I recently ran a highly scientific study* that found that 89% of people experience some type of business jealousy. Actually, to be precise, they were happy to admit to feeling business jealously on a poll in my Facebook Group and Facebook Page. So maybe, just maybe, the number is a lot higher. Either way, it supported my belief that most people experience that green-eyed monster when it comes to their business community.
In my business coaching, the issue of comparison comes up a lot. To be honest, it comes up in all areas of life, but today, I want to concentrate on preoccupation of watching other businesses and then, metaphorically, beating yourself up when you feel like you don’t match up. An activity that becomes a brick wall for your success and happiness.
Market research and competitor research is an essential tool for business set up and growth. You need to keep an eye on what is happening in the marketplace to understand how viable your idea is and to keep up to date with changes in the industry or sector you work in. This may mean joining business groups (either online or in real life, or both), reading industry magazines or following people you admire.
Having a competitive drive, aspirations, and an eye on the sector is essential in business; you need to see what is happening and react. How else can your business be “agile” if you have NO IDEA what it needs to flex around?
But what happens when that research becomes restrictive? That is chips away at your self-confidence and self-belief? That it convinces you that you won’t ever make it? If it fuels your imposter syndrome?
I’m going to stand up and admit it first. I occasionally get little “pangs” when I see certain things shared. Maybe a new product launch or a speaker announcement. For me, it’s will be a twinge in my chest. But, over time, I have worked on ways to stop that. To use that reaction and let it fuel something positive. I want to share a few of these techniques with you today.
1. Name the feeling
I call this business jealousy, as this is often what we name it. But, the next time it comes up for you, take a moment to really observe what the feeling is.
When I did this, I realised it was mainly regret and possessiveness. Regret that I hadn’t developed and launched an idea, that I believed was “mine”.
Jealously or jealous, in its technical term, is actually quite a negative thing.
“hostile towards a rival or believed to enjoy an advantage
Vigilant in guarding a possession”
Is it a possessive feeling; that the success or idea “belongs” to you?
Could that feeling be simply comparison, or a wish to have that yourself, or ambition?
Or is it something else?
2. What can you do about it?
I am a strong believer in acknowledging all feelings; whilst positive thinking is useful, it doesn’t always help to force negative feelings away. They often just find a way out, somewhere and somehow (often quite inappropriately!)
Once you have identified what the “name” of the feeling is, ask yourself “What can I do about it?”
For example, if the “trigger” is something you want, what action can you take to make it happen? Develop your skills, your contacts or simply “Put yourself out there more?”
3. Accept yourself
When it comes to promotion and media and the world of business, a lot is “smoke and mirrors”. Like the well-used quote, you have to remember that in business, and in life in general, you are comparing your inside thoughts to someone else’s highlight reel.
The person or business that is triggering your emotional response (as I am assuming, by this stage, you know that it isn’t always jealously) will NEVER be you. And, likewise, you will NEVER be them. They may have more experience than you, or a different story, or live in a different location and have a different set of connections.
They may simply have been in business longer than you.
Trust me, there are NO QUICK FIXES. Overnight successes have often been working away behind the scenes for years!
You need to identify what makes you special, unique, and work on that.
4. Decide what success is to you
This is something that I bang on about all the time, but you really need to decide what your success measure is. It may be money, it may be time, it may be exposure; it may be material or metaphysical.
THAT is what needs to keep you grounded in moments of insecurity.
That is what you will aim for, and work hard to get to. Not someone else’s measures of success.
5. Be vulnerable
Don’t ever think that the reason you feel like this is that you are not good enough, or lacking in something. Everyone has their “Achilles heel” in life and business. Whilst you are looking at others and comparing yourself, I put money on someone doing exactly the same when they look at you.
Be open about what you find hard, what you find easier and you will see that most people will experience self-doubt at some stage. What makes the difference is how they use that emotional response; you can either let it drag you down or drive you forward. The only person that can make that choice is you.
So next time that green-eyed business monster appears, make sure you go through these steps above and use the emotional energy in a positive way. Use it as fuel to achieve what that aspirational business or business owner is achieving! And remember, live life on your terms, not what you think you should do!
Do you suffer from business jealousy? Join The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox and join the discussion and create the work-life balance that works for you!
If you would like to work through my unique online coaching programme, which combines business, work-life balance and confidence coaching, sign up via this link.
*17/19 people voted to say they were happy to admit they experience business jealousy.