Wednesday 22 March 2023
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The Power of Positive Jealousy

[Beth Bridges, a regular contributor to intrepidNOW, writes about how to break through personal barriers with regards to both individual and business goals…]

“She’s got too much muscle to run fast for long. You’ll catch her.”

Beth Bridges

Beth Bridges

That was my coach, doing what coaches do. Encouraging his runner who had just got a dismaying look at at new competitor who showed up for the first race of the year. Maybe dismayed wasn’t the word. Impressed. Kinda blown away at her lean physique.

See, I knew her. She was a business friend whom I mostly saw on Facebook, but had run into at a reception during the winter. She had congratulated me on my recent runner-up award for the Valley Runner of the Year series.

“Maybe I’ll try it this coming year,” she had said. I was enthused. The more the merrier; it would be fun to know more of the women who were competing. Until the first race, when she completely blew me away, besting me by nearly three minutes.

I was jealous for about three seconds and then I was over it. Because I don’t allow myself to wallow in any kind of envy or jealousy. They are kin to self-pity, which is one of the most unprofitable and destructive emotions you can feel.

I had worked too hard for what I had achieved – in running and life – to waste any time on feelings that wouldn’t make me a better runner or a better person. Instead, I indulged in what I call “positive jealously.”

When I looked at my running friends results, I didn’t think, “I wish I had what she had” or “What has she got that I don’t?” Instead, I asked myself, “What is she DOING that I’m not doing?”

That is what I call positive jealously. If you want what someone else has or you want to accomplish what they do, you have to look at what they’re doing to achieve it that you’re not doing. Is she training a lot harder? Has she been doing it a long time? What was it she was doing that I could do too?

Because there are a lot of people who have things that I could never get. Like long legs or twenty fewer years on the planet. So it’s also important to focus on the things you can change. Like overall fitness or strength.

It works even better when you apply this to business or life. Because you have far more control over more of the success factors involved. Like working hard, hiring the right people, and understanding your market. Even native intelligence is overrated. If you have a growth mindset, you’ll always outpace someone who’s brilliant but stops learning or won’t take risks because they don’t want to lose.

I’ll never stop learning and I’ll never stop training to be stronger and run faster. I still hold out the positive outlook that I’ll continue to grow and get faster and that at some point, I will beat my friend at running. I expect that she’ll be one of the first to congratulate me!


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Beth Bridges
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Beth Bridges is the Networking Motivator (tm) and author of "Networking on Purpose: A Five-Part Success Plan to Build a Powerful and Profitable Business Network." She attended over 2,500 networking events in 10 years which lead to the development of the Five Part Networking Success Plan (tm). Beth is an avid runner and cyclist and recently ditched a twenty-year-long fear of water so she could become a triathlete.