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Overcoming Comparison


Business, Tech-Talk Tuesday




A few weeks ago, I shared one of the most vulnerable posts that I had ever written about the Loneliness of Entrepreneurship. And as I sat there feverishly typing those words that had been weighing on my heart, I knew that today’s post wasn’t far behind.

Comparison is something that we all deal with as Creative Entrepreneurs and in some ways comparison can be a positive and healthy distinction between your strengths and the strengths of others. Unfortunately, for so many of us (me included!), our virtual world of constant sharing, perfect Instagram updates, and polished Pinterest Boards left me doubting my abilities and utterly exhausted. I felt like I simply couldn’t keep up and it took me so long to stop and realize… that the only person I should ever compare myself to is a younger version of me.

So if you’re in that place, ever have been, or know someone who is… Today’s post was written for you.

Overcoming Comparison in a Creative Industry | Tips for Wedding Photographers and Entrepreneurs


It starts with something small. – The opportunity she got that passed you by. The publication that turned you down, but took her work instead. The perfect office, styled wardrobe, and polished nails that set the bar impossibly high for your yoga-pant wearing, pony-tail rocking, state on any given Monday morning.

Somewhere along the way, a Comparison Monster is born.

And it lurks in the background of your mind, planting seeds of doubt. Over time, those seeds grow and the monster works tirelessly cultivating lies that with a single spark, burn like wildfire set to a barren field of insecurities. You aren’t as good as she is. You aren’t pretty enough or thin enough. You don’t have what it takes to succeed.

And in this digital world, it can feel like there is no escape. No outlet to thwart the constant barrage of perfect representations of our imperfect lives.  There has to be a better way. There has to be an alternative. No one can possibly survive the growing bitterness and self-destruction that accompanies this constant game of measuring up.

Because, somewhere along the way, you are going to surrender the beautifully unique person that you were in the pursuit of becoming someone else. As with jpeg files… a copy, and each successive copy thereafter, will never be as good as the original.


If we continue to believe that the perfectly sculpted versions of reality that we see in the media and online are achievable, then we are never going to feel fulfilled. So we have to change our mindset. We have to scare away the comparison monster that we’ve created in the broken, insecure places within our souls and choose to rise above it all. We must actively guard our hearts and always remember –

Her prosperity does not make me inferior. And I choose to cheer her on because community rises above competition.

Compassion sets us free, perseverance pushes us forward, and comparison cannot hold us down when our words are wings of gratitude and our heart is guarded from the negativity of this dark and broken world.

If no one has told you lately, then please let me be the first… You are good enough. You are braver than you believe and more daring than you know. Every scar that you carry and every worry in your past, has shaped you into a truly remarkable human being.

And such a brave and unrelenting person is deserving of something greater. You are worthy of something greater. A love that fills your heart and brings joy like a spark to your soul. You were made to endure. You were created to seek out your own characterization of success and chart a course for your life unlike any other.

Never lose sight of what makes you uniquely beautiful.

Because it is that uniqueness which makes you… you.

Overcoming Comparison in a Creative Industry | Tips for Wedding Photographers

It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the comparison game and in a world where every waking moment revolves around a phone or a computer – we have to intentionally seek ways to rise above it! This is still something I struggle with… (I would be lying if I said otherwise!), but I’ve found an incredible sense of peace by being grateful and surrounding myself with women who believe in supporting one another above all else!

Steps to Overcoming Comparison:

1) Define the Culprits –

Although Social Media is a huge aspect of my business and has contributed to much of my success as a Creative Entrepreneur, it also comes with the price-tag of constantly being bombarded with an impossible standard of beauty, success, and aesthetics. And somewhere along the line, this mechanism that is designed to bring people together can so easily tear us all apart. So the first, and most difficult step, to overcoming comparison often lies in identifying the culprits and eliminating them from your field of view.

