Recently, I was among a group of women who had the privilege of chatting with a Managing Director of a leading bank in Ghana and one of his executives.
As usual, I was very excited telling them about the mission of my organisation The Fabulous Women Network does – to celebrate, develop and inspire women.
This was me: We are a network of women who believe in inspiring each other to achieve our potential. We do not agree to the assertion that ‘women are their own worst enemies’. We support each other, blah blah blah.
Suddenly, the other executive interrupted with ‘don’t you ever get jealous of each other? Without even blinking, I responded ‘of course it is quitepossible that you may experience at least a tinge of jealousy when you see others achieving. But when we see others succeed, we get inspiration from their success and encourage ourselves that if our sisters can achieve, so can we.’
In fact, I blurted out the response without thinking but as I thought deeply about it later I realised it was the truth, at least my current truth. You see, some few years back I used to look at my friends who in my opinion were doing very well and felt sad because I thought I was not accomplishing much.
For instance, while I was at my last job I met a university mate who had a job to die for (haha, in my opinion). She worked in a top law firm in the country while studying law. When I inquired about the nature of her work, she told me how she had to travel a lot especially to The Hague and London. Of course, she told me it was not all rosy as there were times she cried herself to sleep when her boss made her life miserable. Haha, I remember thinking ‘well, I also have a boss who makes me feel miserable, it would be nice if I could compensate with trips to London and The Hague!’
Did I feel a tinge of jealousy? Yes! Here I was, giving birth and growing fat while my friends got their masters and law degrees, saved the world or something. Looking back, I realise the clue I missed was to channel that tinge of jealousy into a positive energy that would inspire me to do something about my situation if I didn’t like it. Let me explain it this way; as I type this piece, this same friend who has now been called to the bar is on an amazing trip among accomplished women carefully selected by a top women’s advocate NGO to train and nurture them for executive positions. Now, this is to absolutely die for! But this time, instead of feeling that annoying tinge of jealousy, I am super excited for her. I look at her and think; if she can go there, I can also go places! I am so inspired by her achievement that just writing this makes me smile (haha, I just caught myself grinning!).
The fact is, there will always be those moments when you see others going further in life. That is ok. To each, her own race. Now I have developed a strategy:whenever good old Miss Tinge of Jealousy sets in, I trick my mind into believing that if another can achieve, so can I.
This ‘trick’ gives me a kind of energy that has now become so important for me that I actually crave to see other fabulous women succeeding. Interestingly now that I crave it, I see it all around me. One minute a friend is being named a brand ambassador, another minute another friend has started her second dream business. I tell you, success is literally sprawling all around me and this excites me!
The clear message this sends me, is that mine is also on its way. These women whom my organisation celebrates did not just wake up one day and get successful. While I slept they prayed. While I took a little slumber, they worked. While I complained they trudged on. Now, they are relentless, resilient, positive, smart, fabulous. They have been there, done that. Now, they slay! I bet the mistakes I have made that I recall with dread, they have made even more in order to get to where they are today. So no, I have no right to feel sad or jealous at their achievement. Instead, I have every responsibility to cheer them on and a privilege to be inspired by their success.
Dear reader, next time you see a friend go higher, applaud her outwardly and tell yourself ‘if she has achieved her dream, so can I’.
Channel that tinge of jealousy into an amazing energy that spurs you into new territories. And don’t worry about having to share the limelight with anyone because there really is more than enough room in the universe for each one of God’s creation to shine. If you don’t believe me, take a trip to another city and see the stretch of unadulterated land yearning to be occupied!
You are fabulous!