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  • Writer's pictureselenarezvani

How to deal with feeling jealous 😣 of a colleague

We all know we're supposed to cheer for our colleagues' wins. But sometimes, it's tough not to feel a little envious. 

Trust me, I've been there too.🥴

Once, I prepared a presentation for a major conference... One that I was quite happy with I might add. Well, I arrived early to the conference to set up and caught the session before mine. My jaw nearly hit the floor.

The speaker before me used upbeat music, interacted dynamically with the audience, and her energy was off the charts. She was simply electrifying! My "academic" presentation was much more straightforward and low-key and suddenly appeared… way less impactful. 

While I’ve since grown through this experience, on that day it stung to think about how we stacked up to each other.

It's natural to feel a little envious on occasion, and it may even serve as fuel for improving yourself. But if you have moments like this again and again, it can dent your confidence, affecting your morale and work enthusiasm. 

So, how do we rise above these feelings? It starts with ending the comparison trap.

It’s important to confidently re-affirm your value for yourself when you feel like others are outshining you or that you aren’t getting the validation you’d hoped for. And you can do that by focusing on what’s within your control: sharpening your skills, working hard with what you do have, showing up to work everyday and doing a little bit better than you did yesterday. Remember, you’re in this position today because others do recognize your value, you just have to continue to build on that.

Quick Confidence Tips to Shift from Jealous to Self-Assured:

  1. Interpersonal: Find a mentor who’s winning. If someone is where you want to be, a productive (but sometimes counterintuitive) approach is to reach out and learn from them. What could you do to applaud their success and at the same time, engage them to learn about their process? Ask them to grab lunch or coffee with you, or for a virtual conversation to understand their path to getting really good at “X."  I like to be really transparent in these meeting requests so there’s no mystery around “what the meeting’s about.” Then, you can ask how they got to where they are today and how you can follow in their footsteps.

  2. Embodied: Broaden your skillset. Is your peer being celebrated for something outside of your skillset? If so, don’t stew in jealousy. Instead, get smarter! Think about how you could invest in and expand your own domain knowledge. You don’t necessarily have to mimic learning what your peer knows, but stop and reflect on what training or experience could enrich the value you already bring today. Similarly, you could focus on a cutting-edge part of your field that you would like to learn more about and become associated with. Pour your energy there!

  3. Mindset: Maintain composure. Panicking can make negative thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” become “Am I going to lose my job?” Or, in the case at my conference, “she was so lively and engaging” turned into “I don’t have anything as good to offer the audience.” Once you start a negative thought train, it can spiral out of control! Instead, remind yourself of the valuable skills you do have. Sit down right now and write out 5 of the attributes that make you great at what you do. Think of situations where you saw those traits come to life and really savor them. Remember, you’ve got what it takes to succeed.

When you adopt a proactive stance that prioritizes learning and self-improvement, you not only boost your self-confidence but also increase your value to your organization, positioning you for greater opportunities, professional growth, and recognition.

I’d love to hear your stories: Have you ever felt jealous of a colleague? What steps did you take to transform that experience into a growth opportunity? Share in the comments.


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