If Instagram in the morning leaves you feeling inadequate, post your image for the day and delete the application completely from your phone to prevent you from playing the comparison game. If there is a person you’ve placed on a pedestal and constantly measure up to or a negative voice that consistently brings you down, you may need to unfollow (at least temporarily) until you begin to rejuvenate + heal. Those culprits for comparison will always be there, and ignoring them won’t make them go away entirely, but it is the first step to taking control of the problem, protecting your creativity and establishing a more positive mindset.

2) Focus on Your Strengths + Redirect Your Energy in the Spirit of Gratitude

You have to guard your heart against the comparison monsters that bring about unrealistic insecurities within your life and business! I’ve found that by honing in on my strengths and the things that make me unique, rather than idolizing those aspects in others, I feel more fulfilled. Start by asking yourself: What am I good at? And how can I focus on using my strengths to better serve others in my life + business?

The power of positive self-talk should not be underestimated as well. Remember to give yourself a break and hold yourself to realistic goals rather than the perfected realities of social media! We’re taught from the time we’re young to be kind to others… but so often we forget to treat ourselves with that same compassion.

And one of the best ways to overcome comparison is to redirect your energy in the spirit of gratitude! Look around at the blessings that you have and truly be grateful. Find ways not to focus on what you’re lacking, but rather on what you have to offer others in the pursuit of service.

3) Placing Community above Competition

Seek to celebrate the accomplishments of others rather than use those achievements as pillars of comparison. I’ve also found that surrounding myself with positive people, voices of mutual support and guidance, help to keep my mind optimistic in times of growth within my business.

You are a reflection of the people that surround you and so much strength comes from building a group of friends who are encouraging, positive, and genuine.

are you nerding out?

Great news: there’s more where that came from! I have a whole library of resources waiting for you - consider it your personal brain-fuel bookshelf. The only thing you need to bring? A cup of coffee.


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Add Your Comment


  1. Lauren Swann

    March 5th, 2015 at 7:45 am

    This is such an amazing post! It’s so hard for anyone not to be comparing themselves these days with the Internet, let alone creatives! These are such great tips! One other thing I would add is getting to know the person that you’re comparing yourself to! If you look at their heart and who they are as a person, it’s a lot easier to want to cheer them on instead of pulling them down!!

  2. Ashley

    March 5th, 2015 at 7:47 am

    this is absolutely beautiful. Your words are so full of truth and wisdom! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  3. Stephanie Messick

    March 5th, 2015 at 8:03 am

    You are truly beautiful inside AND out!!!! xoxo!

  4. Amanda Hedgepeth

    March 5th, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Natalie it’s like I think I can’t love you more, and adore you more, and respect you more, and then it happens! And you speak to ALL of our hearts! I’m confident that I’ve grown a TON in this department of comparison but still exists! It’s still there every now and then. I love you for your heart and love you share!!! I am going to snuggle you so badly when I see you again next THIS MONTH!! OXOXOXO

  5. Caitlin

    March 5th, 2015 at 8:24 am

    love you + your heart! this post is perfect

  6. Tara Hope

    March 5th, 2015 at 8:27 am

    You are a wise woman Natalie! Beautifully written as always;)

  7. Laurie Brotherton

    March 5th, 2015 at 8:39 am

    This is just what I needed! Being so fresh in this industry I often find myself feeling inept. But recently I’ve discovered how important a community is, not just for my business, but mostly for myself. Thanks for this refreshing post!

  8. brooke azevedo

    March 5th, 2015 at 8:44 am

    This is amazing! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what other people are doing and not to see the blessings in our own lives!

