How to Not Feel Threatened by Someone Else's Success

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One sunny afternoon while I was living well above my means in Santa Monica, my friend Lori came over to my apartment for lunch. I began telling her about my decision to focus more on my goals of being a writer rather than spending and acting as if I were rich, as I had been doing for the past year since I graduated. Lori listened intently and enthusiastically to my decision to realign my spending habits with my professional goals. She later emailed me a video highlighting the story of then twenty-six-year-old writer Amanda Hocking, who spent years writing and self-publishing a shocking seventeen books while working a full-time job. When I first learned about her, she had recently become wildly successful with her low-priced e-books for young adults as the craze for vampire and werewolf fiction reached its peak. Amanda has since secured a multimillion-dollar publishing deal and writes full-time. I was filled with inspiration and glee as I watched the video.

I love Amanda’s story of being a self-publishing success because at the time her books exploded, she was a “normal” person with no special connections. All she did was write her vampire-loving butt off! According to interviews, she never imagined herself ever doing anything else as a profession. She wrote unceasingly even though she faced consistent rejection from traditional publishers. She wrote with conviction and purpose, and now she is reaping the financial and spiritual rewards of persistently doing what she loved to do. That is awesome!

I revel in stories of people who are living their dreams after years of perseverance. Rather than sulk and think, Oh, well, they’re different from me because of this and that, I just soak up all the goodness emanating from their stories and envision success happening in my own life.

All too often, when we encounter a story of someone who has “made it”—whether she got a big promotion, married her perfect partner, or earned a fancy award—our first reaction is to dismiss the possibility of such a lovely thing happening in our own life.

You think: that winner, that woman getting what she always wanted, is not like me. She has more money, more time, more friends, more connections, more ideas, less debt, fewer worries, and weighs less than me. She’s just had an easy life, and really, it isn’t even fair that she’s winning right now. But that line of thinking is irrational, self-destructive, and 100 percent untrue. For all you know, that successful woman that you think has had it so easy has an alcoholic dad, an undiagnosed learning disorder, an embarrassing phobia of heights, and flat feet. She failed kindergarten, had no friends in middle school, and still owes back taxes from a business that floundered. Even if you don’t know the details, be sure to know that girl’s got problems just like the rest of us. But she did get what she wanted in a few areas of her life. And if it looks like something that you want, don’t focus on trying to minimize her success. Believe that it can be yours too. As my mom would say, “Quit hating, and start elevating.”

The next time you find a shining example of something you want, put down that chilled glass of strawberry-flavored haterade and enjoy basking in someone else’s success. Then take a moment to tell yourself that you too can have that.


When you learn of someone else’s success, don’t hate—celebrate! There’s enough success to go around!

Who has been an inspirational success to you?

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.