How to be Inspired by Career Envy
Somewhere, I heard that the best role model to have is one that you don’t really fancy.
By fancy, I mean like. If you think about it, it’s quite a strange concept. But if you think about it a bit more, it makes complete sense.
There is this girl that I absolutely despise. For shallow reasons of course; nothing that would make sense if I said them aloud. But lately, I have taken the time to psychoanalyze my dislike for this girl, and I have come to realize a few things.
She’s beautiful. She’s a journalist. She’s got amazing hair. She is ridiculously smart. She’s an amazing writer. She is famous. Essentially, I despise her because she is exactly where I intend to be.
Today, when I stumbled across something that featured her work, I tried to put my jealousy of her own accomplishments to the side, and instead, try and find some inspiration in her work. She was asked to give advice to young women looking to make it into the journalism industry. Her advice was that you have to have passion, amongst a few other things.
As she went through the list, I found myself identifying with a lot of the characteristics she felt were necessary to be a good journalist. It comforted me to know that I had these skills.
I stopped to think about why I had felt so envious of her, especially since I knew it was unjustified. And the more I thought, the more I healed.
I think sometimes when we see people who chase a similar success to us, and are closer to it than we are at any given point, we get frightened and afraid. We feel this relentless sense of competition that doesn’t let up. We either look for reasons to doubt ourselves, or look for ways to belittle the other; both are toxic.
The first thing we need to remember in times like this is that there is always room for the best and the brightest. This means that if you pursue your passion proactively, you will make it. People recognize hard work, but more importantly, people recognize passion.
Besides, passion produces hard work.
The second thing we need to remember is that worrying is silly. To jeopardize our experience of life and of living by worrying about not making it, not doing well enough, or not being good enough, we become those things. We become unable to make it because our actions are the sum of our thoughts. We don’t do well enough because we don’t do anything with conviction. And we become not good enough because we are what we say we are.
The last thing you need to remember is that you will get there. And you’ll get there in your own time. Envying another person’s success is the same as envying an older person because you were born after them; you’re going to grow up too. As she went through the list, she discussed the importance of education in rising to the top. I am in university, in one of the finest journalism programs being taught by the finest journalism experts in Toronto. I will graduate one day too. Don’t measure your success by anyone else’s. Measure it simply by whether you feel you’re doing enough. If you’re always using someone else’s empire as a frame of reference, you have no chance of becoming your own royalty.
I had two choices today. The first was either to continue to dislike her, and allow my pride to disrupt the valuable lessons to be learned from this woman. The second was to use her success as a means of building my own.
What I’m saying is, knowledge is more important than pride. If someone you don’t like can teach you something, choose the lesson, not the envy. If you’re a blogger with a smaller audience than someone else, look at their crowd-sourcing tactics in order to gain a bigger audience for yourself. If you’re a photographer, reach out to the person for some advice, maybe even some opportunities. If you’re a poet, ask someone what they do for inspiration, then ask what they do for an audience.
And if, like me, you’re a journalist, get down to the nitty-gritty.
This is a tough industry. But you too, can be tough. Develop your writing skills more. Meet more people. Write more stories. Work more. And mostly, work harder.
But no matter what your pursuit is, use your resources. Simply because you deserve the same success, if not more, than whoever you feel your biggest competitor is.
It takes wisdom and maturity to be inspiredby envy, rather than consumed by it.