  9. Michelle Elizabeth Schmidt

    March 5th, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Thank you for this!! Needed this post so badly! Thank you for sharing! ☺️

  10. Jaclyn

    March 5th, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Natalie, this post is just what I needed to read today. So many times I’ve compared myself to so many other photographers in the industry and often times it makes me want to give up because I don’t think I’ll ever be as good. Your quote “Her prosperity does not make you inferior. And I choose to cheer her on because community rises above competition” is so spot on. I’ve always loved, cheered for, and praised others for their work but I need to take time and understand that just because their business is thriving and mine isn’t doesn’t mean it won’t some day. I have to remember that I am good enough despite my obstacles (which are usually something that I put in the way myself with self doubt). Thank you so much for this post and your understanding heart 🙂

  11. Lisa

    March 5th, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Amazing and encouraging post! Thank you for sharing. It gave me a pep in my step and heart!

  12. Jessica

    March 5th, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Natalie, I don’t think this could have been more perfectly written… This definitely speaks to the heart and I see myself falling into this trap more often than I would like. I think I am definitely going to take your advice with the deleting the Instagram app because I find myself just staring in awe at others’ work for what seems hours and leaving miserable and discouraged. Thank you so much for your advice sweet girl! 🙂

  13. Karena Dixon

    March 5th, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Natalie, you are a beautiful and genuine soul. Thank you for sharing your heart. For posts like this that make our industry a better place for each of us to thrive.

  14. Meghan

    March 5th, 2015 at 9:40 am

    So beautiful! Thank you!

  15. Sami Orndorff

    March 5th, 2015 at 9:54 am

    “The perfect office, styled wardrobe, and polished nails that set the bar impossibly high for your yoga-pant wearing, pony-tail rocking, state on any given Monday morning.” >>>>> THIS!!! Yes!!! Haha, thank you thank you thank you for being YOU and sharing your heart 🙂 You are AMAZING, girl — don’t ever doubt it!!!

  16. Laurel

    March 5th, 2015 at 9:57 am

    This was a beautiful post! You have a gift with words, as well as with images.

  17. Nastja

    March 5th, 2015 at 9:58 am

    “the only person I should ever compare myself to is a younger version of me”

    Totally agree with you Natalie. Great post with so many wonderful advice!

  18. Maggie Trice

    March 5th, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Here you go again! Speaking straight to my heart! Thank you for being fearless and transparent!

  19. Brea

    March 5th, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Such a NECESSARY post! Thank you for doing these!!

  20. Sarah Anne Hayes

    March 5th, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Natalie, this was incredible. And just what I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing your heart, lady.

  21. Stephanie

    March 5th, 2015 at 10:51 am

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! I have been a little discouraged this past week, and this post just reminded me of how important it is to be true to myself 🙂

    When I first started in photography, the sense of community in the industry wasn’t as important as it is now. It is so encouraging to know I am not alone out there, and that people that I look up to and admire go through the same things 🙂

    Thank you for not being afraid to share from your heart 🙂

  22. Uche

    March 5th, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Natalie, thank you for such an awesome post!! As a new business owner this is something I really needed to hear (read) to give me that boost I need to constantly be and believe in myself. It is not easy to speak (write) the hidden truths we all know & struggle with, so I applaud you for writing to our hearts. God bless you!!!

  23. Krista A. Jones

    March 5th, 2015 at 10:58 am

    This post is so beautiful Nat and SO needed! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of feeling inferior to others!

  24. Sarah Chase

    March 5th, 2015 at 11:12 am

    This is beautiful! I fell victim more than once, and it is such a heavy feeling to hold onto.

  25. Shannon Olona

    March 5th, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I’ve felt this a lot lately and really needed this today. Thank you!

  26. Jess

    March 5th, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Ahhhh!! This is SO beautiful and SO true. Every word. We all struggle with this and reading this post was a breath of fresh air…and a reminder that we aren’t in this alone. Thanks for sharing!! xoxoxo

  27. Alex Meyer

    March 5th, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Oh, Natalie!! This is so spot on and encouraging! Love this: “the only person I should ever compare myself to is a younger version of me.” Amen! Grateful for your leadership and vulnerability with all of this!

