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Mindful Leadership

Hindrance #4: Do You Ever Experience Envy or Jealousy?

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Envy and jealousy often manifest themselves through spending beyond your means in order to buy another company, another building, a new computer system, a larger home, a boat, another car, et cetera. A leader could become envious that a leader in another company has higher compensation, believing that “if they fall behind” they will not be as well perceived by the market or their peers.  They could also become jealous if they see that a direct report is smarter or more likeable than they are.  This is an indication that they are not secure within themselves. 

Envy and jealousy, of course, can also be experienced in one’s personal life.  One can experience this hindrance with friends, neighbours or siblings. 

When you fall victim to this hindrance, you feel a sense of incompleteness that you think can only be satiated when you obtain what someone else has, or intends to have. But the satisfaction is fleeting, if it exists at all, because someone else always has more than you do. As soon as you satisfy the first desire, another one creeps in and you’re off in search of it, in a desperate attempt to maintain your sense of worthiness.

Envy and jealousy make you believe that satisfaction and fulfillment lie outside of yourself, that by your nature you’re incomplete and something external is required to make you whole. You can see how it’s a slippery slope: much like an addict who can never be satisfied, someone who is envious or jealous can never be satisfied.

Jealousy is more obvious.  But envy can be very subtle.  A question you might ask yourself is, “Do I consider myself to be hard done by?  Do I think that what happens to me is unfair and that others are always luckier?”  The answer to these questions can be very revealing.

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