it, Stumble it, or Forward it to anybody who might like to join in the conversation. Thanks!