Career & Finance

The Little Green Monster Is At It Again!

3 Key Reasons to Embrace and Grow from Jealousy


I am jealous.

Yes, I am openly admitting it.

It is a natural feeling. Yet, so often, we are told that it is not good to be jealous. Jealousy is often tied to the idea of the ‘green monster’ coming out, being ‘green with envy’ or being something that ‘rears its ugly head’. From our earliest memories, we are told jealousy is a bad thing.

I have come to find that it is not, if you use it in the right way. Good leaders know this and they are able to use it to their advantage. You can too, whether you lead a team or just in your day-to-day interactions with friends, family, co-workers and clients.

Know Why It Exists

The important part is you should focus on the reason the jealousy is there in the first place. Jealousy, like any other emotions, has either negative or positive connotations. One example for me was a friend of mine, Leila, who has just received the copies of the books that she has written. I was jealous. When I looked at the reason behind it, there was nothing negative in the emotion. I was after all happy for her. My jealousy was a manifestation of my own impatience for my book to be in print. It was great to have a laugh with Leila about it and have her discuss some of the stumbling points in her journey. This would not have happened if I had not been aware enough to look at why I was jealous, rather than suppressing the emotion.

Be Open About It In A Positive Way

Now I say positive, remember to remove any condescension from it. Another recent example for me was around TedX talks. One area I have yet to crack is the TedX talk. I have applied, but I did not even make the shortlist. Recently, a number of people close to me have made the shortlist. So, yes I am jealous of them. I am also overjoyed that they will have the opportunity to get their message across.
I decided to channel that jealous energy positively and ask one of them for help with my next application. James was awesome about it. He actually got talking about the process he has gone through to get to the shortlist stage himself. In working with James, I have since turned my story around and have now been shortlisted myself for a TedX talk – fingers are now crossed it will turn into getting a slot!

Focus It Forward

Often when jealousy strikes, we start looking backwards. We come up with reasons why it is unfair that the other person gained that opportunity and we did not. You might even catch yourself starting internal dialogues about tearing that person down, or worse case, you find yourself saying it out loud.

I recently found myself scouring a fellow speaker’s web page, blogs and Google in general, because I was suddenly inflamed by the idea that she had gained a coveted slot as a BBC Expert Woman, while many more deserving women that I knew had not. Then I stopped, and decided to look forward. The angry internal dialogue was not helping anyone. Just because I do not feel she is a great speaker, does not mean that others see her that way. She is however, a successful woman, who has managed to carve a strong niche for herself and that does deserve to be rewarded. I found that my energy was better channelled into finding out what she has done to successfully promote herself, and are there ways in which I, and the other women I know, could learn from her going forward?

At the end of the day, negative is merely the perspective you use to look at something. Just as light and dark are two equally important sides of a coin, so too is positive and negative. The question is... are you going to expend your energy in a productive way from your jealousy?

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