Friday - - Advice -

QI work in an en­vi­ron­ment where ap­pear­ances seem to mat­ter more than tal­ent. Peo­ple are con­stantly be­ing judged by the brand of bag, watch and jew­ellery they wear, the cars they drive and the places they’re seen at. I think I’m the only one who finds all this ex­tremely su­per­fi­cial, and it has be­gun to af­fect my con­fi­dence and per­for­mance. How can I change the per­cep­tion with­out rock­ing the boat? I love my job and don’t want to leave over some­thing so triv­ial.

AIt seems to me that un­for­tu­nately you are work­ing in a world fo­cused on the trap­pings of suc­cess, and al­though you say it is some­thing that’s not im­por­tant to you, I won­der whether that is mask­ing deeper feel­ings of in­se­cu­rity.

It is nat­u­ral that we some­times feel threat­ened and un­der­mined by peo­ple flaunt­ing their ma­te­rial wealth; it can of­ten feel like they are rub­bing our noses in the fact that we aren’t do­ing as well as they are. But rather than con­fronting those feel­ings in our­selves, we project our an­noy­ance out­wards on to those who make us feel in­se­cure.

I think it might be worth­while to ask your­self why th­ese peo­ple have the power to make you feel less con­fi­dent if you don’t sub­scribe to their ma­te­ri­al­is­tic ways in the first place.

Surely, if you don’t see that as im­por­tant, then it shouldn’t be so im­por­tant to you. I to­tally agree with you when you say it would not be a good idea to leave a job you love for some­thing you state is triv­ial, but maybe you should dig deep and ask your­self hon­estly why it both­ers you so much.

The only way you can change things is to fo­cus on your val­ues and tal­ents and stop com­par­ing your­self to oth­ers. The more judge­men­tal you are about how oth­ers choose to de­fine suc­cess, the more likely you are to be held back by your fear of be­ing judged. There’s a rea­son why you got the job in the first place and that’s most prob­a­bly be­cause you had the right skill set as well as per­son­al­ity to do it well.

The com­pany showed its faith in you by giv­ing you the job, so have a lit­tle faith in your­self, stop wor­ry­ing about other peo­ple and fo­cus on do­ing the best job you can. Maybe then you’ll be proven wrong about the im­por­tance of tal­ent and hard work in the long term.

RUS­SELL HEM­MINGS is a life coach and clin­i­cal and cog­ni­tive be­havioural hyp­nother­a­pist

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