Professional Jealousy

There has been some interesting discussion in regard to professional jealousy and how damaging it can be. Personally, I believe that the jealous one is the really damaged party in these instances. During those times that I have been in the pits of envy over other people’s successes, it has always turned inwards onto me, affecting how I feel, how I work, and how I see my work. Seeing others reach the success you so desperately crave for yourself has the potential to turn you into a Jekyll and Hyde sometimes—you’re thrilled to bits they’ve achieved, and you REALLY wish it was you.

When I’ve allowed my envy to turn inwards it has poisoned everything I’ve done. I don’t know about the rest of you but when I’m in a foul, (and I seriously mean foul), mood eventually everyone in my whole family eventually joins me. Ugh!

I learned a very valuable lesson in a saying some time ago – “Sadness shared is halved…but happiness shared is doubled” – and happily, I have found it to be incredibly true and also empowering at the same time. You have to let yourself believe it is true, however, to enjoy the genuine benefit.

We were fortunate to have Stephanie Laurens speak at the RWNZ Inc. conference August 2002. There were a zillion things she said that were worth remembering… but one that stands out the most strongly in my mind is “A rising tide floats all ships”.. In other words, the more sales, the more readers there are out there enjoying them and the more they want to read. So why miss the boat? Why be one of the green-eyed few on the dock wishing you could attain your dreams, when if you just focus on what you want to do, you’ll get there? It is too easy to let professional jealously get the better of you. It is harder not to. We all learn something along the journey.

I’ve heard a saying, “Great people are just ordinary people with great desire”.. So true. And so it is for writers/authors. All it comes down to in the end is your own desire to do well. One thing is for certain, the more you dwell on what you haven’t achieved, the less you achieve. Why dwell on what you don’t want when you can create what you do?

Sure, we put ourselves in the firing line when we enter competitions, send our work out to editors and agents but if we continually avoid criticism by doing none of the above, what are we? Do we say nothing? Do nothing? Be nothing?

I think for some people, it is far, far easier to be jealous and critical, than it is to be magnanimous and genuinely full of praise and appreciation. I feel very sad for them because they turn their envy in on themselves and they’ll never grow any further in what they do until they learn to be happy for others, and I empathise with them. I’ve been there, and no doubt I’ll revisit that place again from time to time. After all, none of us are perfect. But we can control how we learn and grow and feel, and how we support one another – with sincerity.