Last week I spoke to the Year 8 students at Melbourne Girls’ College where I spoke about the importance of self-love, believing in yourself and creating a supportive environment. This made me reflect on how we, as adults, behave in the workplace, and life in general, when it comes to supporting the people around us.
I spoke on the importance of supporting and encouraging each other while we chase our dreams. That we all have different aspirations, we will be motivated by different elements and our own journey will be different, so instead of knocking people down, let’s build them up, cheer for them and stop seeing each other as competition. Then I thought about my own life.
Until a few years ago, I was guilty of being selective about who I chose to encourage and who I would secretly hope wouldn’t succeed. Which is disgusting I know... but that’s the truth.
Why was I like that?
Why did I feel this way?
What was the reason I didn’t want to encourage everyone?
What was the reason I was competing with people in my head?
My own insecurities. The demons I hadn’t dealt with and the limiting beliefs I held.
My limiting beliefs were based around not being good enough, not deserving the life I secretly wanted and being a disappointment. This meant that when I saw some people in my life doing something I wanted or seeming to be ‘better’ than me, I got jealous. It’s as simple as that (although it certainly wasn’t that simple to work out or accept). I found myself wanting them to fail, or not be amazing, because I thought if they weren’t ‘better’ than me, I would feel better about myself.
Don’t get me wrong, there were people in my life I was absolutely cheering on and wanted nothing but the best for; but for some reason, there were a select few that I couldn’t move past. What made them different? Was it their personalities? Was it the way they carried themselves? Was it that they wanted similar things to me? Who knows – I actually have no idea.
These toxic internal thoughts developed because I chose to ignore the issues in my life for so long. I did this because I was brought up in a ‘don’t talk about your problems, we just deal with them’ environment. I didn’t want to be seen as ‘weak’, but I also wasn’t ready for the world to see me for who I really was, because I was so petrified of people judging me. I cared far too much about what people thought of me and didn’t want to be bullied again. I’d had enough of that for one lifetime.
When I reached breaking point, I finally realised I had to deal with the black clouds that had been hanging over me. I couldn’t live how I was living any longer. What I didn’t know (or even think about), was that in dealing with my issues, I stopped competing with people in my life, stopped worrying about what everyone else was doing and began to focus on me... and only me.
I realised people in my life who were chasing their dreams should be supported, encouraged and told they’re doing a fucking good job. Because really, there isn’t anyone in this world that wants exactly the same thing. Sure, there will be people in similar businesses, competing in the same sports and wanting similar things to what I want, but we will never be focusing on the same thing on any given day. Our dreams will vary and our journey will be completely different.
If you are facing a similar situation at the moment, where you find you are constantly comparing yourself to other people and competing with them, ask yourself these questions:
What do I lose by supporting other people?
What do I achieve by focusing on what someone else is doing (at work / sport / home)?
What do I get out of being angry if someone achieves something that I want for myself?
The answer: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!
Since I stopped measuring my life on others, life's so much easier, more calm, and I’m so much happier. There’s no negativity or bitchiness circling in my thoughts because someone else is succeeding. Instead, there’s genuine joy when someone I know achieves something awesome. I’m inspired by their success and now use that as motivation.
I guess the reason I wanted to write this, is because I want people, especially women, to realise that life is so much easier when you’re able to support other people, rather than knocking them down.
I saw this when I worked in recruitment, people would be pissed that someone got a job that they wanted. Or colleagues would get annoyed because someone got a bigger bonus or a ‘better’ client.
I especially saw this in the police force, where women who had an opinion were seen as arrogant upstarts, and women who got promoted tended to become really tough on other women. Almost as if they had to be ‘masculine’ and ‘tough’ to prove that they were worthy of the position. Yes – you need to know you’re job, but you don’t have to be an arsehole to other people.
And now, in coaching, I very, very rarely see it. What I see, is amazing, inspiring women wanting nothing but the best for everyone in their life. They want to encourage people to chase their dreams, be their true self, not be afraid to express themselves and they want to eliminate the segregation and entitlement between people of different races and backgrounds.
The best thing I have done in my life, is allow myself to address and work through my baggage. In doing so, I’ve eliminated all this extra negativity that I didn’t realise had such an impact on me. I honestly just thought it was normal to bitch and moan about people, and maybe it is for some people… But now, I actually get annoyed when people constantly complain about something. Sure, we are all going to be annoyed by some things, but we need to learn to let it go.
Even the way I train (which is a big part of my life) has changed. My training is no longer to be competitive, I love it, I want to keep fit and be the best I can be, but since I’ve let go of comparing myself to others, I’m actually training so much better than before. And I get bloody excited if someone I know wins a competition or does something amazing.
If you’re someone that finds it difficult to be genuinely happy for other people, here are a couple of things you could ask yourself that might assist in making some changes:
Am I getting paid to do something that I really love?