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Change the Questions, Change the Answers
We spend all day long asking questions. In fact, the barrage began before you even put your clothes on this morning: What is the weather like? What do I feel like wearing? Which clothes are clean? Where am I going? Who am I going to see?
All of our decisions, actions, and thoughts are answers to questions. We can turn this same critical eye on jealous emotions. The next time you feel envious, ask yourself: What do I want that I'm not manifesting? What skills do I need to develop in order to acquire it? And how do I go about getting them?
When a coworker gets something that you feel you deserve - a promotion, a pay raise, an acknowledgment or award - you're likely to experience a knee-jerk reaction. If you let your feelings go unchecked, you may say or do things to undermine the achiever. Unfortunately, the only person this behavior will reflect badly upon is you.
The first step toward reigning in your jealousy is becoming aware of its existence. The second step is admitting to yourself that these feelings stem from the fact that your own desires aren’t being met. Instead of ruining someone else's victory, define what it is you want. Then you can set about creating a plan to obtain it.
Face it. When jealous feelings arise, put some distance between yourself and the person in question. Find a quiet place away from your desk to reflect on how you feel. Avoid saying something reactionary that you may regret later.
Trace it. Clarify the source of your feelings. Perhaps someone else is receiving attention that you feel you deserve or opportunities that you feel you should have been given. Ask yourself whether you've felt this way in the past, either at work or at home. Does it seem to be a pattern?
Share it. Find a friend, colleague, or mentor—someone who won't betray your trust, but rather will listen and offer honest feedback. Choose someone who will help you work through your feelings, not just commiserate with them. Strive to move past jealousy rather than letting it fester.
Transform it. After examining the situation, you'll likely have an idea of what it is you want that you’re not getting. Now you can pinpoint a solution. For example, if you want to be acknowledged by your boss and your team, what can you do to draw more positive attention to yourself?
Ready to see the process in action? Let's put it to the test.
Destructive. Janet was given the opportunity to fill in for her boss on a special assignment. She received little credit for her work, and reponded by bad-mouthing her boss whenever she could. While Janet wasn’t fired, she would have been next in line for her boss's job if her unprofessional behavior hadn't taken her out of the running.
Productive. Margaret interviewed for a position, but ultimately lost out to another candidate. She took the rejection as an opportunity to examine the hire's skills as compared to her own, and signed up for a course in public speaking. By taking a constructive action, Margaret put herself in the best position to snag the next available opportunity.
None of us are immune to jealousy, but at work, taming the green-eyed monster can mean the difference between becoming derailed and moving forward. Instead of feeling victimized, make the decision to chart your own course.