Let’s be honest…we have all felt a little green with envy from time to time. No…so are you trying to say it’s just me? Ok…fine, I’ll go it alone.

But honestly, I know we have all felt a pang of something before, and then we suppress it because we know envy is wrong and besides, we are civilized folk.

Here’s the thing, the other side of envy is actually admiration, it’s just that envy brings with it, bitterness, resentment and a whole host of “why not me’s!”. But at the core of envy is a recognition that someone has done well, or has some abilities that you wished you had. I believe in leaning into the wind, instead of always fighting it, so when next you see someone actually implementing an idea and making it work, or perhaps she is wearing a fashion trend that you never had the nerve to rock, or maybe she just seems to get it, and you feel the green stuff coming on…lean into it.

I don’t mean become bitter, rude and resentful and I certainly don’t mean try to knock the person down by diminishing their achievements..no, lean into it by following these three steps:

1. Celebrate winning

She did really well. And if you look back in your past, you have done well on other occasions as well. Even if you feel like you don’t have any achievements of note, you are still breathing which means you have a second chance to make things happen and so as far as I am concerned, you are winning. If she has killer legs and you hate the cellulite on yours, no worries! Compliment her and celebrate the fact that if she can do it, so can you. If she is a financial whiz and somehow has become a millionaire by age 40, celebrate. Pop some champagne, because it means that becoming a millionaire is an achievable goal.

2. Recognize and learn from their WOW factor

Sometimes success seems so mysterious. Demystify it. Figure out how they did it. Observe them. Study them. Ask them if they can mentor you (if they refuse, no sweat – you can still observe from afar). Take note of the things that make them special. Are there things you can learn and then apply in your own life? Accept that they have the WOW, and then figure out how to create your own WOW.

3.Drive your own car and follow your own path. 

Success in life is not a destination, but rather a journey and everyone is going to approach it a little differently. She may have gotten awards at 21, and you may never be recognized by any formal organization, but you will leave a legacy of your own if you just focus on doing your work, the best way possible. We all have our own path. Stay on yours even as you appreciate the roses on hers.

That last point is really vital, I am not just saying it because it sounds good. 

It is imperative to understand that we all have our own unique “magic” or the thing that makes us great and when someone is operating in their magic mode, to the outsider, it looks easy and that can be irritating when you seem to be grinding and pushing so hard. It’s not necessarily that some people get things handed to them, it could be that they built up a foundation at a really strategic time and so now you see them and they seem to be overnight successes but they really spent years building this brand on the side. It could also be that they have discovered their “magic” mode and you haven’t found yours yet. So don’t begrudge them theirs, just focus on finding yours!

Basically what I am saying is this, Do you! And do it well. You rock and you need to know this. And even if you didn’t know this until just now, it’s alright, because as one of my favorite African proverbs says, “whenever you wake up, that is your own morning” and your alarm clock just went off!


Ekene Onu is the dynamic, soulful and visionary founder of Refresh Leadership Circle & Retreats for Women, a vibrant social networking entity for high-octane and executive women. A former successful pharmacist, Ms.Onu is an internationally-recognized Leadership and Executive Strategist, Diversity and Inclusion consultant, and Women’s Lifestyle Coach,with a practice stemming from her variegated experiences living and working across the globe. — 

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