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

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

31 comments

  1. Amma, you are very wise and kinda brave too to admit to being jealous. I feel that way sometimes but am reluctant to admit and it feels a bit like failure.

    But as you say you have to turn those moments into something productive.

  2. Great post Amma, even those of us who are ‘living the dream’ are struck down by moments of woe and envy. It’s nipping it in the bud and getting on with things, making stuff happen, instead of wishing stuff would happen and working far harder than I ever did when I had my day job that keeps you moving onwards and upwards. Even if sometimes it can feel frustratingly slow. It will all happen for you Amma, I just know it.

  3. Wise wise words my lovely, and as someone I often turn to for professional advice, great to hear you honesty.
    It is so easy to get wrapped up in what others are doing but as you say, focusing on what we have and what we have acheived ourseves is fundimenatly the most importamt thing….and if it isn’t happening then make it happen.

    Love you Amma, you rock!

    xxx

  4. Abbie – I don’t think that I’ve been even a teensy bit brave, I’ve got more strength from admitting my failures tbh xxx

    Babbs – I do love you xx

    Veronica – when you put it on the wall ignore my typos *shakes head* I’m now also jealous of people who proofread properly lol x

    Kelly – I love you lady, so important not to get focused on what other people are up to and remember that one there is enough, and two that they are doing what works for them!

    Lisa D – You should be jealous *spanks own ass*

  5. YES!! Amma, I love you, this is some fantastic advice, and delivered in that no-holds-barred (although not in 3rd person) way that you are just so flipping good at! These Green Room posts just keep getting better and better, Kat you have GREAT taste in guest bloggers, there hasn’t been one so far that I didn’t already love, but this one was particularly appropriate… being the navel-gazing procrastinator that I am… Thank you! xx

    ps. I total laughed at the last part “why are you skiving on Rock n Roll Bride…” because that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking while reading the “navel gazing” paragraph!

  6. Great advice and it’s greatly appreciated. I’ve been at my blog for well over a year now and my stats were up, but I needed to change up my brand as I am no longer doing direct wedding and event planning. I thought that I’d retain readers and my stats would remain the same and the sky was the limit. Wrong! My stats went down to newbie levels and since January, they have started to get back to where they were. These past few months have definitely been an exercise in humility and me trying to suppress that green eyed monster. Your words have reaffirmed that my decision in the long run will work and that instead of focusing on what every one else is doing, I need to be the very best me I can be. Thanks so much!

  7. Kerry – You’re work is fantastic, find it hard to believe that you are a procrastinator 🙂 So glad that you like my words.

    Kristen – that sounds like stress with the stats and going down, but the good thing is that you didn’t give up, so happy that things are getting back to where they were for you!

  8. Haha! Love it, especially this comment

    ‘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’

    Absolutely love it, I’ve been self employed since 2007 and have months when I am racking up the points on my Harrods Loyalty card like there is no tomorrow, trying to jump up to the next points tier followed by months where I find myself asking if I could cash the reward points in at ASDA whilst shopping wearing said Louis Vuittons 🙂 and I had my first holiday a few weeks back since 2008, 4 days off! My first non related work trip in 4 years.

    This made me giggle, thanks for the laugh and the good advice. Nice shoes by the way.

  9. Fantastic post, full of great advice!

    I’ve worked full time for myself for a little over a year and although I am working a lot more hours than I was, struggling with some professional envy and tearing myself away from Twitter and Pinterest I am loving every minute of it. However I have had to learn that things can’t all happen at once and over night success doesn’t exist for most people, so I am finding ways to enjoy the journey! 🙂

  10. Great post , it was so relevant to me as I’m striving for the day I can change my tagline from ‘secretary by day, artist by night’ to just ‘artist’ and I’m glad I still follow all the wedding folk I was so obsessed with when I was still abride-to-be or I wouldn’t have seen your pearls of wisdom!

  11. Ah-mazing. This really resonates with me, but it’s all true.

    It’s always particularly difficult when you really hate your day job, even when that’s a job many would give their right arm to do but the joy of getting paid at the end of every month, and the long term goal keeps you ploughing through.

  12. Amber

    Love this! Amma you are awesome and I don’t know how you do everything you do on top of a day job, that’s is something to be totally proud of!

    I think some people see self-employment as a happy-ever-after and it’s really not like that at all at times, I fluctuate from too busy to do anything but work, to deadly quiet and worried where my next pay check will come from. I’m jealous of people who can switch off at the end of the day, take holidays without worrying about work or money. I get jealous of my husband who has people to talk to at work and funny stories to tell me when he comes home, when my only news is that I got dressed before 12 or that the cat pooed on our new sofa (this happened). I guess it’s all about finding balance whatever you’re doing, and focussing on your own achievements instead is great advice. x

  13. Thanks for that amazing artcile, very relieved to see that these ugly feelings are natural but that you can control them and direct this energy into something else… great article, as usual on that blog!

  14. Natasha Jane

    I bloody love you Amma you just tell it how it should be told! I constantly question myself, my abilities and how far I’ve come but it’s all about that extra push. I want so much more and its about making it happen for yourself.

    Sometimes someone will give you a little helping hand and it’s always worth remembering them and trying to help them too sometimes.

    There will always be someone you want to aspire to but somewhere out there, there’s someone aspiring to be just like you! XxX

  15. Elly Mac – I can’t believe that there is a Harrods reward card! Really! Really! REALLY! But, I know the pain some months I’ve done well off freelance projects and then it all goes quiet. But, thanks for your honesty… and the shoes ASOS!

    Sam – Well done on taking the full time plunge! Love your site and you’ve done some amazing projects by the way. But, you’ve got the right approach not expecting it overnight.

    Nicola – Wedding blogs never stop being addictive, but keep pushing on. I hope that you make the transition, and once again love your work!

    Ellie – That’s the tough thing, I’ve been immensely lucky the company that I work for and my boss are really supportive and have given me design projects and referred me clients. So, it is a mixed blessing. But, each month I know despite the times when I wish I was doing my stuff full time; at least the bills are covered.

    Cloggins – Thanks Lovely x

    Amber – Work can be mental but I get amazing support and I do have to be disciplined, and be strict about my availability for work, and also I’d rather say now and do a few things well than say yes and end up messing up.

    Natasha Jane – You’re doing phenomenally well hun! So you should feel proud, you are so talented and you’ve come so far! You are correct, you never know who wants to be where you are.

    Debbie – Love you lady xxx

  16. Well said! I am guilty of thinking I want things and not properly analysing if it is right for me. I am working on it! Thanks for the reminder.

  17. love this post lady, i had no idea you worked full time too! i have even more admiration for your wonderful, talented, witty and beautiful self now lady xxx

  18. WPM – Thanks!

    Chanelle – I’ve been much happier since I’ve taken my focus of what other people are doing. What is brilliant for one brand/business might be bad for another!

    Abbey – thanks sweets, the story of why I’m full time is another blog post in itself. Such words of praise mean a lot as I really admire you! xxx

  19. I’m reading this while I should be doing ten thousand other things, and it’s ringing so many bells for me…. are you sure you’re not inside my head lol? Some fantastic advice that I’m going to be doing my best to follow from now on, thanks for writing it 🙂

  20. An excellent post Amma and one I’ll be keeping in my bookmarks to give me a kick up the butt when the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head!!

  21. Great post Amma – it really is good to know others feel the same way sometimes. We’re fairly new to the wedding industry (but not to running a business) and some days I wonder what the hell I’m doing and have a total wobble. It’s good to stop and take stock and realise what you’ve achieved and stop comparing yourself to others.
    (you look gorgeous by the way!)
    Heidi xx

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