Stop trying to be someone you’re not, in life, business, or creativity – Episode 129

We’re often being pushed to match some cookie cutter standards in the way we live our lives, how we run our business, what we create, and even in who we are. Guess what? Screw those expectations! This episode is about dropping ‘comparisonitis’ and fully embracing yourself. Be who you are and flow in ease and grace.

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“Stand on a step and then bend down and push yourself to touch the floor,” Shanthi aunty said. I was so excited. “Oh my god, yes! I’m going to try this. I’ve tried everything else, so why not?”

She was telling me how I could grow taller

She’d heard somebody say this, so she suggested it to me. She was being kind. Well, everybody who gave me any suggestion on how to get tall was being kind. “Go swimming, every day”, they said. I did exactly that. Did not get tall. “Play a basketball. You’re gonna keep stretching to throw the ball into the hoop, so you’re gonna get tall.” I did that too. “Do some pull ups. The stretch is going to pull you and make you longer, and taller.” Oh I tried that too. I tried so hard, and at the end…Nope, didn’t grow tall. laughs

Pink flamingo floating tube in aqua coloured water. Swimming pool. Be who you are.
Photo by Vicko Mozara on Unsplash

I come from a short family. My parents, they’re both 5 feet tall. My sister, she used to be shorter than me all my life…till we hit our teens. And then, she grew taller than me too. She became as tall as my parents at 5 feet.

Guess what I became? I’m 4 feet 11 inches. hahaha People laugh when I tell them that number. I mean, they see me, they know I’m a shorty, but when I actually tell them that I’m not even 5 feet tall, they laugh. They find that funny, and you know what? It is funny! I find it funny too. laughs

When I was in my teenage years, I was told that I needed to become taller. “Tall is good. Tall is nicer than short. So become tall. Work hard. Do whatever you can to do it.”

As always with any beauty standard, they were wrong

No, I didn’t have to get tall. And the moment I realised this, the moment I accepted it, and said, “You know what? I’m a shorty. I’m tiny. This is me. Yay!”, and I embraced myself for completely who I am, that’s when life changed!

I started seeing all the advantages of being short. I can fold my legs and sit in the tiniest of places. Picture me in economy class flight (some day I hope to travel business, but not yet), and people are sitting next to me struggling to stuff themselves, trying to stretch their legs. And here I am happily sitting cross-legged on my seat. I fit right in! smug smile

Being short has helped me become comfortable in so many ways. There are many advantages to it. I won’t list them all for you. But what I do want to say is, the moment I accepted that this is who I am, and embraced it, that’s when the advantages showed themselves.

I was able to appreciate the advantages I have because I’m short, and the same applies to anything else – life, business, creativity

We need to stop listening to what others say about how things *should* be done. “This is how a business should look. This is the time within which it should grow a particular amount. Here’s the right way to market. Here’s is what’s right, and what’s wrong. This is attractive, this is not.”

You know, when you stop listening to all of that, that’s when you’ll realise what your business is, what your creativity is, what your life is, and what hand you’ve been dealt. And then, how to use it to the maximum advantage!

When Instagram started reels, I used to make them

That was because it was fun right at the beginning. But the moment they started demanding that we make more reels, and gave more priority to reels over other content, I quit making them. It was not fun anymore, and there was no way I was pushing myself to to use this marketing technique just because everybody else around me was doing it.

It didn’t matter to me how many followers people gained, how many views, likes, blah blah blah. Nope.

I wasn’t going to do reels anymore because they were hard work, they were irritating, and I’m like, “okay, I’m not going to contribute to that irritating nature of Instagram by adding more reels.”

Opened out section of film reel.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

So I stuck to my standard static and carousal posts

Then there were hashtags. People use hashtags thinking that they’re going to attract more people, more likes, more views. If you think that, ask yourself when was the last time you searched for a certain hashtag? When did you discover someone really valuable to you through a hashtag?

I’m sure you can’t remember, right? Or very few of you probably remember it. That’s because hashtags attract spammers more than real people.

There’s a very small chance of getting organic reach through hashtags

But then, oh my god the amount of work I used to put into them before! I’d think, “okay, this is my post, these are the hashtags. Let me make a list of these hashtags, Oh no, I shouldn’t forget anything. There’s a limit of 30 hashtags, I’m going to use each and every one of them! I don’t want to miss out in their potential. Blah blah blah blah.”

Unnecessary headache! Unnecessarily delaying posting things, delaying my creativity. Making me hesitate to create more because it involves all these other additional things which aren’t as fun.

The moment I decided I’m not going to use hashtags anymore…and this wasn’t a decision I came to on my own. It was my friend and mentor, Shailaja, who taught us this. She’s like, “drop the hashtags, you be yourself”, and I’m like, “oh my God! That makes so much sense!” And then that’s it. I just dropped the hashtags like hot potatoes. laughs

Ever since then, whenever I’m on Instagram, I just do what I feel like

I write from my heart, I create those images, I put them out there, and I step away. And because of this, I can be so much more creative because there’s no pressure. I can do what I feel like doing.

