The Green Eyed Plateau-Puss // How to Overcome Inertia and Jealousy: A Guest Post by Amma of Beyond Beyond

April 6, 2012

Hi, my name is Amma and I would like to confess that sometimes I have green eyes.  Yes, I know that biological anomaly that I, as a child of African parents could have emerald green peepers – but I’m talking about professional jealously and how you get over it.

As, some of you may or may not know – I still have a day job; as day jobs go mine is not half bad and given the state of female unemployment at present; I certainly know which side my bread is buttered; so I am more than happy to plod along – albeit sometimes sulkily as a 5-9er until I hit my professional tipping point.

Now, without getting into the nitty-gritty of it all – I had some personal stuff going on that really meant that despite streaking the sky like a comet when I first began my foray into business.  I got forced to slow down, in fact not just slow down – I had to hit the brakes and I experienced a mega slide into a career plateau.  Although, work requests and projects were coming in thick and fast, there was no way that I could take it on, and circumstance meant that ‘my stuff’, blogging, and the day became an all encompassing festival of woe.

Of course when you are feeling sorry for yourself – you can guarantee that one old friend who is going to show up to complete the guest list at your pity party is jealousy.  When you are going through crap, nothing warms your soul more than seeing your luminaries doing well.

You all started at the same time and you start saying to yourself when you see a write up, or a feature on a blog ‘That should be me!’, ‘I want to be at home with my cat acting as a foot warmer’, ‘I wish I could go to said party or event at midday, I don’t wanna work!’

Well, sorry kids – the bad news is that you have to build a bridge and get over it!  So, here are my top 5 tips for overcoming your jealousy and the dreaded career plateau.

The grass isn’t always greener, it is frequently covered in pesticides

The security of a day job means that I get a chance to be lazy.  If I waste my time at work; I am wasting my employer’s time. Those 4 hours spent playing bejewelled before getting on with my blog posts is all kinds of awesome!   However, being full time means that you have to be mega disciplined as freelancing means fluctuations in income.

In the space of a month, you might go from being the Louis Vuitton Don – to a Kafkaesque existence where subsist on cold baked beans eaten out of a tin by candlelight to save on the leccy.  In other words, working for yourself means you might on occasion vacillate between the abject joy of achievement (not to mention filthy lucre) and the terror of failure, worrying about where the money is coming from.

You also live in a land where holidays don’t really exist.  Trust me, while it may look glamorous – the hermit who lives in a hole in Blackheath has a more active social life than most freelancers.

Quit the navel gazing and do something

Anytime, I find myself wondering what other people are doing I pinch myself and look at what I’m doing.  ‘What is that Amma? Are you looking at lolcats or playing digital dress up on ASOS?’

Funny thing is that I guarantee that the people who are more successful than me aren’t – they are working on marketing, networking, building their brand, and looking at ways of developing their business.

So, even it if is one small action such as updating your website information, changing your email signature or mailing that form.  It will get you much further than envious procrastination ever will.

Decide what you actually want

Sometimes, the reason why we are jealous is that we haven’t decided what we want.  In other words we want every single opportunity rather than thinking about whether it is the right opportunity.

Sit down and honesty appraise what your objectives are and make sure your intentions are driven by the right reasons.  I’ve done things for the sake of ego that were on reflection terrible brand and business decisions (although the lessons learned were necessary).

Another thing to remind yourself of is; what is for you is meant for you.  I don’t think that there are lost opportunities, and on many occasions better versions of what you want show up (if you have the patience).  Looking back, some of the things that I’ve craved the most would have been the worst things ever!

Celebrate success and create opportunities

Fortune isn’t finite – there really is enough space for everyone! The wedding industry is not like The Hunger Games where only one can ever survive. The fact that others have made it simply means that is possible.   The key is moving beyond the viewpoint of seeing other people’s success as your loss and acknowledging that if they can make it; you can too!

The achievements of others are a blueprint and not a sore point.  While I wouldn’t advocate mimicry – as being a copycat never works in creating a lasting success (and I am a great believer in professional karma) take inspiration from the accomplishments of others.  Dreamily (and enviously) playing the ‘Wish it was me’ game really won’t get you anywhere.

Also, nothing and nobody is stopping you from creating opportunities for yourself – If you want to write more; search for writing gigs.  If you want to work on styled shoots – reach out to others, collaborate and make stuff happen.  If you want to do interesting projects – begin now!

Accept your limitations – there are only 24 hours in the day

Bless your hearts, you thought I was going to say something like aim for the sun and you will hit the moon…. nah wrong.  Two things that you have to critically appraise are your skill set and commitments – you have to be really honest with yourself and recognise what you cannot do.  Failure happens when high expectations, delusions of grandeur, and lack of time meet.

So, far the only persons to demonstrate the ability to manipulate the time space continuum are Marty McFly and H.G Wells – the key fact is that they are both fictional. Unless, Steve Jobs stages a second coming and says ‘Behold, I’ve returned to bring you the flux capacitor!’ – You only have 24 hours a day: some devoted to sleep, some dedicated to day job, family, friends, and beloved furry animals – this you must accept what you won’t do it all.

Even, those you envy wish they had more time.  All the people I know who are ‘living the dream’ are terrifyingly busy despite not ‘working for the man’.  Moving from part time hustle into a full time hustle tends to mean you work more and not less.

So, don’t lie to yourself or damage your pre molars biting off more than you can chew.  You are better off doing one project that is kickass with the time that you have; as opposed to doing multiple things poorly (because you are trying to keep up with photographer, blogger, designer, stylist* delete as appropriate).  I am not telling you can’t do what you want – but I’ve learnt the hard way to focus on the stuff that I’ve actually got time for; which means having to say no to some opportunities.

So, Dear Lovers don’t stand by the sidelines cursing fate wondering why it isn’t you.  Yes, it’s a killer at times. Yes, you will wish that a fairy godmother, reasonable sized lottery win, or some magical career changing opportunity comes up.  But, there is no such thing as overnight success and although working towards your dream can be a beautiful nightmare at times – transforming that jealousy into motivation and inspiration will get you further than ‘Why me?’ ever will.

I hope that this little lecture has helped you… P.S why are you skiving on Rock n Roll Bride being all envious and stuff… shouldn’t you be doing something?

Amma Adjubi-Archibald is a wedding & design blogger on Beyond Beyond, stationery shop owner (one and two), graphic designer, and generally quite cheeky.

All Photography Credit: Lily & Frank