Happy Monday, dear friends! I honestly cannot believe it's Monday again. I was sick last week and out of work, and my days are all mixed up and I am still trying to kick the tail-end of this cold out of my life. But I am very thankful for good coffee, slow mornings, and for getting to see the cute little booger I nanny again. I miss her when I'm away.
But anywhoooooo, today I would like to encourage you with something I learned over the weekend. A little lesson about community, competition, and the importance of encouraging others. So if you haven't already, grab some coffee, sit back, and enjoy the mug-spiration!
A few days ago, I opened up an Instagram notification from my friend Rachel of The Confused Millennial. I thought she must have just entered a contest and tagged me for more entries, but when I saw that I was wrong I got all of the warm fuzzies.
Community Over Competition by Encouragement
Rachel is participating in the Rising Tide Society Instagram challenge, and that day's theme was "Community over Competition", with the prompt being to tag a creative/blogging bestie that has encouraged her along the way. She tagged me along with two other wonderful ladies, and I felt honored to be mentioned among them.
And even past the warm fuzzies, I am glad that I was tagged because it got me thinking more about the idea of community over competition. It's not like I've never thought about it before- I definitely have. It's just that I find the concept to be a daily struggle. It's not something I can just say that I believe and then move on, because every single day is a new day for me to either choose jealously and competition, or to choose community over competition. And that's not always an easy pick.
Choosing community over competition can be hard for me sometimes, simply because I often feel inadequate. I feel like so-and-so is a better blogger, better wife, better Christian, etc. than me, so I always feel like I have to do or say something to make myself sound better or look better.
But choosing community over competition is so much more valuable than always trying to one-up another person, because building others up is often a win for both parties, not just one.
Building Others UpI believe in building others up, first and foremost, because I am a Christian. I believe that being an encourager and putting the needs of others above my own is what I have been called to. I also believe that loving others with the love of Christ is the very best thing I can do. Those reasons are the most important in my book. BUT, even on a practical, non-religious level, building others up is the way to go.
When we choose to encourage other people, not only do they feel good about themselves and develop more confidence as a result, but they also see that we are there for them. And when people see that we are there for them, they see us as an asset, a friend, and a valued community member. They are more likely to trust us and come to us, which is what we want- especially in the blogging world.
I want people to know me as helpful and knowledgeable, but I also want people to know me as approachable, kind, and steady. I may not be THE go-to blogger yet, but I can be THE go-to encourager and friend, and that still means a heck of a lot for community-building and eventual growth.
My growth may be slower, but it will happen if I continue to work towards building a community that knows I am there for them. People are drawn to helpful people. People are drawn to those who will encourage them. It just takes time.
Be GenuineThe thing about community though, is that it doesn't work if a person is fake.
When I encourage others, my goal is to be genuine. I never want to encourage someone because it will help me grow. No. Instead, I want to encourage others because I care for them, and it is simply an added bonus that my community and brand will grow.
Community that is superficial and created only for the benefit of one person is not real community. That is still competition, because it is all inward-focused. An inward-focused person may be on top for a while, but once people get a whiff of the self-centered, competition-driven stench of that person, their reputation and career will be marred and it will take a whole lot of work to get back on top.
There's no reward in being that type of person. There's no accomplishment in running that sort of business. I would much rather be a person with slow, yet steady growth in my life (personal, spiritual, career, etc.), than a person who flies to the top only to come crashing down when their true character is realized.
I would rather be a person with real, lasting friendships, and real, genuine community, whose journey takes a little longer, than someone lacking friends and lacking community who "arrives" much faster than I do.
If we haven't helped, encouraged, supported, and loved those around us, what's the point? We can have all the accolades in the world, but without community and love, we truly have nothing. So in every relationship in our lives, in every career-endeavor, and in every goal that we set, let us strive for love over selfishness, encouragement over insincerity, and community over competition.