biz ladiesLife & Business

Biz Ladies: What To Do When You Feel Jealous of Other Biz Ladies

by Stephanie

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from previous Biz Ladies contributor and the creator of the Playing Big women’s leadership program, Tara Sophia Mohr.  Tara has authored step-by-step guides for for fellow female entrepreneurs, has shared her insight on lies that could be holding back your business, and today she offers some advice on how to work through your biz lady jealousy. Thank you so much for tackling this topic, Tara! —Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump…

It happens to all of us. We spy, with our little eyes, a biz lady having amazing success. Her business is growing fast. Her product was featured in a magazine. She signed her first book deal.

Sometimes, we feel jealous. Then we feel really bad about that. This post is about what to do in those times.

The big idea is this:

Jealousy isn’t inherently wrong or bad. Jealousy is meant to be a cue that informs us about what’s missing in our lives and what we long for. Yup, a helpful cue!

Jealousy becomes problematic when we don’t attend to the desire behind the jealousy. Then we act out in ways that hurt others.

Here’s my seven step process for working with your jealousy so that 1) it doesn’t do harm and 2) it can be a useful source of information for you.

Step 1: Wake Up and Smell the Jealousy. We move so fast that often we feel jealous without even knowing it, and unconscious jealousy comes out in not-so-nice ways. So name your jealousy, simply saying to yourself, “Okay, I’m feeling really jealous of Susan.”

Step 2: Be Compassionate. Most of us feel bad, even ashamed, about being jealous. Instead, have compassion, knowing that jealousy simply signals an unquenched longing in your heart. Instead saying, “Bad friend! Bad person!” to yourself, you can say, “Oh honey, I feel ya. Let’s see what this is all about.”

Step 3: Place your hand… Put your hand where you physically feel the jealousy. Do you feel the hurt of it in the center of your chest? Do you feel it deep in your belly? Put your hand there, with a sense of compassion toward yourself.

Step 4: Investigate: Begin to investigate: What am I really jealous of? What does this other woman have that I really want? Let’s say you think you feel jealous because so-and-so’s products got media attention. What’s the specific thing you are really longing for? Maybe for your work to be publicly praised. Maybe to feel like you are running a “real” business. Maybe the core longing is to be confident about your business, like she seems to be.

Step 5: Discern: There are two kinds of desires that show up here: resonant, soulful longings that have to do with becoming more of who you really are – in all your brilliance, grandeur and ability. These desires come from your impulse to self-express and create. And then there are ego-driven desires for approval from others – desires rooted in insecurity and unworthiness. Differentiate between the two kinds. Hold on to the desires that feel like resonant, soulful longings and let go of the parts that feel like meaningless ego-driven striving and comparing. Note: wanting to be seen, validated, or recognized for your gifts can be soulful, positive longings!

Step 6: Name the Longings. Name the core, soulful longings that you discovered in step four, and write them down. “I want to feel confident.” “I want to be surrounded by beauty and order in my home.” “I want to know I’m making progress.” “I want to live with a sense of abundance.” Receive these longings with compassion. No judgment! No mean girls in your head!

Step 7: Own It, Accept It, Pursue it. Whatever those underlying desires are, accept them as part of you. Start pursuing them. Jealousy always stems from a soulful longing that you aren’t fully honoring in your own life. The longing for abundance. Success. Self-expression. Freedom. Whatever it is for you.

Now it’s time to honor your longings and start pursuing them. Explore how you are not totally honoring and working to fulfill those important longings. Brainstorm ways you can more fully accept and pursue them.

Here’s the cool thing: when you know your longings, accept them, and become your own best friend in going for them, jealousy fades. Your eyes refocus on your own path. You’ve given that part of you that wants something your attention. You’ve allowed it to exist. And you are taking action on its behalf. The jealousy fades.

Then, down the line, jealousy may show up again. But, once again, it is there as an aid to you, to point you toward the longings of your spirit that you maybe squashing or denying. Time to listen.






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  • Wonderful post! It’s hard to avoid sizing up your own success by comparing yourself to others in your field, but I love the suggestions for molding those feelings of jealousy into something positive that will push you in the right direction. Thanks for your insight!

  • Excellent post. You put into words what I sometimes cannot express. Definitely these steps will help me move forward when this pops up again.

  • An excellent post especially in light of all the blog posts lately of people struggling with only ever seeing the glamorous instagram worthy moments of a career in progress. Thanks for sharing!

  • Wow! This was so incredibly helpful, and I am only dreaming of owning/running a business! This process is so insightful, and gets to the heart of the matter so deftly!

