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Redefining Success: Breaking Free from Envy in Business

Success is a double-edged sword. Once you achieve some of it, you can’t help but notice others achieving more than what you thought was your wildest imagination. This can generate envy, shame, and self-pity, among other feelings.

As a life coach for entrepreneurs, I aim to assist you in overcoming any limiting thoughts.

In this article, we will redefine the meaning of success so that you can break free from the strong clutch of envy. 

Why do we envy?

Before we talk about envy, we must understand that all of your feelings, including envy, are important. They are signals that something within you must shift in order to feel in harmony with your environment. 

And you may be labeling the feeling as jealously when in fact you may be experiencing with envy.

Envy or jealousy related, yet different

Often times, you may have heard someone say that they feel jealous at another success, but in reality it is envy. 

Jealously and envy are different emotions, like having an appetite to eat versus a biological desire to stop feeling hungry. To start with, let’s define envy from jealousy.

Envy is wanting someone you wished you had while jealously is fear of losing what you have now. It is an indicator that you feel inadequate in one or more areas of your life.

Here are seven reasons why you or someone else has may suffer from envy:

  1. Inadequacy: Envy can arise when individuals feel inadequate or lacking in comparison to others. They may perceive someone else’s qualities, achievements, or possessions as superior to their own, leading to feelings of insecurity and envy.

  2. Social Comparison: Humans have a tendency to compare themselves to others, often using them as benchmarks for their own success or happiness. When individuals perceive themselves as falling short in comparison, envy can emerge.

  3. Competitive Mindset: Envy can also be fueled by a competitive mindset. Some individuals may have a strong desire to be better than others, and when they perceive others as surpassing them in certain aspects, envy arises as a response to that perceived threat to their self-worth or position.

  4. Scarcity Mentality: People with a scarcity mentality may believe that there are limited resources, opportunities, or recognition available. They may feel envy towards others who seem to have more of these limited resources, fearing that there won’t be enough for themselves.

  5. Unfulfilled Desires: Envy can arise when individuals desire something strongly but are unable to attain it. Seeing someone else possess what they desire intensifies their feelings of longing and can trigger envy.

  6. Social Pressure: Society (which includes content on social media), often creates ideals and standards that individuals feel pressured to meet. When someone else appears to effortlessly meet or exceed these standards, it can evoke envy in those who struggle to reach them.

  7. Low Self-Esteem: Individuals with low self-esteem may be more prone to experiencing envy. They may struggle with feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy, and seeing others succeed or be happier can trigger envy as a reflection of their own perceived shortcomings.

Stay focused on what matters most

Based on the reasons above, it is essential to stay focused on your own ambitions and pursuits. 

When you think about others, it is next to impossible to create new things that will improve our situation. 

Moreover, when you are envious, you are making assumptions on things that may not be true. For example, you may think the person you envy must have the right social connections, higher education or some other advantage you think you lack. The fact of the matter is most people struggled for years to achieve their level of success.

Many successful entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, amongst others, struggled for years before obtaining success in their respective careers. 

Read their stories and learn that your life and theirs are not so different. Remember, with rare exception, most of us start from nothing.

A woman sitting at a table with her laptop.

Think Long-Term

As a successful business owner, you always need to stay focused on your long term objectives. Staying focused on your vision of success will help you to make sure you make strategic and calculated risks.

Thinking longterm means you must take risks. And yes, they feel scary – but they are worth it. Stay focused on the long term viability of your business rather than short-term profits.

How to think long-term

In addition to taking risks and staying the course, here are some other tips to thinking long-term:

Speaking about investments, how are you investing in your personal development? The mind is the key to limitless possibilities. Consider working with a life and business coach like myself to assist you. 

Next, let’s discuss how to take resolve feelings of envy in positive, and healthy ways.

Use self-care to combat envy or other strong negative feelings

As a leader, you must prioritize your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Below are some strategies to help you improve your state of mind and improve your overall wellness.

