I'm grateful for all of the people who enthusiastically encourage others to do good work, congratulate them on their successes and help keep up morale when someone needs a "boost."
You can probably rattle off a quick list of the cheerleaders in your life. They are family, friends and collegues who were thrilled for you when you applied for a new job or went back to school or volunteered at your first nonprofit.
They may be that person at work that checks in on you when you're working on a project and with a few kind words and a smile, rekindles your energy when you were thinking of "taking a break" or worse, giving up.
Cheerleaders validate your strengths, wisdom and capabilitites especially in the times you struggle with frustrations and self-doubt.
Like you, I have a long list of Cheerleaders who are consistently "there" for me but I had to pick someone to be the first person I called. It was easy because Mary Black started a "cheer" for me as I was writing this blog. Mary is often the first person to cheer Alice Ferris and I on as we're working on a project, the first to applaud our performance at presentations and the first to celebrate and share our successes. I'm taking Mary out for cocktails and I'll bring along a bottle of Grey Goose for her as a "thank you" for all the support she provides us and others.
Real cheerleaders like Mary aren't just Polyannas, that flatter you with meaningless platitudes and sweet cheerul cliches. Real cheerleaders pay attention. They understand what you are trying to accomplish, why it's important to you and the obstacles you're faced with.
And if you fail or things don't go the way you hoped, your Cheerleaders will still be there for you. They will be the first ones that offer a hand to help you up if you stumble. They dust you off, give you a hug and then nudge you back the direction you were headed. They never doubt you for failing, they celebrate you for trying and encourage you to try again.
Sometimes these cheerleaders are people we've inspired, and often they become our inspiration. They make it easier to keep believing in ourselves. We find ourselves thinking of our cheerleaders as we take action. We see their face and anticipate their reaction as we make choices. They are constant reminders that we are not "in this" alone. Someone is invested in our success. And we won't let them down. We can't let them down.
Here's to our Cheerleaders! "GO TEAM!"
There are countless ways for you to be a Cheerleader. Here are 3 suggestions of how you can be someone's Cheerleader today.
- Recognize someone publicly for work that they've done.
- Encourage someone's progress on a project or goal they are working toward.
- Praise someone for their kindness, generosity, tenacity or wisdom.