Becoming a Photographer – Attack of the Green Eyed Monster
Image credit: Damian Dohman via 500px
I am loath to admit that I am a naturally jealous kind of person. Even when I was growing up I was insanely jealous of my little brother and I still struggle with jealousy a bit in my personal relationships.
I’m not a Single White Female bunny boiler kind of jealous – I have it under control – but jealousy does rear its ugly head and I have to beat it back down again with a stick.
How does this translate into my creative life? Well quite frankly it’s a bit of a pain in the arse if I’m honest. I see other people’s successes and sometimes it makes me feel bad.
There is no rational basis for it. I’m doing well myself – I’m phenomenally pleased with how my business is growing and I’ve got some really exciting projects lined up for this year- and I’m always really happy for people when they get the recognition they deserve, especially as I know how hard a lot of them work to get it.
I can’t put my finger on why I feel the way I do. It’s not rational and it’s pretty destructive so I thought I’d talk about some ways of dealing with it.
Get rid of the negativity
Think positively. If someone else does well, be pleased for them. Even if you’re not pleased for them to begin with, force yourself to acknowledge the fact that they’ve probably worked really hard to get where they are.
And if you can’t be genuinely pleased for them fake it. Fake it hard.
Bitter and cynical is a pretty unattractive default position. If you come across as a bitter and cynical person you will affect your own ability to be successful as people won’t want to work with you and clients won’t want to book you.
If you try hard enough to be positive, you will feel more positive and you’ll get over your disappointment more quickly.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Social media is wonderful in a lot of ways but it doesn’t present a very accurate view of what’s really going on behind the scenes.
I might update my Twitter/Facebook to say that I’m working on an amazingly cool project when in actual fact I’m sitting at home watching Homes Under The Hammer, devouring a whole packet of chocolate hobnobs and wondering why my phone isn’t ringing off the hook with brilliant opportunities.
People present themselves in the best positive light because they are, on the whole, using social media as a PR tool. Even people that aren’t using social media for business purposes are using it as a PR tool to some extent.
You don’t tell all of your Facebook friends that you can’t afford to pay the rent this month, you sensor the information that you put out into the world. Well you do if you have any sense….
Because of this, if you compare yourself to the successes of others based on what they CHOOSE to tell you, you may very well end up feeling inadequate by comparison.
Judge yourself by your own successes and behaviour, not by the successes or behaviour of others.
Have a little moan/whinge about it
Talk to people who will let you get it off your chest.
A little, tiny moan/whinge is good for the soul. Any more than that becomes wallowing in your own self pity, not to mention being pretty unpleasant for the poor soul that gets to be on the other end of your whinging.
You may wish to accompany your whinge/moan with a glass of wine or a biscuit. Or several glasses of wine and several biscuits.
Learn from other’s successes
What did the other person do that enabled them to achieve success. Is there anything you can learn from their approach? I’m not for a minute suggesting you copy what they actually did, but look at their approach to marketing/PR/networking/planning/inspiration and see how you could use some of their techniques to suit your approach.
Look how far you’ve come
Look back at your achievements. Write them down. Write down every single thing that you’ve done and that you’re proud of. You will feel better when you look at how much you’ve achieved.
And look forward
Have you written down goals that you’re actively working towards? If you have identified some key things that you want to achieve and you’re able to keep working on those things and ticking them off your list, it will keep you motivated and you’ll feel less jealous of others. Yeah, ok, so they did x but you’ve done A, B and C towards meeting your personal goals.
Acknowledge that life’s not fair
Of course if the subject of your jealous rage actually doesn’t deserve their success (in your opinion…) it can be pretty hard to swallow, however life really isn’t fair sometimes and all you can do is acknowledge it and move on.
Don’t let that bitter cynicism prevent you from having your own success.
This too shall pass
It’s normal to feel like shit sometimes. We all have days where we get out of the wrong side of bed and then a seemingly little thing tips us over the edge. It’s ok to feel that way and sometimes you just have to ride it out.
Ride it out while eating chocolate hobnobs and drinking a massive glass of red wine. Tell yourself tomorrow will be better.
Do you suffer with professional jealousy? What do you do to deal with it?