  28. Katie

    March 5th, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Oh Natalie you are amazing. I love this, I love hearing the words from your heart and I love how passionate you are about this! <3 <3 hugs

  29. Macy

    March 5th, 2015 at 11:51 am

    This post is perfect. As someone beginning their journey in a creative business, reading these words struck a cord. I can’t wait to see where this creative life takes me. Thank you for this!

  30. Shaina Koren

    March 5th, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Natalie! This is such a beautiful post and resonates so much with me. We are ALL unique and those things that make us different are our strengths. I too often forget to focus on those! Thank you for being so open and honest with your audience and allowing us all to benefit from your wisdom. <3 xo

  31. Tatyana

    March 5th, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    So helpful and beautiful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  32. Megan K Marcus

    March 5th, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    This is the best post that has ever existed in our industry.

    I thought it was over when you finished preaching such a great message… and then you gave STEPS.


    #best. #post. #ever.

  33. jamie delaine

    March 5th, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    oh natalie. i wrote a post about this (never published it… it’s just on my laptop!) because I was struggling with it so much! so lovely to meet you. wish you lived closer. <3

  34. Elizabeth Bailey

    March 5th, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    What a wonderful writer you are. How did you get so wise at such a young age? You seem to be what we lovingly refer to as an “old soul”. Thank you for this thoughtful and thought provoking blog post. I so agree with you about the problems of comparing one’s self to others. I love the comment from Lauren that “getting to know the person you are comparing yourself to is very helpful”. The person created by social media may not be the person you meet. Usually the person you actually meet is more humble, more kind, and more real with insecurities of their own. We all need to be reminded that we are ourselves, our only competition and our work and goals should be directed toward whatever makes us stronger and happier. I love, love your quote “Her prosperity does not make you inferior. And I choose to cheer her on because community rises above competition”. Adding that to our office bulletin board. Thank you!

  35. Sarah Bohl

    March 5th, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    thank you so much for sharing Natalie! I thought I had tamed the monster until I started redesigning my website and have been scouring through dozens of others’ pages to see what I want. Comparison reared its ugly head and your post was the perfect antidote. 🙂 thank you!

  36. Ashley

    March 5th, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Love you and you are awesome!!! <3

  37. Lauren Carnes

    March 5th, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    This could not be more spot on! All of this makes me do *praise hands!* Thank you so much for your honesty on this topic and just for constant wisdom here on your blog! Amazing!

  38. Shalese Danielle

    March 5th, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    I have been STRUGGLING with this lately. I can’t believe how overwhelmed I feel when it’s barely March. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing so much of your heart. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in the struggle of Comparing.

  39. Jeffrey Dobbs

    March 5th, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    This is such true and great advice! As a photographer, I am frequently caught in this trap (even with my wife, who is my business partner). These words are definitely something I needed to hear. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  40. Dilia

    March 5th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    This post speaks to my heart and soul. I’ve been there, doubting my work, myself as a photographer, and lacking motivation. It’s comparison that has made the doubt so much stronger and it definitely is a monster. You shared in one of your newsletters that creatives should build community and connect. I’ve made it one of my priorities to do just that by reaching out to photographers in the area. That alone has allowed me to gain more confidence because I have had the opportunity to learn from more seasoned professionals. Now it’s a matter of having more confidence in sharing my work with others and actually posting on my blog. I’m so grateful to have found photographers like you that constantly inspire me and motivate me to indulge in my passion and get lost in what I love to do.

  41. Amanda

    March 5th, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    LOVE this! Such truth in every sentence! thank you for sharing Natalie!

  42. Rebecca

    March 5th, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Thank you for posting this; it was a great reminder! Here in the Savannah area there are so many other talented floral designers that it can be discouraging at times as I start my own business. However, I am more often inspired by them rather than overwhelmed with comparison. #3 especially hit home with me. I find a lot of joy from making local businesses free floral arrangements that have helped me get the word out about my business. Thanks again!

