In a hyper-connected, fast-paced work environment, it can be easy to feel like you’re just not measuring up to others on your team. Add a star coworker who always seems to be on your manager’s good side, and pangs of jealousy can start to set in.
Here’s how to avoid letting feelings of envy bog you down at work.
Remember, that star coworker is human, too
You both get up, go to work, and have successes and failures at work and at home. In other words, you are both human, and make mistakes.
While it may seem like everything is always going your coworker’s way, don’t hold them up on a pedestal: They have bad days, too.
Think about what you bring to the table
Don’t forget your own talents – your coworker may have skills you wish you had, but you can’t forget what you’re good at. Don’t let their expertise and/or flair eclipse your success.
Assess the fairness level
Harvard Business Review says that you should think deeply about what’s going through your mind, and assess the level of fairness when you’re having trouble being happy for a coworker who wins at work.
“Take a hard look at whether any of your negative feelings are justified or should be addressed. If indeed the playing field is uneven, or some favoritism was involved, then think about whether you want to talk about it constructively with your manager, a colleague, or an HR representative,” the piece says. “If, however, the other person succeeded fair and square, consider how you can use the other person’s achievement as motivation for yourself. What can I learn from what she did? What do I need to do differently to be recognized and rewarded in the future?”
Think about what you have in common
Former C-suite corporate executive and entrepreneur Glenn Llopis writes about how envy prevents us from connecting with others professionally in Forbes.
“We can’t build respect and trust for one another – and therefore lift each other – on a foundation of envy. How can you build a network when envy stands in the way? Why envy someone else’s career aspirations when success is now measured by your influence,” Llopis writes. “Think about the influence you can share with others – rather than the barriers to advancement envy creates when networking.”
So try to find common ground.
Come up with a plan to move forward
Instead of ruminating on what you don’t have, work on improving yourself.
High Performing Teams consultant and coach Shawn Kent Hayashi writes in The Muse about how you should ask yourself “what changes can I make?” when you’re envious of a coworker.
She says that after you think about “what you want more of in your professional life,” you should take this approach.
“Start with small steps like volunteering for different kinds of projects, speaking up when you have ideas, or signing up for a class to build out a new skill. It may be that you feel a bigger step is necessary. If you realize that every leader at your organization has an MBA, look into local programs — and see if your company has any resources for tuition reimbursement,” Hayashi writes. “Taking any step toward your desired goal — whether it’s a baby step or a giant one — will move you out of envy and into a more positive mindset. If you stop dwelling and start doing, your focus and drive will return, and so will your more rational, sociable self.”