Scott’s intense focus was on me. I knew he was angry, but I didn’t know why! It happened 9 years ago. It was our weekly small group meeting. He facilitated a group looking to share life with all of its victories and defeats, drama and laughter. That week, Nancy was bursting with joy. She had been offered her dream employment.
She would be moving to take on the opportunity of a life time. Her excitement permeated my being. It was exciting to listen to her and wanted to know more. Taking in her joy continued as she answered my questions. She was glowing and grinning ear to ear. That was fun to watch. But, someone was not amused.
The next week, Scott confessed: first to himself, then me. The issue? Envy. She received her dream and it was his dream also. Scott was looking for a job because he wasn’t happy with his.
Scott fessed up that he was ashamed of his behavior. He knew he needed to be thankful to have a job no matter how unhappy he was. Half the group was unemployed, including me. It had been a long haul and I was still pressing forward. Knowing this, he wanted to ask something. How could I share Nancy’s news and be happy for her?
Talk about a great question. How could I celebrate with her? I thought back to my first period of unemployment when I was told these challenges would build my character. (I also remember wanting to swat the person!) So, what had changed? I changed. I learned to persevere.
My reply to Scott? “I’m happy for her, sad for me, and filled with hope when I see someone else succeed.”
Have you taken the time to guage your response to the success of others? What do you feel? Happy, sad, jealous, envious, proud, mad? When was the last time someone achieving their dream was cause for celebration for you too? Do you trust that life will include achieving your dreams? Would you like to be better at waiting? Persevering? Would you be willing to support others while they wait?
Yes, I wanted my ideal job, too.
Yes, I wanted it now.
Yes, I wanted an adventure.
Yes, I wanted the uncertainty to be over.
Yes, I was sad for me and my loss.
Yes, I was happy for Nancy and her gain.
Yes, I could’ve been envious.
But, where would that get me?
I had a choice. I choose to delight in her moment and share her joy! Why not? I could borrow it for the moment, be in the moment, and control my life experience in that moment. AND reap a prize! Not only did it feel great to feel joy, I knew that if good things could happen to her, they could happen to me. There was hope. I would stay motivated.
Did it change anything for me employment wise? No. At that moment I was still unemployed. Yet, being envious wasn’t going to change anything for me. In fact, being infected with envy could kill my chances of getting a new job, not to mention my relationship with Nancy. How? By impacting my attitude. I’d rather borrow the joy. That impacts my attitude too! It helps to stay motivated. For in the joy, lies the hope and motivation to persevere.
Sometimes, life takes longer than you want. When things drag on for what feels like an eternity, persevere. It leads to victory! Long term and short term. It would be great if you could control all your circumstances. But you can’t. No one can. But you can have positive experiences while you wait, if you choose to.
Position yourself for the best possible outcomes. Share in the joy and successes of others, no matter what’s happening in your world. Soak up their joy and let it be your fuel to persevere.
Have a great week filled with joyful moments!