  43. Nikki Seiler

    March 5th, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Oh my word. Breathlessly free-ing and something we need to constantly remind ourselves of. Thank you for this amazing piece of artwork of the heart that really puts everything into perspecitve!!!

  44. Ashley

    March 5th, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    this is absolutely wonderful! Thank you for writing this. Truly inspirational and sometimes even though we think it and feel it, it’s heart warming to know we are not alone. =)

  45. Meaghan

    March 5th, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    LOVE this Natalie. 🙂

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  47. Kimmie

    March 6th, 2015 at 12:33 am

    This post. It just says it all, and your vulnerability just spears right into my heart. I hate admitting that comparison holds me back, but it does. And it hurts and tears me down. And number three undoubtedly is the hardest thing to do! BUT it’s the truth and the truth can set us free!

  48. Amy Dunkel

    March 6th, 2015 at 12:33 am

    This was Beautiful, Thank you.

  49. Jeff Dostalek

    March 6th, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I had to read this several times because of tears that kept flowing. I have been this person. The one to compare my life, my craft and my status against everyone else. It is truly exhausting. Thank you for this amazing post to redirect those of us that forget whats important in life; each other.

  50. Corinne

    March 6th, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    As I was reading this I pressed the keyboard play button to restart my spotify. The song that just began to play was “Monster” by Imagine Dragons. Spotify knows!

  51. Valisha

    March 6th, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Love this! Well done.

  52. Danielle Blocker

    March 6th, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Natalie, I love reading everything you write, it’s always beautiful, but this was just perfection!

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking + just a few weeks ago after making a great connection with another photographer, I wrote these words:

    “Work together not against each other, We’re all a community not competition.”

    I recently moved to Virginia + left behind a really fantastic community. I know there are so many amazing photographers here, but everyone is so good that they are crazy busy! Initially I felt like I was just one more competitor moving in to their territory. I really want to help build a community where everyone feels welcome, so I set out to accomplish this very task + give back so hopefully others won’t struggle like I did.

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  54. Mariann Kovats

    March 6th, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Natalie, that is just awesome! Even just a few days ago, I felt, I should just give up trying to build a business, “I am just not good enough….”. It is very challenging not to compare myself to others, but I will try to apply all the great things you suggested. Those are really truth, we just have to sometimes hear it from others to able to redirect our thoughts of ourselves.
    Thank you very much and looking forward reading more from you.

  55. Sammie Brown

    March 6th, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Thank you so much! This posts was beautifully written and the timing is spot on. I just came back from WPPI which is an incredibly uplifting and motivating event to attend, however those twinges of doubt can begin to creep in when you surround yourselves with others who you idolize and envy.

  56. Margie

    March 6th, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    This is just what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

  57. Sophia Jordan

    March 6th, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Wow. Natalie, thank you for your heart, passion, and encouragement The honesty and care you obviously inherit is evident!!!! Thank you for this!

  58. Stephanie Cruz

    March 9th, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Amazing! I needed this!

  59. Molly

    March 10th, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Natalie! I love this post! Thank you so much for writing it. You have such a talent for writing and getting to the hearts of many. The good and the ugly. 🙂 It resonates well with me, and is a very healing article. LOVE!

  60. Ashley Danyew

    March 13th, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    What a lovely post – thank you so much for the encouragement and for sharing your heart!

  61. Tami Womack

    March 13th, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Incredible post. I so wish you had been around ~50~ yrs ago and I had read “this” then.

  62. Nikki Santerre

    March 16th, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    So blessed to know you and call you friend. Look at how this post has impacted so many people in such an incredibly positive way! You’re an amazing person, Natalie! xoxo!

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  66. Jenna Christina

    March 28th, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I love this post! It’s been on my to-read-list for a few days and I finally got to it. And it’s glorious, thank you for writing it Natalie!

