When I was younger, one of the things I spent most of my time on was tearing myself down. I didn’t need anyone around to do it. I was quite good at it. In fact I carried a black belt in it, even had the WWF championship belt given to those that are able to knock themselves out. At the time, I honestly thought I was the only one in the entire world who felt this way. As a pre-teen I would hide in the back of my closet with magazines, notebooks and journals that I would then fill with words to outline all of the ways in which I didn’t measure up.
I would compare myself to most anybody but more often than not I chose to compare myself to my siblings. I am the oldest of six. The gap is 14 years between the oldest and youngest. Each one of them has veritable cornucopia of amazing and unique things about them. I was always the proud “big” sister that would show up to every play, choir concert, soccer game, taekwondo practice etc. and aside from my Mom, I am pretty sure I was the loudest cheerleader that was there.
My comparison was not one of malice. It was jealousy, of course, but it was the kind of jealousy that made me think I didn’t measure up. They did all of these wonderful things and all I did was, well in my mind I did nothing. I became one of those people that was constantly on a search for “my talent”. From as far back as I can remember, every one of my siblings just had something special about them. They were all talented.
My brother is an artist who would blow your mind. No joke, he doesn’t just draw, he builds things, and basically is good at everything he attempts. Add to this his quick wit and old people love him. Well lots of people love him but especially old people. I have no idea why.
There is my brother who was a second degree black belt before Jr High. He was a multi-sport athlete in high school and is maybe the most charming person you will ever meet. He is witty and knows how to turn a phrase like no other.
I have a sister who is a championship roller-skater, cheerleader, dancer and fashion savant. She has the most positive natural energy and loyalty of anyone you will ever meet and doesn’t give up on anything ever.
My brother was a basketball phenom. He was the kid people loved to watch play and my Dad loved to coach. He has this natural ability that seemed to appear straight from the womb. He's hungry to learn as much as he can about people & takes chances in his life more than most.
My sister, the comedienne & writer. She'll read this & roll her eyes but she is the smartest person I know and sees the world as whole. She uses humor & words to understand & explore the world. Nobody can make you laugh like her. Don’t even get me started about her Ralph Machio impression.
Did I mention that they also all happen to be really really really good looking? Like Zoolander good looking?
So imagine me, the first one, the oldest, a pasty, scrawny girl with fluffy blonde hair and eczema all over. (umm, yes that is a real pre-teen picture of me on Valentines Day and yes I see the outfit.) I was/am loud, chatty and bossy but I brought no “talent” to the team. I was the bench player who was great at cheering and bringing everyone their sweat towels to feel part of the team but I was never going to get to play. I spent many a conversation crying to my mother and asking her “why am I not good at anything, why don’t I have a talent?”
“But you do. You’re talent is business.” She would say as she stroked my hair to calm me down. It didn’t work.
“That is not a talent” I would inevitably yell. Of course I didn’t storm out because who is gonna leave when their Mom is playing with their hair? I was sad not dumb.
If I could so clearly see everything that they were good at why was it that I couldn’t recognize any talent within myself? Was I being too strict with my definition? Was I not seeing something that was there?
The truth is, it is all about playing the comparison game. We compare ourselves to everyone else around us and use that to gauge how successful, talented and/or worthwhile we are. Most of the time we don't even know we are doing it. Research says there are a lot of reasons we do this:
- comparison helps provide us a bar to reach for
- we are socialized to compete with others not just in sport but in everything (think young school age girls and the hierarchy involved, think politics, think sports, you get the drift.)
- lack of confidence
- social media
We have all heard some version of the saying "don't compare your worst day with someone else's best day" or worse yet with their social media best day. It's not real. We not only compare ourselves to everyone but we compare them on stuff that isn't even real.
So let's stop already. Easier said than done right? Well, maybe not. Maybe if we take what learned on Negative Bias and apply it here it could actually help us reduce our need to compare. Think of it this way, if we are focusing on the positive things in our lives we are bound to find our purpose. When we find our purpose we live a happier life. When we live a happier life we don't have a reason to compare because we see, honor and respect the amazing things we have.