Practice Empathy and Compassion

Accept and embrace yourself for who you are. Recognize your own worth and unique qualities. When you have high self-confidence, you are less likely to feel envious of others.

Practicing empathy as a survivor of abuse

If you were raised in traumatic or abusive home, maintaining emotional boundaries is an incredibly difficult thing to do. You may have grown accustomed or even expected people to betray your trust and misuse your resources.

You cannot erase the past, but you can control how you react to others going forward. Instead of feeling angry and sad, use this opportunity to teach you that each person is forcing you create and maintain healthy boundaries.

Practicing empathy as an emotionally sensitive person

As an empathic business owner, it may feel overwhelming when connecting with certain personalities. Personally, I absorb the negative as well as positive feelings while connecting with others in the real-world or online. 

As an emotionally sensitive person, you may have to practice reciting mantras to help you stay grounded in your own energy and not feel guilt or shame for enforcing your pre-negotiated emotional boundaries. You have a right to care, but not at the expense of your mental, spiritual, physical or financial health.

Be mindful of your energy, especially envy. Envy signals something is off and needs to change. Below are some tips to help you guard yourself from envy or other insecure feelings. 

Limit Social Media Exposure 

Just because everyone is online, doesn’t mean you need to read it all. 

Be careful of the content you consume. Even if you don’t think it is harmful, your mind is a powerful recording studio that will keep replaying the information in your unconscious mind. 

Guard your mind. The success of your business, as well as your life, depends on it. And if necessary, keep tight boundaries as to what enters into your mind.

For example, I don’t typically watch tv, and when I do, it isn’t for anything beyond a rating of PG. My mind is a treasured asset, not a dumping ground for violent or sensitive content.

Maintaining my emotional boundaries also includes not preoccupying myself with the activities of others.

I typically do not engage in posts where they constantly brag about themselves or achievements. There is a line between content that says, “If I can do it, so can you!” from, “Come! Behold, worship me and my mighty works!”

Embrace the feeling of gratitude

It is next to impossible to feel envious while feeling grateful.

Gratitude helps you to focus on the positives and what is within your control. In addition, gratitude helps you to prioritize the opportunities over the obstacles. 

So stay grateful friend. Every time you feel envious, it means that you are taking energy away from what you have now. Gratitude signals to the universe that you are ready for more.

Cultivate a supportive network

Surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals who encourage your personal growth and celebrate your achievements. Their support can help counteract feelings of envy.

Your network will help you to cultivate deeper empathy for yourself and more compassion for others. 

Envy robs us of a healthy perspective. Your support network will help you think from a different, and more holistic perspective.  

If feelings of envy persist and significantly impact your well-being and relationships, consider seeking support from a experienced life coach like me, therapist or counselor who can help you explore and address underlying issues.

Keep your expectations realistic

I am all about creating Big Hairy Audacious Goals but at the same time, we must not create goals that are impossible to achieve. For example, it is next to impossible to graduate from law school or medical school in one year, no matter how smart you are! 

Keep a vision for yourself but temper it with reality.

Ask yourself what is possible now. Keeping your expectations realistic prevents you from wanting to compare your life with another person.

The fastest way to success is through cooperation, not competition with others.

Celebrate others’ success

Last, but not least, let’s talk about being a cheerleader to another person. This is when we genuinely celebrate their successes.

Why is caring about others wins important? Celebrating wins (that aren’t yours), helps your mindset to move from competition to collaboration, and to recognize that the achievements of others do not diminish your own.

Closing thoughts 

It’s important to note that while envy is a common human emotion, it is essential to recognize and manage it constructively. 

Envy can be destructive if it consumes one’s thoughts and actions, leading to resentment or harm towards others. 

Practicing gratitude, self-compassion, and focusing on personal growth can help mitigate envy and promote a healthier mindset.


Dig deeper: Click here to listen to this podcast about envy or press the play button below.