  • :-) I haven’t read a single word beyond the title (yet), but I had to say, what a GREAT title. It made me smile so wide. :-)

  • Written beautifully. Very honest and practical, thanks. What could be a negative can become the fire under your bottom. When working in the fashion industry, I let this creep in and take over. Finally I got the courage to get out and walk the path less trodden. I sure do feel more like the person i was created to be. Honestly it is jolly hard though, being consistent and to keep designing with little feed back as a freelancer.
    Thank you again Tara for your candor and openness when dealing with this subject.

  • I’ve found that it can be so fruitful to take a moment of jealousy and turn it into a chance to appreciate and honor the other person who you’re feeling jealous toward. Recognizing that their achievements are more than fuel for the fire of my aspirations and need has been a great way to deepen my relationships in my creative community. So many great suggestions in here, but I would add a Step 8: take a moment to write a note of sincere congratulations!

  • Excellent post. Oh so true, but I’ve found it to be a super helpful tool to push my creative skills and better my design skills. Yes, Le, good point- I like that, acknowledge the achievements of those you look up to! They can be our best drivers and mentors.

  • “Sullivan” made an interesting point. It’s so easy to become jealous when you see only the positives about another person’s business or lifestyle being splashed around on social media. It’s helpful to remember that every business owner struggles just like you. Focus on the positives of your own business, identify the things that you need to work on, and go get ’em.

  • This is so wonderful–thanks for bringing up a topic that most people don’t want to talk about or touch. We could all use a little reminder of this from time-t0-time, especially in the blog/design/art world :)


  • Way to tackle a big topic in design land and beyond. Kudos to Design Sponge team for posting this lovely article. Such a great way to help turn the feelings into action. Much appreciated…

  • Perfect timing! As a businesswoman in a small community (Maui) there is a lot of ‘competition’, especially in my field (raw food). Recently a bunch of us have come together and talked about this, and made some pacts with each other to not copycat, but to support and promote one another and give space for everyone to shine. Even to look past ‘healthy competition’ and swap jealousy for praise has been a big turning point. And now everyone’s business is thriving the more! Mahalo for your insight, and can’t wait to share.

  • Thanks so much for these wonderful reminders, and for ways to turn “jealousy” into lessons and growing experiences. Perhaps jealously is no more than resistance to our own individual growth and expression!

  • So true! I had to laugh a little reading this, because it’s something no one wants to admit, but we’ve all felt at one time. Thank you so much for sharing and onwards towards celebrating each other’s successes!

  • This is not limited to the business world – what beautifully written advice! Definitely the best thing I have read this week! It will definitely help me – thank you!

  • I find that jealousy is often rooted in comparison–which we all do, but can be really debilitating. My husband often reminds me that when I compare myself to others I often fall into two categories. The first is thinking that I am not good enough, which leads to jealousy/envy. The second is thinking that I am better which often leads to pride. I’m always trying to keep this in balance. Easier said than done. : )

  • I heard a quote once that really illuminated jealousy for me…something like, “Jealousy may not be a kind friend, but it is a loyal one.”

    Using your jealousy as a compass is a fantastic way to find out what your true heart’s desires are. Sometimes, it’s scary to admit you don’t have what you want…but it’s better to face it, so you can make plans to go get it.

    I love that Biz Ladies is focusing on the emotional life of businesspeople, as well as the logistical. : ) Always love this column. Thank you.

  • I keeping this post. I will probably print and every time I look at someones work and business, perhaps even life I shall refer. Its making me feel more positive about myself. I also needed the confirmation that I am not the only person in the world that gets jealous.

  • Great post. I’d add that it’s important to recognize that success doesn’t always go to the most talented or hardest-working people and this can be a trigger of jealousy for me. Having been in business for 14 yrs, I’ve learned to only look at what others are doing as a way to see if there’s some trend we’ve missed but other than that I’ve found the happiest career path is one on which I just focus on whether the work I’m doing meets my own standards of success. In other words, run your own race your own way and be content with that.

  • Tara, this is such an insightful and helpful article! I applaud your expansive view to see something that might normally be thought of as negative and help us apply it to our lives in such a positive manner! Kudos to you! And thank you so much for your ever helpful and loving guidance!
    Christine B. Ariel, QHHT

  • impeccable timing with this message in my inbox, Tara! This very morning I journalled a big fat list of all the creators + movers + shakers that have got my wishywisher in squeezy jealous knots, with the intention to unpack the gifts they want to give me ’bout where I”m blocking my mojo-in-the-making. So I super appreciate this serendipitous and clear wisdom on how to juice the energy from the longing instead of getting stuck bein’ a hater. Another energetic approach I like to take to jealousy arising is to ground in our Oneness, feel that I’m not separate from the being that is embodying the quality i desire, and to deeply feel, honor, and celebrate that contribution as part of me through our interconnectedness. Jai!!

