It can be so easy when you are just beginning a new trade, job, business etc to compare yourself to all those who just seem to have their gosh dang stuff together. You don’t see the months, years, and even decades of work put in to get there.
“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else middle.”
The reason, I think, the quote said middle and not end is because we should never stop learning. We should never come to a place that learning is beneath us and we brush away potential growth. You may be many stages ahead of someone but the opportunity to learn from that individual is open, and their way could be a better way of doing things! Its a cycle of learning, teaching, and relearning.
Stages are natural in any trade. Stages of struggle. Stages of, “why the heck did I think I could do this”? Stages of, “wow I actually did this”! It is easy to look at my father, Jeremiah Watt’s, work and forget that he once struggled with drawing scrolls to fit a piece or to sharpen gravers and control depth of cuts. Am I saying he is perfect now, no, but his frequency of mishaps has gone down for sure. Stages can make you feel alienated from other makers because of your self perceived level of skill. When you are in a new stage and things are harder it is way easier to focus on all that which you do not know.
Try and find others in all stages. Those which you can aspire to, those you could help in some way, and those who just get the stage you are in. I have heard it said that you know something best when you can explain is simply, and that is TRUTH! Seek out ways you could practice teaching it will highlight both the areas you have mastered and those that need work. Feedback from those you could help is sometimes even more valuable because they ask questions people in a stage ahead may not ask. Also find those you could learn from and make connections. You're not as far away from those individuals as you may think. A simple message or email could create a pathway to a relationship. Be brave and try it! Intentionally seek out those who are in same stage to provide a support group as you grow. They will understand the struggles and maybe have a great idea of how to move past the obstacles!
So remember when you find yourself inkling towards comparison, we are all at different stages and we can all learn from someone!
Till next time, stay positive!