Is it just me or does it feel like we're hitting maximum capacity with digital downloads and online courses and membership sites and 5 reasons you should __________ blog posts?
I know it could just be that I'm primed to see digital products everywhere because that's my primary business model these days, but there's a part of me that is starting to feel like the walls are closing in a little bit.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's a beautiful thing that people are teaching others what they know, and that, in the process, they're able to create joyful lives full of flexibility and freedom -- heck, I'm one of those people, and I'm a prime example of the value and impact that online learning can add to a person's life!
BUT, if I'm being honest, it can be difficult to run a business in an arena that seems to be getting larger and more crowded by the day.
Every time I come up for air I feel like I'm seeing a new blog, a new podcast, a new brand, a new webinar. He's doing it bigger, she's doing it better, they're all doing it faster and smarter and OH MY GOSH HOW WILL I EVER STAY RELEVANT?
Any of that ring a bell? Hopefully it's not just me.
Tell me if this sounds familiar...
- You start with an idea. One you're pretty excited about, actually.
- You (innocently enough) do a quick Google search or Pinterest hunt to see if anyone else out there has the same idea or has done something similar. You know, just to learn, right?
- You find the website of someone in your niche and before you know it you're devouring every corner of their site, like a moth to a confidence-killing flame.
- You're not sure how, but what started as a little light reconnaissance has quickly turned into second-guessing everything, and no longer are you as excited about your brilliant idea because for pete's sake EVERYTHING HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE so why's it worth doing at all?
Let me tell you what, boy have I've been there. More times than I can count, in fact.
Those dreaded comparison gremlins not only have the power to drive you crazy, but they find small and sneaky ways to absolutely CRUSH your confidence.
So, how do we fight back? How do we find the motivation to press forward even when we feel like everyone's ten steps ahead and there's not an original bone in our body?
Well, I'll tell you what I do at least.
I return to what I KNOW is authentic about myself.
(Authenticity, you beautiful thing, there you are rescuing me again!)
I know it's probably bad form to talk about all this on the day I'm re-launching a shop full of, yes, digital products, but that's why in some ways I think it's even more important to talk about.
We all know I'm certainly not the only one writing e-books and building online courses and designing worksheets on the internet. FAR from it, as I've pointed out.
But what keeps me making them is the fact that I love it. That I truly believe in the power that these resources can provide in the form of knowledge and support and motivation. More importantly, though, I believe in the unique spin I'm able to bring to everything I create.
THAT is what I want you to remember when the comparison gremlins come knocking. I want you to remember that:
Your individuality is your secret sauce.
It's the secret family recipe that keeps your customers begging for more. The thing that keeps your tribe coming back AND (conveniently enough) the one thing that no one can steal from you.
But here's the realllllly important caveat to using your secret sauce to stand out in a sea of seemingly similar businesses:
When I say that, I don't mean it like a vague inspirational poster. I mean it like a direct order handed down from a drill sergeant. An imperative statement. I'm writing it again just to make sure it really sinks in:
You HAVE to believe you're special.
When you're floating aimlessly in a sea of self-doubt, you have to anchor yourself to reality with the unwavering belief that no one else on this earth can do what you do quite LIKE you do it.
Otherwise, it's just too easy to get swept away by comparison. It's too easy to feel like it's all been said, it's all been written, it's all been done.
(And if that comparison keeps you from creating the beautiful work that I know is in you, well all of us are going to be the poorer for it.)
To put it simply: The best way to be original is to ignore what everyone else is doing.
To remember that your uniqueness is inherent, innate, and indelible.
To press forward towards your dreams with vision and confidence, regardless of if those around you are pointed in the same direction.
I know we're just talking e-books and online courses here, but on days when I get discouraged that maybe I have nothing new to say, I remember that I have A LOT to say about not having anything new to say, and that just might be MY secret sauce. :)
This week, whatever you're working toward, I want you to dig deep and remind yourself why you are the ONE PERSON in this world that is best-equipped to make that happen.
Then, do whatever you need to do to really believe that.
Now, if you have't already, go check out the new shop!!
Wishing you a wonderful week.
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This post first appeared in my Monday newsletter to Self-Made Society -- Made Vibrant's email community for soulful creatives. Sign up and you'll get instant access to my e-book, A Year Made Vibrant, with over 50 of my past weekly newsletters.