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Make Career Envy Work for You

Envy can be a powerful motivator, but you shouldn’t let someone else’s accomplishments make you feel inferior. If you find yourself falling into a downward spiral of comparison, there are several things you can do.  

First, remind yourself that while you can’t control envy, you can choose whether you feel ashamed about it. Shift from comparison to curiosity: Why has the other person’s career triggered this feeling for you? Instead of assuming that their success somehow detracts from your own, reflect on what their career can teach you about your potential trajectory. And instead of looking at them as a competitor, think of the person as a potential ally who might help you achieve your goals. Finally, remember that you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you let any one job define your self-worth. Instead, imagine your career as a portfolio of experiences that ultimately increase your overall value. While we all experience a little jealousy now and again, these strategies will help lessen your discomfort — and might even help you make your envy work for you.

From HBR.org, this tip is adapted from “The Upside of Career Envy,” by Nihar Chhaya.

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