The Power of Encouragement
Posted on 01 May 2018
Find your own way of encouraging the people around you and watch them thrive!
Photo by G. Mark Lewis
By Erin Jayne
Have you ever been in a pole class and found yourself struggling with a move or just not feeling super comfortable in your booty shorts that day? Then –out of nowhere – one of your classmates pays you a compliment that reminds you how amazing and beautiful you are! As pole dancers, we have a unique opportunity to uplift and support the people in our community. Much of the world around us is tearing each other down, but with every interaction in class, at competitions, and online, we are able to build each other up!
Think back to your first pole class. How did you feel walking in? Confident? Nervous? Welcomed? With pole dancing gaining so much popularity in recent years, we are constantly seeing new students in our studios. With every new person who walks in the door, we have the chance to give them a great experience that will let them walk away (and hopefully come back!) feeling good about themselves.
Take a couple minutes to introduce yourself to someone new –maybe give them a little insider tip like what kinds of grips are good to us – and then check in with them after class to see how they liked it. If you saw them totally killing that dip spin, tell them! By taking a few minutes out of your day, you can give someone validation of their accomplishments and make them feel included.
Many of us have probably been in a pole, or other fitness class, where we get frustrated with the difficulty of a move and start doubting ourselves. Now, imagine how different it would feel if the whole classroom stopped to help, support, and cheer for you. A simple high five or a hug can go a long way to encourage someone to keep going.
It is not easy to try a trick that scares the daylights out of you, and some days it can be just as daunting to pick out which outfit you’re going to feel most comfortable wearing in class that day. However, when we have people cheering us on and celebrating our successes, we can allow the voices of encouragement to overpower our internal voices of self-doubt.
The next time you are in class, try to make a point of celebrating the successes of your classmates. Not only will it make them feel amazing, but it will also change the whole atmosphere of the classroom and allow for a wonderful experience for everyone!
Sizing up the Competition
What about competitions? Just because we’re going up against others doesn’t mean we can’t show empathy and consideration for the hard-work and vulnerability of others.
One of the simplest ways to show respect for your fellow competitors is being aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the amount of space you’re taking up for your own hair/makeup/warmup, play your music privately with headphones, don’t glitter-bomb the dressing room, etc.)
Competitions also require lots of prep work, including remembering to pack! Unfortunately, bad things happen. Grip, safety pins, hairspray, and snacks get forgotten. If you’re awesome at packing and prepping, try bringing extra grip, bobby pins, water, etc. for people who may have forgotten things.
If you find yourself wanting to interact a bit more, try complimenting that beautiful top someone is wearing, tell them how amazing their hair/makeup looks, or ask how long they’ve been pole dancing. If someone’s piece was mind-blowingly awesome, tell them! Every single person there has put in hard work and sacrificed things in their lives to train and get to the point they are at now. No matter what we each need to do for ourselves at competitions, we all still have the ability to lift up our peers through our actions.
One of my favorite opportunities for encouragement is social media! This might sound odd given that social media is a platform that is often used in unkind ways, but not in our pole community! I follow many out-of-this-world pole dancers on social media and see so many beautiful comments on their photos and videos. There have been numerous times where the genuine highlight of my day is receiving a compliment from a fellow pole dancer on social media. As you are scrolling through your feed, take a few moments to appreciate the artistry and athleticism of your friends.
Through social media we are able to connect with dancers from all over the world and can even build friendships with dancers we might never even meet in person! How cool is that? With every like or comment, we are encouraging our peers and showing people outside of the community that we are in the business of lifting others up. We are all in this because we love this sport, we love ourselves, and we love our fellow dancers!
I hope that while you were reading this, something hit home for you. We all have a unique place in this sport and even if none of these examples suit you, I would urge you to find your own voice in this community, and your own way of supporting the pole dancers around you! Sometimes it only takes the smallest of things to help someone see the beauty and power they possess. Every day that you decide to dance, stretch, or move, you are doing it for yourself. You might be by yourself, you might be in a room full of other dancers, but no matter where you are or what you are doing, know that you have an entire community of people cheering you on!
Erin Jayne has been pole dancing for 6 years and instructing for 5. Her home studios are ATX Pole Fitness in Round Rock, TX and Tease Studio in Denver, CO. Her passions include screeching with excitement while watching her students dance, her cat Pickles, and vegan cupcakes. Pole dancing and the people in the community have inspired Erin in countless ways over the years. Her goal as an instructor is to give back a fraction of that to her students.