Competition is real, and the wellness industry is no exception. This is especially true if you’re Type-A, ambitious, or extremely self-motivated. Many of us are. (That’s why we came to yoga!) Not only do we want to be good, we want to be the best. It’s not enough just to have an Instagram following—we want a huge following. A simple yoga practice won’t suffice—we want a handstand. In our consumption-driven culture, we’re constantly craving more at a faster pace.
And so when we see others who seemingly have “more” than we do, it’s not uncommon to feel the sharp sting of jealousy. This can occur in the yoga studio, when swapping success stories with your friends, or when scrolling through your Instagram feed. Jealousy spurs from the idea that we can’t have what our competitors have earned because there’s not enough success to go around. But guess what? That’s totally untrue.
In this writer’s humble opinion, women are especially inclined to suffer from “There Isn’t Enough Room for Me” syndrome. Men in positions of power certainly outnumber women—though luckily, that is changing. But because there are fewer women in high status positions, it can make us feel as though there is only room for a select few, which leads to catty and competitive behavior.
“Tall Poppy Syndrome” is the term describing a situation where an individual is resented, criticized, or attacked for their perceived success. It can certainly happen within the wellness industry, despite the shiny zen and “come-as-you-are” exterior. But rather than tear down our competitors, what if we aligned with them? What if we even lifted them up?
“I think the best way to grow is to support each other,” says Miki Ash, a yoga teacher and social media influencer. “To showcase other people who inspire, in a genuine way. With other teachers, usually when they teach my class, I always make a point to introduce them to the other students in my class, and to promote their classes and events.”
Another way to deflect an unhealthy competitive nature is to go inward. After all, if you’re feeling swarmed with the success stories of others, finding gratitude is a wonderful way to restore equilibrium and connect with what matters most to you.
“Yoga isn’t immune to competition,” says Caley Joyner, a Wanderlust presenter and yoga teacher. “But for me, my yoga practice is about my own personal inward journey. So although competition exists, it’s not something I give my attention to or choose to focus on. And guess what? When you don’t focus on something…it doesn’t bother you as much…and eventually it fades away.”
As a writer, I need to constantly remind myself that my voice is unique. A “voice” is something used to distinguish ourselves and our writing. And because we all come from different backgrounds, carry different experiences, and have received different educations, it’s impossible for someone else to be able to share our exact perspective, or our “voice.” The world can benefit from many different voices—ergo, there is room enough for all of us. No one can tell your story.
If you find yourself stuck in a rut believing there isn’t enough room for your voice, I encourage you to consider any or all of the steps below:
Celebrate the accomplishments of your competitors.
There are many benefits to celebrating the successes of others. For one, it’s incredibly freeing to take control over your competitive nature and choose happiness over envy. It also enables us to develop connections and foster new friendships. (And then when you accomplish something awesome, you’ll have a network of people ready to celebrate you!) If you like what your competitor is doing, use that to inform and inspire your own future endeavors. Ask them questions. Remind yourself that their success is a win for the world, and thus it is a win for you as well.
Do something that no one has ever done before.
Sometimes when we don’t see anyone famous currently doing what we aspire to do, we begin to think it’s not possible. Don’t let that deter you—be the one to make it possible. Stop focusing on what exists and build what you want to see. Think about your own talents and passions, and then think of how you can whittle those down to create something no one has done before. It can be small, like creating a new recipe, writing a poem, or leading a yoga class in an uncommon location. Just getting started can boost self-esteem and combat negative competitive feelings.
Start a conversation.
One of the best ways to quell fear is to identify it, and the same is true for competition. Start a dialogue with your friends and colleagues about what you can to do help one another. Share your fears, dreams, and ambitions. You might find you have more in common than you think, and notice new and creative ways to combine forces.
Sure, there is competition in the wellness and yoga industry. But if we’re fighting for a “well-er” world, a win for one of us is a win for all. Come together rather than compete, and remember—there is something only you can say.
Amanda Kohr is the editor at Wanderlust. You can find her exploring new highways, drinking diner coffee, and on Instagram.