A little over a year ago, someone launched a project and it gave me feelings. I copied + pasted the link and sent the page to my then story-consultant-friend-coach and wrote in incomprehensible language how disgusted I was with this guy's latest attempt at brilliance.
He sent back an email within a few minutes saying, "let's talk about this tomorrow."
I remember snarling at the computer screen the next day. That white-hot feeling of why didn't I think of this boiling up and over into my words.
"I mean, it's not like they're actually doing anything."
My friend chuckled under his breath.
"Sounds like you're jealous."
I took a breath and glanced over the website again, this time through an analytical eye. Great design—check. Great copy—check. Impressive backers—check.
My voice dropped to barely a whisper.
"Maybe a little."
He grunted in appreciation, both for my honesty and his intuitiveness. I leaned forward swiped my mouse back to the home page of my laptop so I could see his face on Skype.
"But listen. That doesn't make sense. I don't want to do this. I don't have the slightest interest in what they're hoping to accomplish here." My nose wrinkled again. "This feels sleazy. Manipulative, even."
He told me to think about it. To allow myself the notion that maybe—just maybe—this jealousy was trying to tell me something. I got quiet for a moment, allowing my eyes to scan over the website one more time and really listening to my body —
Where was I feeling the anger and jealousy?
What was that telling me about anything?
How would I act on this emotion now?
I sat up straighter.
"Oh my god. I know what it is."
He looked at me and raised an eyebrow, waiting.
A smile played at my lips.
"This jealousy? It's showing me I can do this. There's nothing about what this person did that isn't within my reach. Even more, I can do it better. I know I can. This website is amazing, but there's a better way to support writers and artists. I feel it in my gut." I tapped on the desk with my finger.
"I'm not frustrated because he's doing it and I'm not. I'm frustrated because I can see a way to do it better and right now, I don't have the resources. I don't have the Big Name backing me. I don't have the fancy website. I don't have the perceived value because of ridiculous prices."
"They are kinda ridiculous." he nodded.
I looked at my friend. "But this doesn't have to stop me, does it?"
I leaned close again. "What if I did something different? What if I gave space for authors and dreamers and artists to grow and thrive with no expectations? What if I became the counter to this offering?"
He leaned back in his chair and rested his hands behind his head.
"Elora my friend, you just became an entrepreneur."
I laughed and pointed at the screen.
"You did this on purpose."
The whole side of his face lifted with his shoulder when he shrugged. "Maybe a little bit."
Jealousy is fierce. It can take you out before you even know what hit you.
But what if you can take that emotion and turn it into a map? What if you could ask the emotions threatening to ruin your day hey—I see you, show me more. How can we grow out of this?
It takes skill. It takes the practice of breathing and flipping the switch of feeling everything in your bones to an analytical mindset. When this happens, something strange comes out of it: instead of discounting the feelings and emotions, you're giving them the platform to speak.
Before, they were just banging around trying to get you to listen.
Now? They'll come at you a little softer, maybe even offer a moment of clarity with open hands.
It's a practice of embodiment, giving space and name to everything you experience within this flesh and bone. It doesn't mean it won't ever happen again. I can't tell you how many times I've felt the curly fingers of envy threaten to dismantle everything I've built. But since learning about this concept, I've started making maps out of my emotions.
Sometimes, fear shows me an overstepped boundary.
Anger points to the practiced skill of owning my voice.
Frustration reveals a better rhythm for my problem.
And jealousy? Well she always makes me work even harder but it's in the best way—she's the one who helps me stand up to my full potential.
The project that launched doesn't exist anymore. I think about it every once in a while, how it served as a catalyst for me to buckle down and work. I never saw this brand as competition, there were too many holes within their system for me to take them seriously. But I learned from them —
I learned about launching too soon.
I learned about mistaking market research.
I learned about biting off more than you can chew.
I learned about watching who you partner with in joint ventures.
But most of all? I learned that the easiest way to watch your hard work crumble around you is to start focusing on what everyone else is doing. You don't build a house doing research on how everyone else built theirs—you do it brick by brick with the dirt under your fingernails and sweat on your brow and the hope blossoming in your chest.
Head down, eyes focused, only coming up for air. That's how you get things done. When the emotions bite, close those eyes. Find where you're feeling the pinch. Say hi and ask for what it wants to show you.
And when the map is revealed, you move.
Have you ever had a moment where emotions threatened to take you out? Tell me about it in the comments!