Today I was listening to an episode of The Comfortable Spot podcast where presenter Ken Sweeney interviewed podcaster, editor and journalist Suswati Basu.
One thing Suswati said really jumped out at me:
“We need to stop gamifying every process. We’re all suffering from comparisonitis, and that is really harmful. People should be proud of what they create. Being creative is the gift in itself.”
Comparisonitus is one of the biggest drivers of conditions like imposter syndrome. It’s especially true in this social media age where everyone and their aunt is out there broadcasting to the world how wonderful their life is while also pointing out how busy they are. We become obsessed with how many followers we have, often comparing ourselves to our peers or even people who have been in this game for decades. What do you mean Stephen King has more followers than me?! I’m such a failure!
I’ve felt this myself over the last few weeks as we’ve all been searching for alternatives to Twitter. There was an urgency to find ‘the’ network and build my followers as quickly as possible. Why? Because it’s one of the markers of success in our business. Yes, there’s the importance of connecting to your audience and your mutuals, but it’s often impossible to ignore the nagging doubt that your worth depends on how many people are following you on Twitter, Instagram or whatever the social media of choice seems to be at the moment. I must look relevant! I must look important!
But, as Suswati says, surely the act of creating is the most important thing of all. Everything else is a distraction, a valuable tool for getting your creations out there, but not the goal itself.
A helpful reminder, and one I’ll need to learn as I compulsively check how many views, likes or comments this post gets (or maybe doesn’t!)
It’s something I’m going to work on, stepping back to focus on what I’m doing, not how many people are hitting the heart icon.