It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating a new month, doesn't it? We had some pretty big punches of girl power in March. Boss Chick love w/ Nini Gueco, an introduction to the future with Morgan DeBaun of Blavity, and a darn good dose of business girl wisdom from this year's #SXSW festival all made March one to remember.
Read More: #Chickspiration | March = Celebrate The Now
But, I'd be lying if I said the last month was a breeze. Heck, the last quarter has been a wake up call of sorts. If you've been rocking with us for awhile, you'll know that I'm all about promoting #Chickspiration and keeping the positive vibes on 10. Over the last few months, though, it's been difficult to fight the thief of joy that is comparison.
Those of you who can relate to walking in my Nikes on the daily (read: experiencing the highs and lows of building a business/just being an ambitious woman in 2016...Amen, right?) know that social media can be both the gift that keeps on giving and a curse on your soul.
We all have SHEros that we look to for inspiration. Whether it's Oprah (love you Aunty O!), Michelle Obama, or that cool insta-homegirl you just vibe with because she seems like she could totally be your bestie in real life (I have a few of these); there seem to be women everywhere taking hold of their dreams and turning nothing into something. And, as an ambitious woman yourself, you too have the desire to see your goals manifest into legit achievement. Yet, due to social media's power to overly connect and highlight the best moments in someone else's e-life, it's easy to find yourself in a mental space that is more competitive than congratulatory.
So, what do you do? I asked myself this question when, in moments (yup...plural) of scrolling, I found an almost natural impulse to compare my everyday struggle-fest to someone else's highlight reel. Even though CNKDaily is barely out of infant territory, these moments left me feeling like my own successes and achievements just didn't measure up.
When I really took a minute to pray about my negative energy and reflect on the feelings I was heaping on myself, I came up with five daily reminders to keep me from being my own worst enemy. That said, our Chickpiration theme for the month of April is all about eliminating the noise and finding the peace in process. Let's go.
Reminder 1: Everyone Starts Somewhere.
Right in the thick of one of my social media 'meh' moments, I received a right on time email from the folks at LoveMyCC.com. In a series of tweets, @xoBritDear pretty much delivered the come-to-Jesus sermon I needed for my spirit:
Word. Word. Word.
Most of these women who have achieved so much started with bright eyes, big dreams, and pretty much nothing else - JUST. LIKE. US. They were where With any new venture or job, the beginning is always the most difficult. I'm learning that comparing my beginning to someone else's very established middle is not only a waste of perfectly good energy and enthusiasm to chase MY dreams, but it's just plain self-hate. Love yourself better.
Reminder 2: The Highlight Reel Is Equal Parts Reality x Hype.
I don't know about you, but for me there is a sense of community that springs from the people you admire admitting that they too are susceptible to the same type of setbacks. It's endearing to find some common ground in struggle - why do you think I'm sharing some of my own? It helps to know you aren't alone in the entrepreneurship wilderness.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it, which is a good lesson for anyone — even for those who are living the Insta-lives of dreams. It’s relatable across the board, in a way that brings us together as people with common obstacles.
I'm not saying that posting your fabulous vacay, an announcement about your new business deal or that new freebie you got in the mail from one of your favorite brands, is a bad thing. Not at all. I'm proud of people who have worked hard and are reaping every last bit of the blood, sweat, and tears they've sown. It's just nice, in a world full of highlighted moments, to every now and then stumble upon a bit of reality.
Reminder 3: Comparison = Where You Had Yourself Effed Up
Let's be honest. Have you ever been scrolling around on Instagram only to stumble upon a shot that makes you say..."Why is his/her life so perfect!?!" It happens. We're human. And comparison, as ugly as it can get, is a natural inclination for people. While comparison can be a sense of motivation, it (here's that highlight reel again) can also be massively self-destructive if you aren't careful.
As much as I know that social media can perpetuate quite a bit, I had to remind myself that social media is a tool and we are it's operators. So, basically, in those moments when I start that downward spiral of comparison, I've jolted myself back to reality with one sentence:
It's not social media. It's you.
I am the only one who can control my emotions and I am the only one who can control my actions. If I'm not feeling particularly successful on a certain day, the question I'm trying (y'all...I really am trying) to ask myself is - WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GET YOURSELF WHERE YOU WANT TO BE? Instant re-focus.
Reminder 4: What's Really Bothering You?
As I sit here writing this, I have about 84 tabs open on my browser, I have tons of unanswered emails, and I've only made slight progress on my to-do list. Basically, I know I'll be playing catch-up all day because I didn't prepare. Sound familiar?
It bothers me when I can't check off everything on my to-do list. It bothers me when I know I should have prepped a post the evening before, but I chose to do something else with my time. It bothers me when I fail to use the tools at my disposal in order to ensure that I am on track. And, yes, it bothers me when I have to play catch up. Learning to understand the roots of your frustrations is an imperative part of fixing them. Because I have to spend a significant amount of time plugged into the matrix, I have to be clear about where my negative energy is stemming from. Again, it's not social media. It's not the home girl who received a new sneaker to write about before it's release. It's the fact that I didn't get my shit done. Let that motivate you when it seems like a good idea to watch that episode of 'Game of Thrones' instead of doing your work.
I'm talking to myself, by the way.
Reminder 5: It's Really Okay To Step Away. Really.
Every few weeks I try to do a social detox. On Sundays I've been making it a point to not pick up the computer and to avoid Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and sometimes even my text messages. While I can't do this EVERY Sunday, I'm learning the importance of taking a minute (or maybe 15) to unplug. It sounds small, but it creates a huge impact on my ability to unwind and center on the person I forget most about: me.
The addiction to phones and staying "relevant" is real for anyone trying to get a business off the ground (and VERY real for those who are working hard to ensure their business stays in flight), but the constant refreshing to see new "likes" or "mentions" is pinning our minds on other people, ideas, trends, and values. Anxiety will have you making mistakes when it comes to your business and, just like comparison, it creates a false sense of urgency that doesn't bode well for you or for the thing you're trying to create. So, pry that phone out of your hand and dim your macbook for a minute. It's okay to take a mini social siesta.
What do you do to combat the social blues? Let us know in the comments below!