The Gift of Comparison

Have you ever looked at another creative and thought,

They sound better than me
They look better than me
They have got it all together, and I’m a mess!

How does that feel in your body?

Pretty awful, right?

I can remember showing up to dance auditions and dreading if I was put in the same group to dance as certain dancers.  There they would be, with their long legs, perfect bodies, and glowing confidence, and I would panic, thinking the choreographer would never look at me.

Even though I didn’t want to be feeding the voice in my head telling me how I DIDN’T measure up, I would spiral, and as a result have crappy auditions and performances.

Comparison.

UGH!

Comparison is a real issue because it keeps your nervous system in a state of fight or flight.  With every thought of,
this person is better than me
this person has something better than me

your whole nervous system is in fear, because you are constantly monitoring for what is unfavorable.

This is no way to live, my dear one.
And certainly no way to create our best or perform our best.

And this was proven to me time and again.

But there was something magical that happened when I did perform my best.
There was something completely different happening when the choreographer would gleefully hire me.

There’s a way to turn this around, because we ALL feel it. You are not alone, and I want to give you some powerful tools so comparison doesn’t take you out any longer.

 

So, let’s start with the moment of comparison.

You’re looking at someone else and thinking,
they have it and I don’t

If we stopped here, the result would be toxic.  But, let’s allow the comparison to actually point us towards what you DO want.

What is it EXACTLY this other Creative possesses?

Is it confidence?
Is it ease in front of their audience?
Is it a powerful presence in their performance?
Is it words that jump off the page?

Take the comparison as an opportunity to understand what you CRAVE.  And here’s the juicy part…now CLAIM it for yourself.

Give yourself PERMISSION to claim this.

Allow yourself to tap into all that is powerful in you.

For myself as a dancer, I used to marvel at the EASE of these other dancers.  They would remember the combination effortlessly and be able to really PERFORM, bringing themselves to the dance.  They stood out because they were relaxed.

So this was what I worked on. This is what I claimed, and the results were completely different.

Your desires are actually pointing you towards your aliveness, towards your unique light.  Let them REMIND you what you CAN have and embody.

Instead of bringing you down, comparison is actually pointing you towards what needs permission to thrive.
You truly have all you need….it’s all there inside you.

 

Comparison can also be our way of being terrified.  As Creatives and Performers, we can be terrified of being seen, of being magnetic to our audience.

So, comparison can be used as an unconscious way to stay small.

Small in our Art
Small in our words
Small in our actions

Standing in that audition room, looking at another redheaded dancer who has Broadway credits, I would think,
If she really is that good of a dancer, if she really is that talented, then who am I to chase my dreams? Who am I to stand in my worthiness and claim this moment?

Have you ever felt this?

I certainly did…….

Because it can be terrifying to fully FEEL your power as a Creative; to fully feel you are limitless.

SLOW down and ask,
Where am I hiding?
Where am I terrified?
Where am I giving myself an excuse?

And all from a place of empathy.  There is actually no problem here.  There is so much shame that gets put around comparison and jealousy and self deprecation. Finger pointing never works, but inquiry and curiosity does.

I’m here today to lovingly tell you, there’s nothing wrong with you.  You are not broken.  You’ve just been scared.

AND, you have the power to flip it.

When comparison arises, you can say,
I’m comparing!

Then USE it, slow down, and turn the light around.  Shine it within to gain clarity around what you truly WANT and where you are hiding.

 

So, take a moment right now, and write down what you are going to CLAIM starting today.
Use this to bring you back to empowerment.

 

Step out of the shadows.  Your light is brilliant.

 

 

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Winning the Prize

Are you tired of doing your best, and you or your Art still not being chosen?

Sometimes, it can be so devastating.

You put your heart into your work, hours and hours of effort, believing this will be IT.

You watch someone else
win the prize
get the award
book the gig
sell the art

And sometimes you want to scream,
Why isn’t it ME?
When is MY turn?

As  Artists, we know intimately that it’s not always about talent.  In fact, we can all think of several celebrities who have raging success to our complete disgust and confusion.

It just feels UNFAIR.

So, what do we do in that moment?

 

This past week, I spoke in front of 700 people at my coach’s big annual event, called The Zone.

I was one of 7 of her clients that was chosen for a Speak Off competition, where I could win $10K, for the best 4 minute talk.

The audience was deciding who the winner was.

I was OVER the moon for this opportunity and had only a week to prepare.  I actually had a really solid two minute talk to draw from and dove in with all kinds of cool ideas.

I decided to create a unique experience, and really put all of me into the talk, including using some small dance moves. I thought,
No one else is going to bring the stage what I do!

Have you ever felt that with your work?

I was convinced I would win, and was so excited for the chance to show up not only for my community in this way, but for all the people that were in attendance.

I wanted to make a difference.
I wanted to move the audience.
I practiced like crazy.
I asked for tons of feedback.
I performed it for several people.

And I was deeply passionate about the topic.

Ironically, the talk was about releasing competition and the radical effect this had on my life as an Artist…..

Yes, I was in an actual competition talking about the fact that we really only thrive when we RELEASE competition.

Definitely a head trip.

So, the big day came, and the talk was a HUGE hit.  The crowd roared, and then when the voting was done at the end, my coach said,

It’s a TIE!

So, I had to stand up there with the other speaker and be voted on again.

The crowd roared for us both, but my coach had seen the applause meter, and squeezed me around the arms, saying,
Nikol….

For a  moment, I thought,
This is IT!

And then she said,
We love you.  It’s not you.

I felt like I was in the end of the musical A Chorus Line, and hugged the other speaker and then stood on the sidelines while I watched her jump with glee and sign the huge check for $10K.

I heard my coach saying,
There always has to be a winner

And I could feel years and years of “not being chosen” for shows and roles I wanted so desperately rising in me.

My stomach turned into knots, and I clapped, and then exited the stage.

I had done my best, and it didn’t win the prize.

Have you ever felt this?

 

When I came back to my seat in the audience, so many people started to come up to me, smiling with large eyes saying,

Thank you for your talk!
I’m an artist too…that meant so much
You made me cry
That was incredible
I wanted you to win
I love dance!

The response was consistent, and it went on for two days, people coming up to me at the event sharing how my talk made them feel, and thanking me.

I stopped and LISTENED.

And I went back to my original intention,
I wanted to move the audience

In the midst of my disappointment, I was faced time and again with evidence that I actually had been SEEN.

My work was acknowledged and so many artists resonated with the talk.

So, while I didn’t win “the prize”, I did win.  I spoke to the largest crowd ever in my speaking career, and showed up the way I wanted to.

I truly did my best. In fact, I was “chosen” by hundreds that day.
And doing the talk, opened up a new thought,

Perhaps my $10K is coming another way….

And what about you?

What is the “prize” you are striving for in your Art?
Have you decided there is only ONE way it will appear?

So many artists become “overnight successes” after years in the business.

Why?

Because they don’t stop.
Because they don’t let rejection stop them.
Because they keep going, and recognize that there WILL be disappointments along the way.

That big check is waiting for you.  And it will come by staying in the game.

It will come by placing your focus on where your wins are TODAY, and staying connected to your audience.

Release the competition, and come back to your vision of what you want.  Take a breath.  LISTEN to what your audience is saying and asking for.

Stay on the stage and in the game, so they can find you.

Because, the truth is, they truly want what you have.

Your turn comes when you decide it’s coming regardless.

 

 

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography