Having a competitive spirit can be a double edged sword. It can push you to constantly challenge yourself and face issues head on, but it can also lead to confidence reducing comparisons and envy. You may recall that I warned against comparisons in my post 6 steps to starting a mentor relationship. I gave this warning from personal experience because I am well acquainted with the habit. Even though I love that my competitive nature drives me to set fresh goals in my career and personal life, I dislike that it so easily leads me to compare myself with certain people.
The people I tend to compare myself with come from all walks of life and have a variety of work experiences. The commonality I find across them is that they all display some quality that I consider to be a signal of success. This could be anything from a meticulously tidy home to a prominent promotion or corporate title. Quite frankly, it’s disappointing to me that while I’m happy for these individuals and their accomplishments – and I really do wish them the best in life – I still care about where my life ranks against theirs.
Recently two friends of mine achieved what I consider to be major milestones and that feeling of inferiority raised its ugly head. This time I thought, enough is enough. I’ve changed how I see the world through inner work before and I know I can do it again. I decided it’s time I put in the effort to dissolve my green eyed monster.
I took to the internet and researched what others have to say about competition and envy and I learned that I am one of many who are concerned with this topic. I found countless stories, ideas, exercises and confessions in articles that spanned personal blogs to Forbes editorials. Since this topic seems to trouble so many, I am sharing the three tricks that have been helpful to me. I’ve used them for a few months now and they have my stamp of approval.
- Get inspired – Pay attention to when your jealousy is triggered and make a note of it. Jealousy is a contrasting emotion. That means it tells you when you feel something is missing from your life. It gives you clear input as to what you want and you should take advantage of that. So use it to get motivated and make a plan.
- Build an abundance mindset – When somebody you know hits a success milestone, that milestone does not become all used up. You and the person you know can BOTH be successful. Competition lends itself to the belief that for me to win, you must lose. This is not true. A more accurate statement is that we can all have it all, just not all at once – so keep at it.
- Envy vs Gratitude List – This is a practical exercise. Take a sheet of paper and fold it in half lengthwise. Think of the person you feel envious of. Then on the left hand column make a list of what he has that you want. Don’t spend too much time or energy on this. Once you’ve made that list, draft another list on the right hand side that is everything you love and appreciate about your life. Go ahead and spend as much time as you like on that list and feel fortunate. When both lists are done, ask yourself, would you give up the right side of the page for the left side? Probably not.
One of the articles I read stated that competition and envy can be benign or malignant. If the feelings are acknowledged by you and used to inspire changed behavior or a desire to improve your life, then it is ultimately a good thing. Now, with the above tools at your disposal, I hope you can transform any feelings of competition and envy you have into feelings of aspiration as you build your dream life.