Roller Envy: Some Pointers on How to Avoid Self-Sabotage

Good ol’ envy… we have all felt it. It is not a unique emotion by any means and just like you may have faced it in your professional lives or with interpersonal relationships; you will face it in derby too. That is why it is important to recognize WHEN you are envious and to be proactive in handling those emotions before they jeopardize your progress and your relationships with others within the derby community.

Maybe you did not make your provincial team but your friend did. Maybe you did not make the roster over a newer skater. Maybe you applied to officiate at a tournament and you were not accepted but a colleague was. Regardless of what it is that somebody else has attained over you, regardless of any disappointment that follows, your frame of mind in response to the unwanted outcome will determine whether you see success or failure in the future.

And yes, I have been very envious of other officials in the past! However, I’ve learned to see that envy for what it really is: misplaced frustration and having unreasonable personal expectations. I’ve had to approach and re-approach my goals MANY times and there is nothing wrong with that. Here are some things I’ve found have helped lead me down a path of success rather than one of self-sabotage:

1. Stop comparing yourself to others and recognize your OWN success and individuality. You’re not them, you’re YOU. Don’t diminish yourself in comparison to others. Though you may not have accomplished a specific goal (YET), or you did not achieve what somebody else did (YET), if you look closely at your own personal progress I am confident you will see other successes. Take stock of them! Every single one of us has grown and improved since joining this sport, be it athletically or personally. We all have our place and we all offer something different and unique to this sport and the community around it. I may not be as far along as others with becoming certified (one of my goals), but I have improved tremendously as an official, I’ve refereed at major tournaments like Flat Track Fever 2013 and the RDAC 2012 Nationals and I am proud and happy with my work through Derby Frontier. Don’t minimize your accomplishments, no matter how small you may THINK they are! See them, be proud of them and use that confidence to propel yourself toward bigger triumphs! If you’re in your off-season right now, please take some time to reflect on what you did throughout the past year.

2. Celebrate the accomplishments of those around you. As in genuinely congratulate and be happy for what your fellow teammate, friend or colleague has achieved. If you wanted it that bad, chances are that they did too. They’ve also likely worked extremely hard to get where they are and have faced just as many challenges as you have. Applaud them for overcoming all of those obstacles!

3. Realize that their success absolutely DOES NOT take away from yours. Nobody controls your progress in this sport but YOU. Somebody else getting what you wanted does not trump your chances in the future, nor does it destroy your derby dreams (unless you LET it). Also, see #1 again. They may have achieved one thing, but you achieved another!

4. Ask Why. Ask why you were not selected; both of those who made the decisions and of yourself. Sitting around brooding about what you did not get will only result in you spinning your wheels even more. Be proactive in identifying what it is that YOU need to change in yourself in order to reach your goals. Be careful of how you approaching others though. Being aggressive, demanding or bitter and sarcastic is a sure fire way of dissuading anyone from giving you constructive feedback and advice down the road.

5. Keep focused on yourself. Don’t worry about how others are doing on their goals, how does that help you reach yours? It doesn’t. You have your own goals in mind and staying focused on them is a much more productive use of your time and energy. They don’t even have to be major accomplishments right now. Start small and work your way up to the bigger ambitions. Come up with some short-term objectives, then imagine and write down how these can lead you to more long-term desires.

6. Be the best that YOU can be and separate yourself from constant negativity. Feeling good about yourself is at the very core of personal success and happiness. Be proud of the person you are and continue to foster confidence, self-esteem and positivity in your derby efforts! If you find yourself feeling exhausted, deflated, depressed and stressed through your interactions with somebody, perhaps it is time to start distancing yourself from them. Are they just ribbing you from time to time or is everything that comes out of their mouth negative and causes you to get down on yourself? Don’t subject yourself to that!

Derby wife or not, keeping toxic people around is like knowingly drinking poison. There comes a time when you have to realize that as much as you may like somebody, as much history as there may be or as much as you may want to help him or her, YOUR happiness and YOUR health needs to come first. A healthy friendship is one in which you support each other, care about each other, trust each other with your feelings and beliefs and encourage each other to shine. It is one in which you both feel good about yourselves, about each other, and you help each other overcome hardships. It is NOT one in which you feel constantly criticized or down on yourself. Also, know that while healthy competition can be excellent, being TOO competitive with your derby sisters may do more harm than good. If there is competition between you, acknowledge it and celebrate in each other’s achievements along the way, regardless of which of you attains them!

So, that’s all from me this afternoon! Do you have any other pointers to share about overcoming envy and reaching personal goals? Share them in the comments below!


Headshot1 Written by Kevin “Kevlar” Dennison

An Occasionally Envious Official



  1. Ohmigosh! This is so personally timely for me! Thank you,thank you, thank you! Love your articles!

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