    I started about doing newborn photos last summer, and the only newborn photos I was bombarded with were the “baby in basket” styled images, so that’s what I started doing. I wondered why I didn’t quite feel as excited about these images as I usually do with my model work, and realized my model work is more organic and concentrates on the connection between me and the model. So I started making photographs of newborns together with their parents and siblings, which captures their connections and I feel so much more joy! And have stopped comparing myself to the newborn/family photographers as a result. In my more documentary style of work there just is no “perfect” 🙂


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    May 1st, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    My goodness, this post could not have spoken to me more! I recently battled my “monster” and found that unfollowing specific Instagram accounts helped tremendously – giving me the time and space I needed to “rejuvenate + heal.” I had to remind myself that I could always refollow them later if I wanted to! THANK YOU for sharing!

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  80. Heather Walker

    August 20th, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Loved this post so much. It is so hard when I look at all the instagram posts and adore the pretty, but also do feel inadequate many days because of it. I really appreciate you taking the time to write this and I plan on going right to your post on “Loneliness of Entrepreneurship” next.

  81. Ashley

    August 20th, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I love this post. It seriously speaks to my soul right now. Something to go right alongside the last point, is what I found works for me, quite like you said, if I find something positive in my said competition, or comment positive things and lift them up, I feel so much better about them, myself and how I’m feeling. The Comparison Monster slips away as I treat others in life the way I would hope to be treated 🙂

  82. Sarah Jane Dunaway

    August 24th, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I love this, Natalie. I find it appropriate that it is Monday morning and I am reading your post while wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt. 🙂

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    September 7th, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    […] Overcoming Comparison by Natalie Frank […]

  87. Furthering My Education | Evan + Lee Photography | Louisville Wedding Photographers

    October 23rd, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    […] are a wonderful light in this industry and people who genuinely crave #communityovercompetition (as Natalie Franke has said): Katelyn James (and her husband Michael) in Virginia, Justin & Mary in Connecticut, and Amy […]

  88. Community Over Competition | Tuesdays Together Greensburg - Welcome

    December 14th, 2015 at 9:05 am

    […] I had every intension of finishing it, but I let it sit. About a month after I stared this post, Natalie Franke wrote one as well about Overcoming Comparison. I thought hers more eloquent and since she was more […]

  89. Emma Willich

    January 28th, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I love that you list steps to overcome comparing yourself to others. There’s no place for comparison when you’re trying to move forward. <3

  90. Happy One Year to the Rising Tide Society! » Virginia Wedding Photographer | Bethanne Arthur Photography

    May 6th, 2016 at 12:22 am

    […] and Krista Jones launched the Rising Tide Society, and this happened shortly after Natalie’s blog post about overcoming comparison went live and started making waves on the world wide web. I know that what they imagined for this […]

  91. Maison Meredith Photography BlogCommunity Over Competition | Business Post | The Movement. - Maison Meredith Photography Blog

    March 26th, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    […] issues of comparison (it’s not just for photographers!!)–the article can be found here. And just like the article isn’t for photographers, the movement isn’t either: […]

  92. Community over Competition - Elva M Design Studio

    March 27th, 2017 at 11:34 am

    […] – NATALIE FRANKE, Overcoming Comparison […]

  93. Community Over Competition | Business Post | The Movement. – Showit Importer

    May 10th, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    […] issues of comparison (it’s not just for photographers!!)–the article can be found here. And just like the article isn’t for photographers, the movement isn’t either: […]

  94. Origins of a Movement – TheCreativeCollab

    February 22nd, 2018 at 9:13 am

    […] Franke, discovered The Loneliness of Entrepreneurship and published a blog post on that and on Overcoming Comparison.  Soon after these blog posts, she founded the Rising Tide Society. Founded in 2015 on the […]

  95. Community Over Competition –

    June 11th, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    […] other photographers, designers, small business owners instead of competitors. It was an amazing blog and I LOVED her heart behind […]

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