No matter how far along you are in your singing life or career, chances are you have or you will fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other singers again and again and again.
This usually looks like losing hours of time to clicking around googling artists and comparing yourself to how they look, how they sound, the number of followers they have, their latest video, their latest interview, tv spot, or their tour schedule. Inevitably, you will feel depressed and unsatisfied with whatever it is you’ve accomplished. Everything you do or have ever done becomes less than, not good enough, loser-y, or foolish when compared to this person.
Envy, jealousy, sadness, resentment, negativity, anger, bitterness take over and perspective goes right out the window.
In 12-Step programs there is a slogan that sums it all up perfectly: Compare and despair. If you compare yourself to others you will feel like crap. Every time. Why? Because you’re comparing how you feel inside to how they look or sound outside, not to how they feel inside. It doesn’t make sense to do it. It’s not fair to us or them. It’s not a balanced equation. But we do it anyway, don’t we?
I know I’m guilty of it. At least I used to be. Often. And it would send me into a hopeless and helpless funk that could last for days. It has no positive outcome, ever.
So how to stop comparing yourself? Bring the focus back to you and get busy singing.
Assess your own situation: Am I growing as a singer? Am I performing? Why/Why not? What baby steps can I take to live the life I want onstage and off?
Look at your accomplishments: Did you perform recently and have fun or get a compliment? Own it. Take pride in it. Give yourself credit. You’ve earned it. Then set some new goals you’d like to accomplish. Ask yourself, what do I need to do next to achieve this new goal? (If you haven’t done any singing, give yourself credit for reading this and allow yourself to take another step toward your singing.)
Once you’re busy with yourself and overcoming your own obstacles and challenges and getting excited about your own life and your own goals, compare and despair falls away. There is just no room for it.
Usually compare and despair enter in when you are feeling empty or sad or isolated or very disconnected with yourself. So the most important thing here is: Don’t let your own well get empty. Fill it up with singing, consistently. Make singing part of your life. The ups and the downs. That’s how you feel like a singer. By doing it. And once you’re doing it, you’ll feel great! And you’ll develop an appreciation for other artists because you will feel like you too are on the journey. You’ll know what it takes, you’ll invest in yourself, you’ll have triumphs and successes and rejections and losses and regrets, just like them. You’ll start seeking out real connections with other artists and getting inspired by them to sing more, create more and be more in your own life.
But let’s be honest, this sounds great, but sometimes it’s hard to do this alone. We need guidance and camaraderie and structure. That’s why I created the Shine on Stage & Beyond Program. It provides the nurturing support you need to build yourself up and sing with confidence and joy and take your singing to the next level. But don’t take it from me. Below you’ll meet Erica, a student in the program. Here’s what she says:
“I am feeling most grateful for finally feeling like myself again by having singing back in my life. I used to think you could only be considered a singer if you were gigging regularly, could hit every note perfectly every time, and people knew who you were. Through working with Ruth, I’ve come to realize on my own that to be a singer, you just have to sing.”