Fri, January 04 2013

How to figure out what you want to do: the jealousy test

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Nonprofit leadership • Personal •

It’s the time of year when a lot of us (including me) take stock.  Why are we here?  What should we be doing in 2013?

A few years back, I was lamenting to my wise cousin Elisabeth that I wasn’t sure where I should focus my work.  What was the best job for me?  What was I meant to be doing with my life?

She told me her method for figuring that out.  She pays attention to when she feels jealous.  If she hears about a job someone’s taken or a project someone has started and feels envious, that’s a clear sign it’s what she most wants to do. 

We’re not talking about the nasty kind of envy - as in the deadly sin where you feel diminished by others’ success and want to derail someone else’s good fortune.  And I don’t mean longing for the fame and money that can be a side benefit of professional success.  I simply mean the telltale twinge you feel when you hear about someone’s endeavor and wish you could do that, too.  Stop and wonder: What about that activity creates a craving in you?  Was it something you’ve always longed to try?  Something you’ve been afraid to try?  Maybe you can and should attempt that very thing.

It’s a clarifying feeling.  Jealous?  Maybe you should be chasing that dream yourself.

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