I’m susceptible to a long list of faults, but envy isn’t high on that list. I’ll admit it though, I’m human, and of course that feeling creeps in every once in a while. For instance, when Rockstar Debutante Ball author Jenni announced her second, third, fourth, and twenty-sixth book deals, I had a moment of envy. (Seriously, Jenni, you’re freaking amazing.)
The flip side is that Jenni has put in the work for those book deals that I haven’t. Reference last week’s post about how I’ll finish my second memoir this year…or perhaps I won’t. I can’t have that both ways. I can’t give myself the flexibility to finish a book on my schedule and yet feel jealous of Jenni for rocking it.
One thing that’s awesome about the five of us on the Debutante Ball is how we are achieving successes in such diverse ways. Amy killed it with coverage in women’s magazines, New York Times, and sooooo many other places. Jenni has a film option, Crystal has sold foreign rights in a bazillion languages, and Tiffany has earned three – yep, count ‘em, THREE – starred reviews.
It would be easy to be jealous of any one of those successes, but when you look at each of their novels, it makes sense they’ve achieved what they have. Crystal’s novel is set in Rome; of course it’s earned foreign sales. Jenni wrote a story that would play out excellently on a screen. Amy’s audience is largely women and New Yorkers (and so many others); of course women’s magazines and a trillion** outlets picked it up. And Tiffany? Allegedly is simply brilliant and she put the research and time into it to make sure the main character would resonate with readers.
The thing about jealousy is that you have to look at the whole picture of someone’s situation to understand there is no free lunch. Everything comes with a cost. Amy, Tiffany, Crystal, and Jenni have all worked their rears off, and they’ve each written novels that put them on a path for the accomplishments that came next.
That isn’t to say that the luck of timing and opportunity doesn’t play a role. Of course it does. I know several writers with worthy manuscripts sitting in drawers because they never found publishers. But I also know a writer who is on her third manuscript after that was the case with the first two – she is beyond ferocious and unstoppable.
So, sure, success is a combination of hard work and luck. The question is what happens when things don’t go our way but they do for someone else. Do we quit? Or do we double down?
Do you believe that ultimately the universe is in control of your success? Or do you believe that you are?
One of those ethos will put you on a path straight to envy. The other will lead to hard work and dedication.
What I tell myself is that it’s okay to feel jealous, at least for a minute and a half. But then recognize that feeling for what it is, turn it around into an energy that will serve you, and then get to work.
**Apparently, I’m into hyperbole today.