There have been times in my life where I was called self-serving. Generally, this happened when I held a leadership position. Although I felt my decisions and commitment were based on a passion for accepting challenges that would make a difference in people’s lives, others saw me as a power-grabbing self-promoter.
The first time this happened, I was president of the International Coach Federation. I was so honored to be in a position to help increase the visibility of my loved profession. We were in both a growth and transition phase. The board and I had to make tough choices. Some people called them admirable. Some chose to see me as a control freak.
That is the one of the burden’s you must bear when you step in the shoes of greatness.
In the article, Even Better than a Personal Best, published in the April/May issue of Scientific American Mind, researchers report that the social emotions of ENVY and GLOATING are much stronger and shown more publicly than many other emotions, including admiration and relief.
It appears that humans love to win. Even more so, we hate it when we are not the ones winning. Comparison and judgment is wired into our brains in order to keep us high on the food chain.
Therefore, as a high achiever, you will have to weather the jealousy of your peers, and possibly your bosses, which may appear as caustic remarks and exclusion. It doesn’t matter how solid are your intentions.
The good news is, we can feel more than one emotion at a time. So your peers may both admire and envy you. They may like you even though they don’t feel comfortable working with you.
When you feel attacked or unjustly judged, before you jump into defensiveness or feeling hurt, ask yourself if the offender could be fearing they will never be as good as you, that you have not given them enough recognition or attention, that you could threaten their position or future options, or they are angry that they weren’t able to step into the role that you now own. It might give you a better perspective of the situation.
I had lost contact with a dear friend for a year. She finally called to tell me that she was so jealous of my success, she couldn’t bear to be with me. Yet she was now ready to reconnect. I loved her for being so honest. Most of your critics will not be so real.