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  • Writer's pictureJordan Abbruzzese

Collaborate, Don't Compare

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

Do you know those days where you just feel good, genuinely good, like the universe has opened up and is moving under your skin and you are connected to the sun and blooming flowers and everything else? I can feel myself growing - raw and emotional, but also completely free at the same time.

Feeling blissful can be rare and fleeting, to the point where it is hard to recognize. The moment where existing isn't cumbersome, and you are actually in a great mood. I know some of you can relate.

Well, I feel like that right now.

I started off my work day by going to a CreativeMornings Columbus event. I heard about these meetings a few months ago, and was finally able to make it to one. Honestly, if you are able to go, you totally should. CreativeMornings is a super cool breakfast networking/lecture series that actually exists in 180 cities. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Today's speaker was Annie Pierce, GQ's Bartender in Residence and a Bartender at Curio. According to CreativeMornings, "Annie went to London to compete in Bombay Sapphire’s "Most Imaginative Bartender" competition, with 11 other bartenders from across the US and Canada. She became the first ever North American female to claim the title."

So the girl can make a drink. And she also spoke directly to my heart. I wanted to share a couple of thoughts for anyone else who needs them.

This month's theme was "Craft". For creatives, our special thing is always evolving. We change as people, and therefore our art and passions change as well.

As Annie described it, the concept of craft is simply "for us, from us, by us - it is us". She talked about how sometimes, as artists and creators, we can lose ourselves in our craft. Our soul is a double-edged sword, helping us make our masterpiece but also making it difficult to divide ourselves from our work. Because if we do not put our soul into our craft, then what is the point?

At times, this can bring us to a dark place. I have been there, unable to write, doodle, watch films, or even listen to music for weeks stretching into months. I hovered in between my surroundings with a silent barrier, feeling disconnected from everything I saw and touched. Nothing resonated, and I felt that I couldn't ever create again.

I felt validated and less alone by just hearing someone else say that they have been there too. As to how we avoid that feeling, it is a work and progress. I believe being compassionate and understanding with one another is a solid first step.

Beyond losing ourselves in our work, we sometimes lose our worth when we compare ourselves to others. Social media can connect us, but it also puts a spotlight on other's best work and achievements. Annie encouraged us to not base our relationships on comparison, but collaboration. It was an amazing reminder, because I am guilty of comparing myself to other writers all the time. When a former classmate of mine from undergrad gets published, I feel excitement for them that is quickly overshadowed by how I am not good enough. I read their work, and think, "I don't compare".

It is vital that we lift each other up with love instead of feeling negative toward our own journeys and work. Just because someone else is shining does not mean that your own light is dimmer. Both of you shining together only creates a brighter light.

This negative mindset can touch more than our creative lives, to our careers, love lives, what we look like, how "exciting" we may be, how much money we are making. I have written a post based off of this quote before, but I think it is worth repeating now:

"A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin.

I'll end this thought-train with a couple of other messages from Annie that I also found inspiring:

- Perfection is stagnant. Perfecting is a process.

- Protect your energy, but also project your energy.

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. I am filled with so much love and appreciation for all of you! Keep creating and caring for one another. The world needs more people like you.


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