Magpie Anthology

Sing your own song: Why comparison kills creativity

“I just know that something good is going to happen… just saying it could even make it happen…”
Kate Bush, Cloudbusting.

Through my work as a brand consultant at Opal & Co I am surrounded by creatives who are using their talents to build a business. Designers of fashion, jewellery and interiors. Stylists of events, weddings and people. Artists who work with paint, paper, flowers and food. It’s a colourful, motivating and privileged place to be. Creatives need courage and conviction to feed their creativity. The creative process demands that we repeatedly question ourselves, and we often aren’t sure of the answers. We want to make a difference. When we publish our writing or post a photo to Instagram, will people like it? Will the menus we create make mouths water? Do our floral installations feed the senses and take the breath away? Is our jewellery going to be treasured for ever?

Doubt, fear and worst of all, comparison, can creep in. But comparing yourself to the competition is counterproductive. Even the concept of competition is an unhelpful one for creative businesses. It can stifle creativity and leave you stuck in your comfort zone (or even someone else’s), afraid to push the boundaries of your business. And it breeds sameness. Many businesses doing the same thing, and none of them standing out as remarkable.

We know remarkable when we see it. Singer and song writer Kate Bush is remarkable. I was amazed to learn recently that she was just 13 years old when she wrote some of the songs on her debut album The Kick Inside, which was released when she was still only 19. It included her first single and international hit Wuthering Heights, which was an experimental type of pop unlike anything heard before. Kate Bush didn’t worry whether people would like what she did, and she wasn’t afraid to sing her own song.

Which brings us back to branding. Singing your own song is what it’s all about. Visualising and honing a brand that is in line with your values, reflects your personality, and identifies and clearly communicates what truly makes you remarkable. When you are singing your own song you feel heard and understood. Decisions about your business are easier and your product or service is more compelling. Ideas flow and confidence blossoms. Best of all, there is no need for comparison. You have found clarity, energy and purpose, and it feels wonderful.


Eddie Judd Photography

Words: Clare Yarwood-White 
Opal & Co


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