Jealous Much | Creative Jealousy and Various Shades of Green
In the absence of face-to-face community, Dani Molyneux and June Mineyama-Smithson have been catching up over the past year…
…We’ve been co-mentoring, acting as each other’s sounding board, and providing ourselves with a boost in the process. It’s been pretty awesome, and every catch up we both leave more inspired and motivated.
One of the things we’ve chatted about is ‘creative jealousy’. Even more prominent since we’ve been on social media so much during the pandemic. The bombardment of everyone else’s beautiful work and achievements — if your head isn’t in the right place — or you’re having a slow patch at work — can be really hard to deal with.
10 Ways to Help You Through Those Pangs of Envy
And whilst we would say that most of us want to see our colleagues and buddies do really brilliant stuff, it’s only natural that sometimes we feel that stab of ‘not fair’ or ‘why not me ‘waaaaaaahh’. We are only small humans.With that in mind, here lies our top 10 ways to help you through those pangs of envy and channel them into something more productive and joyous.
01. Get Cheerleading
Dani: If you feel that initial pang of jealousy, turn it into something less ‘bleugh’ by dropping a positive comment or a supportive DM to the person that triggered it. Even if it’s to say, ‘wow, that work is amazing, I feel really jealous, keep up the awesome work’. Most of the time, you’ll get a nice comment back. Everyone likes to hear a genuinely supportive comment, (apart from the odd few egos) and you might make a new connection or even a friend — awwww. It doesn’t change how you initially felt but it does start to zap a bit of negativity and twist it into something way nicer. And of course, spreading the love is a bit good.
02. Give a Bit Back
Dani: It really helps to give back and share the load. We’ve really spurred each other on over the past year. It’s helped to chat honestly about stuff that’s bothered us, asked questions and figured stuff out between us. We both have also taken part in various mentoring schemes where we get the opportunity to help out creatives kicking off their careers. I think this is a two way street, we share knowledge and experience and get back enthusiasm and new thinking. Time isn’t always on your side for this, but when you do have a little spare, it can make a world of difference.
03. Hide Your Precious Eyes
Dani: If you are feeling a bit bombarded and it’s making you sink, repeat to yourself ‘social media isn’t life’. We know everyone carefully curates it. (I’m writing this covered in soup which I exploded and spilled all over myself earlier — I won’t be capturing that moment on screen. So if it’s not working, change it tout suite. Muting is fab for people that you generally love (but need a little break from). But don’t be afraid to unfollow if something isn’t for you. We can’t like and follow every little thing. You can check back in when you’re feeling stronger.
04. Join A Gang
June: Creative life and entrepreneurship can be tough but you don’t have to fight alone. Join communities of like-minded people who can give you advice, recommend a collaborator or supplier, listen and agree while you mourn about a nightmare client. There are so many to choose from: The Dots, Ladies, Wine & Design, Being Freelance, DIFTK, The Arena to name a few. I am a member of Found & Flourish, a female entrepreneurs network. It’s been great mixing with people from different industries.
05. Write That Shit Down
Dani: It might help to acknowledge why you feel the way you do. Do a bit of, ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. I mean, it’s rarely about the other person and usually about yourself. We are often our own worst critics. Why is that?! So try to figure out what is really bothering you and if that’s something you can do something about. What’s the trigger? Is there something you’ve been putting off or wanting to explore? Focus it back on you, give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate your new brilliant self with a biscuit.
06. Make a Brag Bank
June: This is what my mentor Amanda Overs (I Can Make Shoes) told me. Make a brag bank to look back when you are feeling low. A brag bank is a list of your personal and work show-off moments such as ‘I drew abstract patterns on my kindergarten art pads’ and ‘My final year degree show work was selected for the D&AD New Blood Exhibition.’ Just start writing them down and soon you’ll see you’ve come a long way. Also when someone said nice things about me in emails or articles, I put them in my ‘Win’ folder. It’s my safe place to go when I’m feeling wobbly with imposter syndrome.
07. Get Out of Your Own Head [Dani’s Top Tip]
Dani: It’s doubtful you are the only one feeling like this. We’ve all really been through it these past few years, so reach out and ask for help if you’re struggling. A brew and a chat with a friendly face will do wonders when you’re having a bad patch. The main thing is to get out of your own head, where you may already be coming to crazy conclusions and concocting wandering stories. A dose of reality and another perspective can bring you to a way healthier place.
08. Define Your Own Look of Success
June: Chances are that you were sold a quite one-dimensional idea of success from your childhood: work hard, get into a good university, get a good job, get rich and live happily ever after. When I was a student in 90s Tokyo, I thought being successful meant becoming an international secretary in Chanel suits driving a red Ferrari (seriously, girl?). I didn’t take a moment to define my look of success and was bought into someone else's. Now my idea of success is to spread optimism to as many people as possible and earn money from it. Over to you.
09. Ruminate Then Motivate
Dani: Try to turn jealousy into a gentle nudge of motivation. We are all capable of doing awesome things when the right mood takes us. Clearly don’t copy people’s work, no no no. That is never a good idea and will lead only to tears and shame. But you can use other people’s success to explore what moves you could make. Teeny steps and achievable goals are always easier than massive ones. And check back on what you’ve done already. Sometimes it feels like you’re not getting anywhere but when you reflect on the year for example, you’ve really made some progress. Celebrate that, lots. You are ace. Yes you can have more biscuits.
10. Remember That There Are Abundant Opportunities for Everyone to Succeed [June’s Top Tip]
June: A university may have limited places for entry but the Universe has unlimited opportunities for everyone to succeed. Someone’s success doesn’t rob your success. There is always a place for you. Nothing is permanent in life, good or bad. So it’s best to make everything (opportunities, money) flow like a river. Often I feel I get luckier when I’m being generous, whether emotionally and financially. Being stagnant and clinging on tend to invite muddiness and negativity.
— The Authors —
June Mineyama-Smithson (MAMIMU)
London-based Japanese artist/graphic designer on a mission to spread optimism. Lecturer at London College of Communication (UAL), D&AD judge ’21 and speaker at Design Manchester and Ladies, Wine & Design. Her bold joyful work has been featured internationally on ITV, Creative Boom, Design Milk, SCMP andCow Parade Niseko.
Dani Molyneux (Dotto)
Dani Molyneux is a typographic artist and designer. She launched her own practice, Dotto in 2017 to make meaningful work with good people. People who have something to say, and want to say it loud. Dotto is community, collaboration and taking up space. Powerful messages through playful type.
We are planning to talk about ‘Creative Jealousy’ more in depth —probably in a form of videos, Instagram Live or else...we are still figuring things out. If want to know when they come out, sign up. You’ll be the first one to know.