Full Disclosure, I am sometimes envious. Uncomfortably envious. The kind of envy that sends me on a downward spiral as I compare myself to someone who I deem more talented that me.
For example, there are a number of coaches out there who are outrageously successful. They write well, speak well, ask provocative questions, give solid advice and have outstanding marketing skills. And, they’re young.
I start judging them with thoughts like, “how can someone who is not married, hasn’t raised teens, hasn’t lost parents, or lived long enough to know the vast range of human emotions have the wisdom to advise or coach others?” They can of course and they do, some very well.
As I continue to contemplate this youth versus wisdom paradox, I begin to default to silly self-doubt. It’s not attractive this internal dialogue of mine.
So here I am a 50 something year old woman, mother, wife, teacher, friend, coach and I get myself in this mental tug of war with thoughts like, “Shouldn’t I be doing X, Y and Z like so and so?” This may go on for a time until I tire of feeling uncomfortable.
And then miracles of miracles, wisdom gently wafts into my consciousness and then loudly declares, “STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS!” “I AM VERY GOOD AT WHAT I DO!”
I remember my humanity. I begin to acknowledge my own talents and gifts just like I do with the people I coach. Relief! I begin to stop comparing and start learning from anyone, young or old.
Tips for putting the brakes on envy:
- Embrace your uniqueness. Flaunt that. How boring to be a clone of someone else.
- Do your best at what you do. Not someone else’s best, your best. That may mean looking at others as models and fine-tuning your skills to suit your personality. Mastery takes work, including practice and there is value in observing what successful people do.
- Temper the self-doubter. As wise as the doubter may be, it can paralyze one from forward momentum. Bring those judgments down a notch or two.
- Be in a constant state of gratitude. Gratitude for everything, especially for the flawed and imperfect life, that helps us stretch and grow.
- Be gentle with yourself. Envy is normal. Keep it in check, allow and then watch it dissipate. Send love to those who are successful. Learn from them.
- And, send that love to yourself.