Today we have a post from Stephanie Florence, 40:20 Vision’s contributing / Millennial editor, reflecting on a different kind of jealousy and how she works through those feelings.
Question: What do you get when you combine a popular e-book author/blogger, Parade contributor and YouTube employee who earned an invite to Sheryl Sandberg’s?
Answer #1: The fantastic women I was fortunate to sit down to dinner with recently – and also call friends.
Social media brought us together by one way or another and I am so glad it did. The three are inspirational to say the least and if you’re not already reading their blogs, here’s a bit on each one:
• The Things I Learned From – Jen Glantz tackles everything from dating to finding the best slice of $1 pizza in NYC (two very important topics I must say).
• Smart, Pretty & Awkward – Molly Ford shares three tips in each post to help readers become smarter, prettier and less awkward (simple life lessons I consistently call on to better myself). Her posts have even been turned into a Parade column.
• This Is Why I Love NY – Bonnie Gleicher highlights her love affair with NYC while incorporating fellow New Yorkers’ own insights (a blog I feel breathes even more life into this crazy city). And in her every day, she’s kicking butt at YouTube and leaning in with the best of them.
Answer #2: Positive jealousy. Let me explain. I am in awe of the continual accomplishments of these ladies [since the time I sat down for dinner with Jen she has become the “Craigslist Ad Professional Bridesmaid”], but I must admit to my feelings of positive jealousy at times when I see their success.
I am so proud of them and happy for them, and I’m not knocking my own accomplishments, but there is an envious part of me as I watch them add to their portfolio of successes while I feel stuck in the search to find my own niche with my personal projects. The best part is that my positive jealousy comes from a place of aspiration – it challenges me to make my next move. They definitely motivate me to do more.
Duncan Watts further defined this notion for me when I heard him speak at my friend’s graduation from Columbia earlier this year. Duncan encouraged the graduates to “find their comparative advantage.” Identify what sets you apart from others and run with it. Don’t ever compare yourself to the people you admire – if you get hung up with that mindset you only overlook your best parts. And I’m sure you have plenty of ‘em.
One way I’m working through these feelings is a daily free write (thank you Miss Molly for the suggestion!). I’m taking the time nightly to write about anything and I was advised that when the words don’t flow that naturally, I’m to write “I don’t know what to write.” on repeat until they do. I find that my mind is much clearer as I turn off the lights and get into bed. My thoughts aren’t racing through the events of the day and the 292893 things on tomorrow’s to do list. The time spent reflecting is exactly the outlet I needed to better understand how I’m feeling.
I’m also taking a step back to celebrate what I’m doing, even the little things. I witnessed my comparative advantage during a recent visit home to Chicago to see family and friends. With many friends I wanted to see, but on a limited schedule I sent around a “save the date” two months in advance asking friends to hold the date to join me for a night out. I acknowledged how everyone would not know one another, but it would be an opportunity to make a new pal (and subsequently make me jealous of their future hangs in Chicago without me). Over beers and conversation, I watched as friends from different parts of my past connected; sharing career advice, exchanging contact information and even making those plans I had crossed my fingers for!
A few friends commented how I bring people together. When I take that step back, I see this as a huge compliment. I’ve always been a person who ensures introductions are made between acquaintances or colleagues. Friends will tell you how fired up I get about heIping others with their job hunt rifling through my personal, professional and social networks to do whatever I can for them on the path to landing that new gig. It was so gratifying to sit back and watch these connections happening right before my eyes and knowing I was the catalyst. It doesn’t get much better than watching the family you chose become friends with one another.
The more inspired I am by my pals and the more I focus on my own comparative advantage I’m certain I’ll find exactly the direction I’m looking for.
Do you have family members, friends or colleagues who instill that motivation in you? How can you turn your feelings of positive jealousy into action?
Stephanie Florence is a 20-something who can talk to a brick wall and dance to a kazoo. She contributes to the 40:20 Vision as the Millennial editor and on every day that ends in “y” you can find Stephanie meeting people, telling exceedingly long stories and taking the approach of a student…always. Find her dancing around New York City in her personalized Chuck Taylors, complete with her Twitter handle: @StephanieFlo.