Standing In Your Own Way

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by Tara Swiger

Standing In Your Own Way


This is a guest post by Sherisa de Groot. Sherisa is an accessories designer, blogger and writer originally from Brooklyn, New York who loves postcards, vegetarian cooking, wine, and encouraging others. She runs her business and pens the blog L'elephant Rose from her new home in Amsterdam, Netherlands.


I saw this poster on Julies blog the other day (originally created by Keri Smith, which makes total sense) and it got me to thinking how often I know I’ve done almost everything on this list. I know most of us have. What I thought I’d talk about today is how to try and break free of comparison living by giving a remedy to some of these issues.


Constantly compare yourself to other artists.


I know I’ve spoken previously about being your authentic self, apologetically. The last thing any of us should do is compare ourselves to others. Someone is always going to make nicer things than we do, have a larger audience than we do and seemingly get rich overnight. That isn’t in the cards for us all right now. I am much more interested in liking what I like and working at being the best at what I like to do. Serve my purpose. If you’re being you, two things happen right away. You don’t have time to be someone else. You lose this need to compete and you actually allow yourself to love more. You become so much more open to what surrounds you and can appreciate things you previously thought you had to be against in order to survive.

Remedy: Find 10 outstanding things about you that you admire. Find 10 outstanding things about your business that you admire. Remember those and constantly add to that list.


Talk to your family about what you do and expect them to cheer you on.


Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the full support of their family. Sometimes it’s as simple as a generational misunderstanding of what you’re doing and how you’re making money. It doesn’t mean they don’t wish you well, but maybe they don’t know how to show that they do. I know that personally I’ve been looked at in the past because I’m at home most of the time and the impression is ‘you have a degree and nothing is wrong with you. You should be out there getting a real job.’ But that’s their definition. Not mine. I patently waited for those folks to see what I’m doing by showing that I am making money and that this is a real job. I don’t need to sit at a desk in someone else’s office making money for them to feel like I have a real job. Initially it was frustrating, and it took a long while for me to come to that conclusion but the point is I got there.

Remedy: Everyone wants the approval of their family in some way shape or form. It might not come right away and that’s fine. Don’t fault them for not understanding you. We all look at life in different ways and you can’t expect everyone in your family to support you simply because you’re family. They are still people. Sometimes, what they see in you is a regret they have of their own past and deflect that on you. Instead, look for support in others. See those who step up to back you and appreciate them fully. If someone doesn’t understand what you’re doing with your life, take the time to try and explain in a non-defensive way.


Base the success of your entire career on one project.


Want a quick way to kill a dream? Do the above. You are the sum of all your parts. Not just one piece. Remember that and you’ll not only save yourself an early burial, but also be able to look forward to all the future bad ass ideas you’re bound to come up with!


Stick with what you know.


There isn’t a quicker way I can think of to run yourself into the ground than to not go out of your comfort zone and learn and experience new things. Especially if what you’re doing isn’t working. Not the way you hoped or imagined. Not trying new things not only makes you boring as an artist, it makes you eventually seem dated. Being comfortable is never a great thing. I’m almost always uncomfortable.

Remedy: In your personal life and professional life, try something you never normally would. Something you might have been thinking of but dismissed because it isn’t what you normally do. Currently, I’m trying to figure out how I can take some specific jewelry classes here so I can grow my business in the future.


Undervalue your expertise.


I’ve spoken about the danger you expose yourself, your craft and everyone in your field about being a sweatshop, but along that vein is knowing just exactly what you’re good at. Don’t be a Jack (or Jackie) of all trades and master of none.  Knowing your self worth helps you hone in on the value of your expertise in all areas of your life. I have an unending thirst for knowledge, for history, for new ways to do old things. I am extremely creative and come up with a million ideas on the fly. I am good with money but I hate taking care of the books and inventory and all that. My mind is never in the same place, but all over always thinking of exciting things to try.

Remedy: Realistically look at what you’re better at. Delegate what you aren’t good at to people who are good at it. These could just be character traits or skilled things you’ve learned. Make what you’re good at great and what you’re great at excellent. Don’t bother with the other stuff. Spend the time and/or money having someone else do those things so you are working at your fullest potential.


Let money dictate what you do.


Another thing I am a personal victim to, but as fate would have it, I am taking steps to break my mind from this awful mentality. I am learning to do much more than ever before with what I have. I am taking risks (something I don’t usually do financially since I am a chronic saver) and I’m excited about the outcome. I am planting larger seeds to sow.

Remedy: Take a risk. Even if it is a small risk, take it. Obviously don’t do something that could leave you in financial ruin, but step out of your comfort zone and do something you normally wouldn’t. See what the results are and move forward taking more steps towards reaching what you imagine for your best self. Rinse and repeat.


Bow to societal pressures. Only do work that your family would love. Do whatever the client/ customer/ gallery  owner/ patron/ investor asks.


You are what you say you are and what you show you are. Don’t let others dictate what that expression is–ever. You won’t ever reach your full potential if all you do is pander to outside forces. What a crime to your soul and to humanity.

Remedy: Do what feels good. Do what feels great. Do what makes you superb. And if you don’t know what that is, stop doing everything and figure it out bit by bit.


Set unachievable/ overwhelming goals. To be accomplished by tomorrow.


Just DON’T EVER DO THIS. It’s not worth the stress and it’s never going to be as spectacular as if you put time, care and effort in it.

Remedy: Set goals. Set deadlines. Just don’t make them within a 24-48 hour period from conception. That’s mental.



So, are you a prisoner to any of these things?


Share your comments, I’d love to know what your thoughts are.


Image Credits: Keri Smith