Brand Strategy

How to Stop Comparing Your Brand to Other Creatives

When you’re a creative on social media, it can be really easy to compare your brand to other people’s, especially when there are so many other amazing, talented creatives out there! It’s exciting to see them succeed, but it can also be hard to see that sometimes if you feel like you’re not quite there yet. 

Comparing yourself to other creatives can stop you from putting your work out there and experiencing the joy of creating, which is the last thing you want! It’s not as simple as just ‘stopping’ making comparisons, but you can reframe your thinking about comparing your brand to others. 

You want to be excited about creating and excited about other people’s successes as well as your own, so in this article I’ve got some tips to give you on how to do just that.

The Self-Discrepancy Theory

There are 3 selves that we identify with:

  1. Our Actual Self - where we are right now
  2. Our Ideal Self - where we want to be
  3. Our Ought Self - where we think we ought to be

Aiming for an ideal self can be really motivating, but comparison and social media can give you an unrealistic expectation of what the ideal self should be and before you know it, it’s telling you what your ought self should be. The trouble is, that’s going to leave you constantly dissatisfied! 

The goal is to be really satisfied with your actual self. If you’re proud of your actual self then you can be motivated by having an inspiring ideal self to work towards. 

Reframing your approach to comparison

1. Own what makes you different

We’ve all heard the phrase: “No one is you and that is your power.” 

Yes, there are other people doing what you do but the thing is, they don’t do it like you do. You have a unique perspective, skillset, approach and experience that makes you super different and super amazing. 

I know that when I’m comparing myself to the 101 brand strategists out there, I have to remind myself that I approach it in a completely different way for completely different people. I’m working with creatives, I have a unique story and experiences, and I have different values that are going to appeal to different people. 

Try listing out the things that set you apart from other people: 

  • What are my zones of genius?
  • How does my personality make me different?
  • What is it about my story and experience that is different? 

If you understand who you are and what makes you different, then you don’t have to compare yourself to anybody else - you are different and that’s a good thing. 

“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.” - Shannon L. Alder

This quote sums up what this is all about. Own your personality and be proud of the things that make you different. 

2. Focus on your vision

“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose.” - Bob Goff

When you have a vision to work towards, it means that anything else happening on the sidelines is irrelevant because you’re focused on working towards your vision and living out your purpose

If I start to compare myself to others, I remind myself that my vision is to make the world a more creative place, one brand at a time. Whether we’re working towards the same vision or different visions, there’s room for all of us. I don’t need to compare myself to anybody else, I just need to focus on my vision and keep moving towards that. 

3. Remember the realities

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” - Tim Hiller

When you make a comparison, think about the person or brand that you’re comparing yourself to: 

  • Are they 3 years ahead of you, where you’re only just starting your business now?
  • Do they have a team to support them?
  • Did they get help to get the opportunities that they have? 
  • Were they able to invest a lot of money in the business from the get-go whereas you’re starting from scratch? 

It’s easy for your emotions to take over when you’re scrolling social media and comparing yourself with others, but it’s helpful to think about the realities. The reality is, a lot of the time you don’t know what’s going on or how someone got to where they’ve gotten. You only know your own story

There’s another great quote that says: “Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.” 

The person that you’re comparing yourself to might be the sun - it’s their turn to shine right now, and the next time it’ll be yours. Don’t compare yourself to other people in different situations, just think about where you are at. 

4. Know Instagram is a highlight reel

When you’re comparing your brand to someone else’s, you’re only seeing the best bits of someone’s life, business and creativity - you’re comparing your behind-the-scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.

It’s rare that people share their failures online, so don’t worry about comparing yourself to other people’s highlights just because it’s all they’re showing you. 

5. Practice gratitude

Be intentional about writing down the things that you’re grateful for, whether it’s the things that you already have, the things you’ve achieved, the things you’ve made or the things you’ve sold. 

If you’re grateful for where you’re at, then you’re owning that actual self that we talked about earlier. 

I’m a future-focused person, but sometimes it means that while I’m thinking about how amazing the future is going to be, I forget how awesome things are right now. 

If you aren’t focused on where you’re at right now and how awesome that is, it’s going to be easier to compare yourself to where other people are at. 

6. Turn comparison into celebration

I am a big believer in community over competition and I love being creatives’ biggest cheerleader - it’s one of my values as a brand

If I see that someone had an amazing launch, then instead of thinking, “I wish I could do that” or “I can’t believe they did that and I haven’t”... I think, “What a great testament to our industry that people can do this!”

Reframe your thinking about other people’s successes so it becomes a reminder that if someone else can do that, then I can do it too. They’re proof that it’s possible. 

Another person’s success doesn’t mean the absence of your own. Instead of comparing yourself, try and celebrate that person and celebrate what their success means for your industry. 

Plus - it’s hard to compare yourself to other people when you’re just so happy for them! 

7. Compare yourself to yourself

Instead of comparing yourself to where anyone else is at, compare yourself with where you are at and where you’ve been. 

Think about yourself from a month or a year ago - what progress have I made since then and what can I be proud of myself for? 

Compare yourself to only yourself and nobody else. That’s what’s going to encourage and motivate you to improve and move towards that ideal self that you’re aiming for. 


I’ll leave you with one more quote from Zen Shin: 

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”

I want you to bloom and shine and grow, with all these beautiful flowers around you doing the same thing! I can’t wait to see you owning your magical self without comparing yourself to anyone else.

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Hollie stands resting her hands on the white desk behind her, wearing a black t-shirt tucked into orange pants and clear glasses, and smiling into the camera.

by hollie arnett

The brand coach for creatives, hand-lettering artist for herself, and cup of tea lover forever.

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