I know I post a lot about recognizing your own achievements, appreciating yourself, and so forth. What about the days when you can’t see those good things? That’s where your cheerleaders come in. A cheerleader is an important part of your support network. They’ll help you keep going when you feel like caving in. These are people who know you and believe in you. That second part is the most important.
I’ve had people in my life who knew me well, but didn’t believe in me. If I wanted to develop my skills or improve on myself, they would either remain silent or openly tell me why I couldn’t. They loved me, and I’m sure in some way they thought they were helping, but that isn’t help.
What we need instead of people like that is to find those who will hold the elevator for us. People who are either going the same way, or people who are already where we want to be and are excited that we want to join them. This goes well beyond any career aspirations, too.
Let me give you a few examples.
You want to use a hobby and try to turn it into a side business. Your cheerleaders may not have any clue about how to do that hobby, or about business, but they’ll ask you about your plans and encourage you. They’ll be excited and help you keep that drive forward.
You want to move your career forward. You plan to move to a new department. Your immediate supervisor thinks this is great and helps you find out how to make that transition.
You want to learn a new skill, or improve on your ability to use one you picked up in therapy. Your cheerleader will ask how they can help and applaud you each time you’re successful.
Any of these examples will come with days when you feel like you can’t reach that goal. Cheerleaders encourage you to keep trying.
I’ve been blessed to find people who are my cheerleaders, and who I also cheer for. When I look at my life before I had such people in it and my life now, the differences are vast. The changes in myself are just as immense.
At the same time, a cheerleader is not a “yes man.” If you are going the wrong way, they will stand up and call you on your nonsense. I’ve had that happen a few times, too. The friends who cared enough to speak up are the ones I prize the most. They saved me from myself by telling me directly just how far off course I was getting.
When that happened, they didn’t put me down. They created a time to speak to me. There was no insulting or degrading speech used. Instead it was a simple, clear message, “I see you doing x and you’re better than that. If you continue this direction you will end up with a bad result. I’m here to help, but you need to turn this around.”
Even if I don’t talk to those people every day, I value them more than other people in my life because of their honesty and courage. The messages weren’t easy to hear. No one likes to be told they’re screwing up. But when it comes from a place of compassion, understanding, and faith in your ability to do better, and is delivered directly, those people make themselves priceless.
It’s also important to be a cheerleader for the people in your life. Be someone who encourages others, who believes in their goals and efforts to reach them. The more you encourage someone else, the more you’ll see your own potential.
Keep yourself and the people close to you in a growth mode and see just how far you can go!