Why it’s worth choosing support over competition

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How supported do you feel, and how supportive?

I’m in a mentorship program at Y2 Yoga where I teach chunks of classes with two teachers, with the hope that I’ll then be prepared/eligible to teach my own classes in the studio this fall. I auditioned for the program by teaching a class to friends and other teachers. A friend who went through training with me just held her audition class the other night and I got invited. I said I wouldn’t miss it. And I didn’t.

But I was a little anxious stepping into that room before her class. As I flopped my mat onto the floor, a question bubbled up: “What if she’s better than me? What if I’m not good enough to follow through as a teacher?”

I smushed that thought down, stepped onto my mat and got swept into the class sequencing. My friend rocked her audition – assisting, sharing a message, cueing postures – I knew she would. I filled out a feedback form with positive words and constructive criticism, and toasted her job well done with some other yogis over sangria. It was one of the most fun nights of my month.

We’re always going to feel twinges of competitiveness – that’s human nature. But we have the mental capacity to recognize when that twinge is productive, and when it’s worth tamping down and replacing it with positive, supportive energy for someone else. If we’re not supporting the people in our lives, we’re probably not going to inspire support in return.

In Charlotte, there’s so much space for so many people to be successful. If I work hard to grow as a teacher, there will be plenty of opportunities for me to teach. Likewise, there will be plenty of opportunities for my friend to teach, whether we end up in the same studio or not.

There’s space for us all to grow, and to have a chance to do it well. The booming development scene and brewing scene and restaurant scene and startup scene have set that example here. So while you’re busy out there doing what you do best and growing your support base behind it, figure out what being supportive means to you, too.

It can mean swapping out this weekend’s grocery shopping at Whole Foods for a trip to a farmers market (your guide is here) and supporting local agriculture.

It can mean complimenting a coworker — be specific, show them you’re paying attention. It can mean taking your intern out for a cup of coffee — he or she isn’t on this earth just to work for you.

Being supportive can mean engaging with a local charity. Sort or deliver a meal for Friendship Trays on your lunch break. Have a coffee meeting at The Third Place to support QC Family Tree. Buy a piece of art from Charlotte Art League to support emerging and professional artists.

The Third Place
The Third Place

Being supportive can mean letting someone merge in front of you on a work commute, even if you’re running late. Help them get to where they’re going.

It can mean indulging in Charlotte Restaurant Week and thanking your server. Tip well. Post a positive note about your experience on social media – everyone deserves to be bragged about every now and then.

restaurant

Being supportive can mean telling your fitness instructor what you appreciated about their class today, letting your friend drag you to an event so they’re not alone, reminding your significant other of one thing you love about them and why, complimenting a stranger.

Support one person today, in some way. And just wait for it — it’ll come back around.

Photos: Katie Toussaint

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