How professional envy can help freelancers

October 14th, 2011

green eyed monster.jpgWe’re told not to get hung up coveting the careers of those more successful than us, to stop getting bogged down by what we don’t have and focus on building up what we do. However, new research on envy shows that this advice may be misguided.

[Flickr photo by rileyroxx] 

Apparently, when we covet the lives of others, we not only study them carefully, but we’re more apt to remember the details of what they have and how they got it.

As John Tierney writes in the New York Times, “By paying more attention to these people, we might learn to emulate some of the strategies that yielded their advantages.”

So, exactly how does a freelancer use the green-eyed monster to advance their career? Herewith, some suggestions:

Research the career trajectory of those your envy. Study their bio online, and if you can, their LinkedIn profile. Read articles about them, interviews with them. Listen to their podcasts and watch their videos. What clients have their worked for? What training and job titles have they had? What professional associations do they belong to? What awards have they won? Where have they published or spoken publicly? What of this can you emulate so you, too, can achieve what they’ve achieved professionally?

Study their professional philosophy. Does the object of your envy have a favorite mantra? If so, abide by it. See which of their ways of thinking and working you can adopt. Read the industry blogs and publications they read. Go where they go to get inspired. Join the organizations they join. Learn who inspires them, who they envy. Then study the objects of their envy to see what other sage advice you can glean.

[Read the rest of this post on NWjobs]

Entry Filed under: Book

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Colleen  |  February 25th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    This is so true. I’m in the middle of reading Christina Katz’s book on platform building, and it’s really motivated me to start looking at the ways other writers have built connections and an image around themselves. I think most writers know that if you want to improve your writing, you need to read the work of other writers. But on the business end, we also need to look at the way successful writers have gotten to where they are professionally, and try to emulate that too.

  • 2. Link Love « Speech &hellip  |  June 5th, 2012 at 7:43 am

    [...] The Anti 9-to-5 Guide – How Professional Envy Can Help Freelancers [...]

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Who I am

Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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