So...have I stopped comparing myself to my siblings? Most of the time, yes. I slip every once in awhile, because they really are amazing. But...finding my purpose and passion changed everything. I like what I'm doing, who I am and who I have around me. It's a pretty dope feeling so I have decided to own that and let them own their awesomeness as well.
Oh, and by the way, I did find my talent and while business is great and I am glad to have a head for it. My talent is what I was put on this earth for. Want to know what it is? Read the "DO" section on this website. How do you battle the comparison game? Tell me in the comments below?
It's Woman Crush Wednesday. I am featuring someone a little more close to home this week. As you may remember, the goal of this series is to feature women who are pushing the boundaries and following their purpose with hustle, grit and grace.
Right now I can think of no one better fitting that category than the curator of The Written Runway. This blog/site was started as a way to share a love of fashion and make it tangible off the runway for people in their every day lives.
The muse is Ambyr, a FIDM graduate, stylist, social media expert, writer and overall fashion junkie. You can learn all about her at the site. What I am going to write about is why she is my crush this week and why you should crush on her too.
In today's world it is sadly difficult to find people who truly do hustle. I am talking about the type of person who isn't just chasing money, they aren't asking for other people to do all of the hard work. The people I am talking about dig in with both hands and those hands get dirty. They do whatever it takes to follow their purpose. It is not always easy. In fact most of the time it is actually very hard, but this type of person keeps after it anyway. That is the type of woman Ambyr is.
She grew up in a farm/wine town in Oregon. It was a small upbringing but Ambyr never was small. From her earliest moments she always had a fire to her. She would demand things that other kids were too afraid to ask for. It was almost as if she knew that if she didn't speak up from the start then she never would. So she did.
Ambyr was always one to be on the edge of fashion trends from her earliest days. So as she graduated high school and was deciding which direction to go nobody was surprised to see her choose to go to California. While in there she graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM). She did this on her own, while holding down a full time job and living over an hour away from the school. It wasn't easy. There were many tears shed, many nights of little to no sleep. But she persevered.
Once she graduated, she found the real world to be a lot less kinder than expected. Jobs in fashion look very glamorous on screen and in print, but the reality is often much different. Lots of girls with dreams of fashion come to Los Angeles. In my experience, a lot of those girls do NOT come from humble beginnings. Yes, some most certainly do, but a lot of the girls I saw around Ambyr at this time were being taken care of financially by parents and family members. They were able to take these jobs for very little pay where as oftentimes other girls can't.
Here is the thing about that though. Those girls may have been willing to accept a lower salary but the employers had to accept a lower quality of work. Ambyr on the other hand had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Yet her energy level and work ethic never faltered. She was able to work with a number of different celebrity stylists and learn from experts in her field. She earned a reputation as a hard working, passionate and kind person who would treat your business as if it was her own.
If that wasn't enough, at this time she also started her own blog/website, The Written Runway. This was a way for her to interact with the world of fashion on her own terms, through her own brand. Blogs are very popular, many people do them, HECK, you're reading mine right now. Her's is different though. She could have monetized her site in many ways that would help her financially but she has been very particular with who she wants to partner with. She doesn't want to dilute her message. She wants to provide an honest commentary on how she sees fashion.
Luckily for her, people have noticed. in 2013 she moved to Washington DC where she was able to secure opportunities with a number of people in the industry and build up her skill set even more. Working with Fashion Group International, TAA PR, The Vogue Bloggers Network, The Independent Fashion Blogger Association as well as many more.
She is my WCW because quit isn't in her vocabulary. She isn't where she wants to be yet, and as a young person that can be very demotivating, but it's almost as if she can see something in the distance and so she keeps running. FORTITUDE, I think that's what they call it. and a crush is definitely what I have.
Oh, and did I mention that Ambyr is my sister? I might have failed to mention it before on purpose. I didn't want you to think I was biased. My guess is after reading this and check out her site, that is not a concern you will have.
Today I am at the Women in Sports & Events (WISE) Synposium so stay tuned to hear all about it Friday,