Do you want to know what feeling I despise the most when I feel it?
I can handle anger. Grief. Sadness. But when envy pops up, my chest tightens up. And then it moves to fear. Scarcity. Loss. Insecurity. Despair.
And I hate that when I see people doing what I do, going after the same kinds of clients & companies to help them create better workplaces or cultures or whatever, that I feel envious. Because I like people and I dislike having bad feelings about people doing good things.
No matter how much I don’t like it, envy is a normal feeling. It is ego-feeding and helps to ensure our self-preservation and survival. And for some people, envy kicks up the competitive side a few degrees and leads someone to get creative or inspire them to work a little harder and follow-thru on things they had been procrastinating on, which can lead to good outcomes.
But envy, can also limit our abilities to form good, quality connections and relationships that can help us in our businesses. And if envy really gets out of hand, it can lead people to do malicious things to other person or their business. So, it’s best find ways to keep envy from slowing us down or hurting us.
Why We Might Feel Envious
Again, feeling jealous or envious of another person is normal. But if these feelings are pretty common for you and distracting, then it can mean that they are grounded in pretty deeply due to living with years of emotional neglect and scarcity. Maybe this was from how you grew up. Or it could be how life is right now, especially if you are currently unemployed or underemployed and feeling the financial and emotional strains.
Essentially envy is a signal that we could be in danger because resources are low and it’s clear we don’t have enough and someone else is taking things we need, whether that’s food, shelter, or clients.
But if we learned through watching others around us that no matter how hard we work, we’ll never have enough, then envy tells us to give up. And instead of taking actions, envy keeps feeding our doubts about ourselves by us making us focus on what we don’t have instead of on what we can do. And as business owners and entrepreneurs, that’s a risky emotional trap to fall into.
Converting Envy to Admiration
Admiration is the same awareness that someone has something you don’t have but without the icky, self-defeating feelings that could get you stuck or wear you down. And again, if you are in a state of scarcity or grew up with scarcity, it’s not easy to convert from envy to admiration because our protective system is telling us we can afford to. But I have a few tips that can help.
First, what do you do when you scroll and see someone posting about their business and you start to feel envious? Well, do you ever find yourself intentionally not supporting someone else because you are afraid doing so would hurt you and your business? Yeah, me too.
That’s why I will do the opposite of what my little green friend is telling me to do is telling me to. I hit Like/Support/Clap or whatever when I see other people sharing their success even when I feel those little tensions of jealousy stirring up inside of me.
Does this make envy go away? No. But it does start to kickstart some positive feelings and good neurochemicals like serotine to mix in with the stress hormones that were triggered. And when that happens, you can stabilize your mood at the moment and begin to train your brain to not jump to danger mode every time you see your competition sharing a win.
The next thing to do is if someone has something you truly want for yourself and business, then take action and ask them what they are doing. I mean, why not right?
Rhonda Snyder, Vice President Business Development Officer at a Seattle-are bank agrees, “I find it interesting how people don’t want someone in their industry to be in their ‘network.’ I actually think it’s a benefit to network with all industries. When you’re in the same industry you can learn from each other and support each other in a way people in other industries can’t.”
Remember, if you are working hard on your business and you keep seeing other women doing what you do and getting what you want, that’s a good thing! Because it’s all evidence and proof that what you want can happen and if they can do it, why not you? And make sure you’re not comparing yourself to a person who’s been at their business longer than you. No matter how much we may not like it, there is no such thing as overnight success in entrepreneurship.
So, keep cheering your competition on and take notes and eventually you’ll be there too.
Ameé Quiriconi is the Founder of Activity Girl, LLC. She is a leadership coach for entrepreneurs and businesses. She helps clients build self-awareness, emotional and social intelligence, self-confidence, and communication abilities to help them grow professionally and personally. She hosts a mental health podcast called “One Broken Mom.” She is also the author of “The Fearless Woman’s Guide to Starting a Business: What Every Woman Needs to Know to Be a Courageous, Authentic, and Unstoppable Entrepreneur.”