It happens to the best of us. That nagging green monster that creeps up over our shoulder when a peer has a high point in their careers or personal lives.
—Your best friend gets married before you do.
—A close college classmate gets a big promotion.
—A former coworker gets his first book published.
—A sistergirl in your circle closes on a home or starts a lucrative business.
Leaders and successful people usually surround themselves with… well … other leaders and successful people, so obviously there will be many high points to share in celebrating throughout one’s life. Also, most leaders are competitive and constantly challenge themselves, especially when they see others doing well.
That said, it can be easy for jealousy to creep in every now and then. I’ve even been guilty. Though I’m always one to be happy for anybody pursuing their passion and purpose and finding success in any arena, there are things I aspire to acquire or achieve that haven’t manifested themselves yet but has happened for peers or others I interact with or admire.
The difference is, a hater will let the thoughts fester and morphe into insecurity, negativity and conflict. A confident boss who is secure in their abilities and purpose will acknowledge the thoughts, nip them in the bud and keep it moving on their path to success.
Here are five steps I take in squashing those feelings of “Why isn’t that me?” or “How come she/he has ______?”
1. Recognize you’re human and acknowledge the feelings for what they are. Oftentimes the motive behind this is either insecurity because of something I could be doing better or it could be that my time is coming, just not right now.
2. Identify (or remind yourself about) your wow factors, why you’re the special unique person you are, and the great things you’ve accomplished. Focus on those things instead of the great things about that other person or the great things happening in their lives. Maximize those skills and talents and focus on pursuing your own greatness.
3. Remember the standard of success that you’ve set for yourself. When you base your life’s success on other people’s success or the way they choose to live their lives, you’ve already lost. Just because a friend was able to close on a home—while you’re still paying off student loan debt—doesn’t mean you’re inadequate or any less deserving. It’s just the way the chips fell. Make a plan and achieve according to your own pace and plan. That’s meant for them is for them, and what’s meant for you is for you.
4. Turn that hater energy into fuel for motivation. You don’t want to make everything a competition between friends and peers (that’s never good for morale or longevity), but it’s nice to think of it as that moderate push to step your game up. For example, one of my favorite sistergirls motivates me all the time because whenever she has a win, I can say, “Wow, she did that? Amazing! Well, let me get on the ball with that project I’ve been procrastinating starting.”
5. Recognize the learning lesson and power of positive reciprocity. That cliche, ‘A hater never prospers’ is definitely true. Maybe there are some short-term gains but the long-term wins are far and few. I’ve seen this so many times, where someone is so busy being jealous of someone elses’ successes that they fail to focus on pursuing their own and end up getting left behind. There’s nothing boss about constantly being envious of someone because not only is it draining, it’s self-defeating. When you put out positive energy (whether being happy for someone, supporting their efforts or ventures or providing resources and encouragement), you get it back in your own life. I love being happy for people—and, beyond that, helping people succeed— because that in turn plants seeds for great things to happen in my life. Be happy for that friend who got the promotion and ask them, “Hey, what can I learn or how can I get the same results?” or even leverage that to create an opportunity of your own. You want to be a wife or husband? Who better to ask than your married best friend? You want to close on a home? Talk with that besti who did it.
I challenge everyone, when that green-eyed monster appears with the two-faced smile, to take the above five steps that will lead to more success in your life. You’ll be so swamped with boss moves, you won’t even have the time or energy to be envious.