It’s never bothered me all that much when others around me are doing well. I’m a firm believer that “a rising tide lifts all boats” so generally I’ve celebrated the successes of others even if I’m struggling to see my own wins. Admittedly, though, doing this was a lot easier when I wasn’t in my first year of running a business, trying to create something out of nothing and working every day to build something that matters.
So how do I deal with the jealousy and self-doubt that creep in every time someone around me gets a big win, celebrates a success or is just in general killing it in their field?
It’s been my experience that the longer you try to ignore something uncomfortable, the harder it gets to deal with in the long run. So when I’m feeling jealous about what someone else is doing, I start by acknowledging it. I recognize the achievement and admit to myself that I wish it was mine and not theirs. And then I take it one step further – if it’s someone I know, I congratulate them. While it may not be the easiest thing to do, I believe it’s important to celebrate others’ achievements, for a few reasons. First, I want to be a part of a community that supports and celebrates each other. Second, being happy for someone else helps me to be a better, more compassionate person, and that is something I want to see more of in this world. Lastly, I believe in small gestures – I know how much it means when someone recognizes and honors my successes – so I want to give that gift back to others.
So as hard as it may be, the next time someone you know seems like they are killing it, make sure to give them your congratulations and acknowledge what they have accomplished – it’s good for your soul.
Proof That the Reward Exists
When someone else achieves what I’ve been working towards, I’ve learned to see it as proof that the reward exists. Someone hits a revenue threshold or gets coverage in a national magazine? It proves it can be done. My competitor’s sales are increasing? It means there’s a growing market there. So instead of feeling jealous that someone else got the recognition or success that I’m craving, I see it as proof that that level of success can be obtained, and it just drives me harder to get to that point.
Learn From Their Success
There’s also something to be learned from those who have come before us. Even though I’d love to be the first to win that award or land the big client, I have learned to appreciate the value of being the second to something. While there is merit in being the first, there is also great risk and often, expensive mistakes on the way. By being second, I have the opportunity to learn from those who have come first and use their experiences to make my road to the top a smoother one. So any time someone I know gets there before I do, I like to evaluate how they got there – what bumps or hurdles did they come across along the way? What strategies did they implement that worked? This doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to copy and paste what they did – but I can use it as a framework for what does and doesn’t work as I figure out my own unique way to get there.
Remember It’s Not All Good
Especially in this Instagram-age, it’s so easy to think everyone else’s life is perfectly easy. How many posts do we see touting beautiful lifestyles with “hard-fought” wins that don’t seem so hard-fought? We don’t really share or celebrate the tough times, do we? At some point we lost sight of how things really are – that most successes are only won after long, difficult roads, and that hard work and tough decisions, not Instagram-worthy selfies, are the key to achieving your dreams. So every time someone around me does something I wish I had and that feeling of jealousy and self-doubt erupts in me, I remind myself that their road to success was likely not an easy one. That the picture posted online, or the speech given over a champagne toast is just a glossing over of what it really took to get there. Late nights, missed family outings, lost time – the many sacrifices that were made to result in that “win.” It’s a good reminder that they likely made the same sacrifices that I am now making – and a good vision of what the future will hold if I continue to persevere.
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
I’m truly a believer of this and when it comes to ridding my mind of jealousy and self-doubt in the face of others’ success, it’s what gets me through. I believe that the success of others will help me rise, and vice versa. The more that I can support and empower others to be successful, the more that they will turn around and do the same for me. So when someone I know is killing it, instead of secretly wishing they would trip over their feet or rip their dress, I celebrate their achievements and I do this openly, loudly and proudly, because I know that collectively, our success and our influence just increased. When I stop looking at everyone else as them vs. me and instead see us as a community with a shared mission, I recognize the value of lending my support and encouragement and know that it will pay dividends in the end.
While it’s not easy, changing your mindset around others’ successes not only frees your mind of the attention-sucking jealousy and self-doubt that can destroy you, it also enables you to be more compassionate and ultimately, more successful yourself.