Are You Envious of Other Peoples Success? The 3 Steps I Took To Help End Professional Jealousy.
Envy: a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, or possessions.
A few years ago I worked at an inbound call-center as a technical helpdesk analyst. I hated my job and felt as if I was just drifting through life day after day. I always wanted more out of, but felt like I was on the proverbial hamster wheel. Running and running, yet getting nowhere fast. I saw others that were hired after me being promoted above me. One after another I watched as they moved forward and I remained stagnant.
There was this one tech that had no confidence when it came to customers or his technical ability. He had only half the technical knowledge I did, but unlike me he was always positive. Eventually he was promoted to a level two tech over me I was furious. I didn’t say anything and kept it inside, pretending to be content.
One day an accountant needed my assistance with a problem so I walked over. He got up to retrieve a print job, leaving a record of our salaries on his monitor. Not only did this particular tech receive a promotion, he was making $15k more a year than I was. I was irate! I allowed my attitude to get so bad that it eventually affected my performance. When the company decided it was time to restructure I was one of the people let go. I honestly at the time didn’t care, but years later struggled to make the money I was making there.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha
For many of us our lives are filled with comparisons. We often compare ourselves to other people. How much more money they make than us, how bigger their house is than ours, how nicer their car is. We can even go as far as comparing significant others. I would be lying if I were to say that I didn’t still struggle with comparisons. I know as an inspiring entrepreneur and father that I must put aside things such as envy or jealousy, and guide my heart toward honest contentment if I ever plan to be successful in life. By honest contentment I don’t mean to content with mediocrity or settling for less. I mean being thankful for the things I have right now.
Stop comparing your beginning to someone else’s highlight reel.
Often we see a successful person and become discouraged thinking we may never get to that point. We think things like “They were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. They have no idea what it’s like to struggle.” As an entrepreneur, you may look at someone else’s brand and think you will never get to that point. This is a very self-defeating attitude.
My brother is a successful software engineer making six figures a year. He has a nice home, a beautiful wife, and five beautiful children. I could look at where he is now and be jealous. However, I was there to witness the struggle he and his wife went through to get to this point.
I remember when they were newlyweds with a baby daughter and dirt poor. He worked part-time as a Sam’s Club cashier, making $7.00 an hour, while going to school full-time. They had a little red car he paid $200 for and a computer that was donated to them. They couldn’t afford things like renting movies or video games so I would bring my PlayStation over and rent videos for us all to watch. He jokingly said that they were so poor that graham crackers were a luxury. They lived this way while he worked hard and she supported him 100 percent. I see where they came from, and he is an example of where persistence and hard work can take you.
Where are you right now? You may not be a poor as my brother was, but you may be starting a business with no idea how you are going to make it work. I once heard someone say “It takes years to build an overnight success”. Have faith, keep that fire burning, and honor the pace. I’m not saying it will take 10 years, but it won’t happen overnight.
Celebrate Success, Even The Success of Others.
I know it’s not always easy to congratulate those that have achieved the success you long for. Even after success is achieved, some hate to see others obtain the level of success, as if another person’s success threatens their own.
Urban dictionary calls this a hater. Here is the exact definition.
Hater: A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.
I absolutely hated being around anyone more successful than I, especially if I felt I was more intelligent that they were. I would avoid visiting others out of potential jealousy of how they lived. I couldn’t take it. How can these people achieve more success than I? I was seeing what these people had now, but not what they had to do to get there.
While listening to a podcast I heard the guest say that “When you compare yourself to someone else, you are insulting yourself. “ I realized that I had to stop insulting myself. Stop being a hater. When a close friend and his wife finally saved enough to put a down payment on a house they wanted for years, I was happy for them. I even went to their house warming and helped them move. I decided to congratulate, not hate.
Everything Isn’t What It Seem. Be Content With What You Have.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for God has said: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Many people give off the illusion of wealth in order to try and impress others. I see this every day with people whose self-worth is all in the labels they wear. People that will spend their last dollar to get a pair of $200 shoes or $100 jeans, all in an attempt to be popular. I knew a guy that had six kids by four women, only made $17 an hour and most of that went to child support. However, whenever I saw him, he had on expensive clothing. I had a neighbor that had an entire outfit he was so proud of that he kept the tags on. When he saw me walk out of our apartment building he asked if I could loan him $20 for gas. Dave Ramsey said it best when he said “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
The average millionaire drives a two-year –old or older car. I work with executives that are millionaires on a daily basis. However, if you were to see them walking down the street or in the mall, you wouldn’t know it. They wear old sneakers and carry tattered book bags. I overheard one say how she loves to shop at T.J. Maxx, and she’s a millionaire. They don’t feel the need to impress people because they know they have money and don’t care about impressing other people with it.
I always felt that because I don’t have a lot of money that I am missing out on some secret to get rich. Thinking that if I learn this secret that all my problems will be solved. I had to learn that my net worth cannot determine level of happiness.
I had to learn to be content with what I have and who I am today. No material gain can cure discontentment. Yes, we all like nice things, don’t get me wrong. But will having more ever make you content? The real question we must ask ourselves is this. “Do I really value who I am right now?” I had to ask myself this question. And yes, yes I do.