  • Thank you very much for this post. I was experiencing this jealousy just the other day and your post is a gift to me. Thank you’

  • Thank you Tara This is also “spot on” for me too. I love how you turn the longing into a positive gift. Such a great growing up tool!!

  • “Now it’s time to honor your longings and start pursuing them.” Yeah — very sunny, facile outlook.

    But what do I do with my jealousy of someone announcing a pregnancy when I can’t get pregnant any more, even after trying and trying?

    Some longings in life are not tidily resolved. Some longings just are and thinking about them different may not actually help. Cranky? Yes, I am.

    • “Me”

      I think it helps to talk about those things with friends. I don’t feel that way about children, but I know what it feels like to watch other people around you settle down and wonder when/if that will happen for you. Talking with people you trust (friends, family, therapist) is the best way to deal with it for me. There’s not always a clean/clear answer, but I find it takes the edge off things if you feel the pang of “why can’t I”? more often than you’d like.


  • I’m a retiree, so definitely not a Biz Lady — yet this strategy works superbly for anyone who is plagued by self-recrimination over thinking mean thoughts about others! THANKS, as always, for your awesome offerings to help us succeed as good people in hectic times!

  • This post was great a great read. I appreciate the invitation to turn my thoughts around. Something else I am trying to cultivate around this topic is abundance. In addition to recognizing the longing, I want to remind myself that there is enough for everyone and I can create what I want.

  • As everyone has said, this is a great article! You’ve just highlighted a “dirty little secret” of today’s professional women. I’m sure many have experienced one or the other side of professional jealousy. We work so hard for our careers, when an individual tries to bring you down to lift themselves up…in the end they lose. We may not see it immediately but that spirit surly dictates the rest of their business. I truly believe women as a community in business or at home work most harmoniously together.

  • LOVE this post!
    Thanks for the practical, step by step advice on how to manage a normal feeling.
    I appreciate the advice to put down the bat and validate the feeling, seeking the root.
    Great point: “Jealousy is meant to be a cue that informs us about what’s missing in our lives and what we long for. ” Great insight, Tara.
    Thanks for posting this, Stephanie!!

  • this was meant just for me TODAY!!!! as i wrote in my journal this morning it was all about being jealous (altho i think envy is a better word?) not that I dont want wonderful things for the person i feel envious of because i really really do. What i realized is that i’m not jealous of superficial things but i am envious of the passion with which she goes at life. everything in her life, decorating, work, weightloss and physical fitness….and so i am just feeling like i want to feel that way in my own life. feeling like my time has passed? only i can change that….

  • Wonderful topic! Most jealously has been packed in old baggage. Were we smart, pretty, thin, funny, creative enough for X (“X” being WHATEVER or WHOEVER)? I’ve dealt with it myself in ways large & small. I’ve learned to turn twinges of jealousy into envy & then appreciation of what the other person has done. Jealousy is a cousin of hate – which in itself is so destructive. What do we do about others whom we know are jealous of us? I’m not a superstar by any means but know that I’ve been really good at certain things. A former colleague defused everyone’s graces except those of her bosses (in their presence of course). I couldn’t engage her but I had to work with her. It honestly made me sick. I probably should have had a one on one w/her to let her know how she was perceived by everyone. It’s sad really. I missed my chance to be of use to her. Or she would have accused me of being a jealous little b*tch myself. :) Know thyself. Right?

  • Beautifully written, insightful post, with an excellent process for working through jealousy. I particularly appreciate the advice to stop judging jealousy and ourselves and identify the deep, resonant longing that resides inside. I want to share this post with several women I know who are struggling with this very issue. Thanks for the brilliant article.

  • I’m a big fan of having and using the right tools. Thank-you for sharing the one for turning what I thought was a pointless emotion into a positive and productive new direction. This is Gold!

  • I came across this just as I was feeling jealous over a good friend’s amazing success of late. I felt guilty and wondered why I felt this way. After reading your post Tara it all became clear – I’m longing to fulfil my own dreams and am currently on the Dream Road that is going over lots of challenging, fear filled terrain.
    Thank you for this insightful post.

  • Thank you for addressing something that so many women struggle with on a daily basis. It does feel nice to be able to speak and own that you are jealous of someone, rather than holding onto those feelings. I really like how you discussed that jealousy isn’t always a bad thing! It can inspire others to work towards a status that you hope to attain. I have really began to evaluate the meaning behind the jealousy in my life. Thank you Tara, for an insightful post!