You finally made it. Your business is on fire and you’ve had your most successful year yet. It’s time to celebrate. However, when you share the good news with some of your friends, you’re met with a side-eye and a cold shoulder. What happened?
Unfortunately, not everyone will rejoice with you when your time has come. Sometimes, while you’re doing your victory dance there will be hateful friends, acquaintances—even family members—throwing shade when they hear about your newfound favor.
We chatted with Dr. Venus Opal Reese, CEO and founder of Defy Impossible, for some advice on what to do when jealousy rears its ugly head. Here are her tips on how to shine even when haters start to hate.
I teach primarily purpose-driven, high-achieving, and super successful Black women entrepreneurs who have walked through life’s fire (and bore the scars) how to monetize their worth into a seven-figure service-based speaking and online business.
I started my business in response to a personal challenge. I was up for tenure as a university professor, and my faculty voted against me. Tenure is job security for life. I felt betrayed and as if I was back on the street again, like I was when I was a teen. My momma put me out when I was 16.
I had the same physiological reaction when I heard the news about the vote. My throat closed, my body shook, and I became dizzy. In that moment, I got into a street fight with myself on my behalf.
I decided to stop trying to make people want me and love me. I loved me. God loved me. Now it was time to find people who would love and accept me, flaws and all. Within a week, I had my very first free talk. I made more money in that one talk than I had for a year as a professor. That is how I began my business as Defy Impossible, Inc. located in Dallas, Texas. I am the creator and CEO. We were founded in 2011.
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My Advice for Bosses Whose Friends, Family, or Associates Are Acting Jealous
Bless them and release them. Know that they are not responding to you. They are reacting to their own feelings of lack and inadequacy. Don’t engage. Jealousy and envy are character deficits. Nothing you can say or do will soothe them. Love them enough to let them heal by letting them be.
How I Personally Handled a Hater
Not graciously the first time! I got angry. I was in a mastermind with a woman whom I had a lot of respect and love for. I thought we were friends and business peers. When my money started to multiply quickly, she posted on Facebook that I had “stolen” her idea and was struggling to make it work. All of my street came pouring out on the keyboard, and before I could blink, I had pushed “send.”
My reaction to her insecurity caused a mess. I felt slandered and she felt attacked. I lost the relationship. Looking back now, I see that I had made a statement as a joke weeks earlier about “stealing” from her that she took literally. It wasn’t true, and we had two entirely different business models. I was saying that she inspired me. I have learned to be very responsible for what I say as a joke...and what I write. Both have impact. Sometimes we evoke the hate accidently by not being responsible for what we say or do; I know I have.
One Mistake Too Many Bosses Make When Dealing with Jealousy
Responding in haste and anger.
How I Deal with My Own Jealousy Toward Others
I’ve learned to stop comparing myself with others. There are always others who have more and less than me. Now I tend to try to outdo myself. I want to be better than I was last year. So I stay inwardly focused. The more I practice, the easier it becomes.
My Beauty Must-Haves
I love Bliss’s Triple Oxygen Radiance Restoring Mist under my moisturizer. It makes my skin feel clean and soft. I also love Hydra Beauty Cream by Chanel. A little goes a long way and makes my skin feel clean and fresh. It’s not heavy or oily at all.
My Power Accessory
My power accessory is my Rolex. It was the first luxury item I invested in when I broke my first million. It was and still is a sign that a poor little Black girl from the mean streets of Baltimore can make good with her life.
My Theme Song
My theme song for life changes. It has been “The Living Proof” by Mary J. Blige. It’s been “Started from the Bottom” by Drake. Right now, I am feeling the remix of “All The Way Up” by Jay Z, Fat Joe, and Remy Ma. I am also loving “Alive” by Sia and “Rise” by Katy Perry.
A Final Word
When it comes to making millions, jealousy is just a distraction. We think jealousy is personal. It’s not. It’s a historical wound and residue of slavery when we were pitted against each other. If you are committed to becoming a Black Woman Millionaire, you have to heal your own heart so that when people do their survival thing, you don’t react. In fact, regard it as a compliment. You must be doing something pretty extraordinary for others to take the time to hate on you.