In fact, this is what has helped me even step away from Instagram. Right now, in this moment, I’m on an Insta break. I haven’t been there for over a month, and I don’t intend to go back there for at least another month.

It’s very freeing! I don’t think, “oh my god, this is the only tool. Everyone’s there. If I don’t market myself on Insta, nobody’s gonna find me.” That’s not true. In fact, even if you work really hard, marketing yourself on Insta, chances of the right people finding you are low.

Yeah, maybe you may find a spike in orders the day you post a story or a reel, but then that’s it. They’ll forget about you.

You know who stays? The people who aren’t looking for the gimmicks

The ones who want to read the longer posts, the ones who truly love you, value your product/your service for what it is. For you. For you as a brand, not because of the way you post.

And then, they’ll go tell their friends, and they’ll go tell their friends, and organically you’ll grow.

Organic growth is slow yes, but it pays off because it builds a strong foundation

So go off social media, and you can still have organic growth. I’m doing that through my podcast, through my mailing list. My mailing list is fantastic! It’s very small. The numbers on my mailing list are nothing compared to the number of people who follow me on Insta.

But my mailing list people, the audience, they’re the right people. They really want to read my thing. I mean, imagine opening out an email and reading it in this day and age of fast posts and scrolling and all that.

If somebody’s doing that, they’re making an effort to do that, then that means they appreciate and value you, your brand, what you have to say. They’re interested in that.

Talking about my mailing list…

It’s called The Feel Good Tribe. I write emails once or twice a month but I fill it up with interesting stories, links of interesting content I’ve come across, books that I’m reading, all kinds of stuff.

I’m a multi-passionate, so everything about the newsletter is multi-passionate.

It serves a variety of people – vegans, people in the conscious business circle, the woo-woo folks (haha my favourites), anybody who’s into manifestation, law of attraction, mindfulness, meditation…all of it. So yeah, sign up here.

Going back to what I was saying…

Stop looking at what others are doing!

Other businesses, your colleagues, your friends, your family members, stop looking at what they’re all doing. There may be people you follow and like, and you might want to emulate them to some extent. Fine, take some inspiration from them, but you don’t have to do exactly what they’re doing for you to grow.

The most important thing is for you to step back and look at who you are as a person. What you’re comfortable with sharing, how you’re comfortable working, figure that out. And then just go out there and be your authentic self. Your true self. That’s all you need to do.

Don’t worry, there is no one-size-fits-all

So watching somebody else do something and feeling that pressure, “oh no, I have to do it. I don’t like it, but I have to do it because they’re doing it, and they seem to be successful”, that’s not going to serve you in the long run.

It’s going to just burn you out, and that’s going to take the joy out of your business. And come on, we all deserve to feel joy and fulfilment and ease. Ease is our default setting!

We’re supposed to feel at ease as we build and grow our business

Or live our lives, or do our marketing, or create art…whichever thing we’re doing, ease is actually our default setting. We’re not supposed to struggle, or work very hard, or push ourselves.

You’re supposed to go with the flow of things. And to go with the flow, you need to understand yourself deeply, and cut out comparisonitis!

They call it ‘comparisonitis’

It’s a term coined to say that comparison is kind of like a disease. So let go of that.

Don’t look at what others are doing. You figure things out. Take some time away, step away from everything, and figure out who you want to be, who you are, how you want to live your life, and how you want to feel as you live your life doing things.

And then, just do it. Don’t bother about getting tall if you’re a shorty. laughs

No amount of hard work’s gonna pay off if it isn’t the right fit for you

This is not what you’re meant to be doing, this is not how you’re meant to be living your life. If you’re struggling and there’s friction, you’re trying too hard. It’s not really going to pay off.

Instead, lean into who you are and embrace it, accept it, and go with the flow. Approach everything from that place of authenticity and being centered in your own self, and it pays off. Then you grow.

All right, that’s it for today. Do sign up for my newsletter, The Feel Food Tribe. I’ll talk to you again next week. Take care.

I use Otter for all my transcriptions, and it’s awesome! Try it out.

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Susmitha Veganosaurus

Shorth haired Indian lady, beaming a wide smile. Flowers in the background. Vegan business coach and chef Susmitha Veganosaurus

“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.

If my content resonates with you, join my free newsletter where I share Life and Business Tips, Vegan Hacks, Holistic Guidance, and more.

Vegan cuisine and holistic business building are my two biggest passions. If you’re looking for guidance with vegan cooking, or want to grow your conscious business with joy and fulfilment explore ways we can work togetherhere.”