On my blog today, I would like to talk a little about the importance of surrounding ourselves with Cheerleaders, on the road to success. This immediately begs the question… WHO is a Cheerleader and WHY should you surround yourself with them? In this post, I use the term ‘cheerleader’ as a synonym for a ‘supporter’. By way of a definition, cheerleaders are a group of people, who perform organised cheering, chanting, and dancing in support of their sports team during matches. Often times you see them, colourfully dressed, performing choreographed dancing, chanting their teams on and encouraging them to a possible victory. In our own context however, I am not talking about Pom poms and skirts but about the fact that a cheerleader is a Supporter or an Advocate. They are who believe in you, challenge you and encourage you to be the best possible version of yourself that you can be. He or she is an enthusiastic and vocal supporter of all your endeavours and doesn’t shy away from letting you, as well as others, know that they’ve got your back.
Your Cheerleader does not hide in the background. They publicly support you and even go the extra mile to recommend or refer business opportunities your way. They believe in you without reservation and spread the word about the value and importance of your endeavours, which ultimately may open crucial doors for you. A Cheerleader is loyal, committed, dedicated and always has a positive attitude; even in the face of adversity, which helps you also maintain a positive mental attitude as well.
From what I’ve said so far, I’m sure that you will agree with me that a cheerleader is something that everyone on a success journey should have in their arsenal… Apart from the obvious feel-good angle to having someone cheering us on, cheerleaders are important for a number of other reasons. Firstly, I strongly believe that humans are social beings and are not self-sufficient. We, therefore, all need to rely on others to accomplish goals in all areas of our lives. We also do not do very well when we are isolated from others and we thrive better when we belong to a community or a tribe. Surrounding yourself with Cheerleaders, therefore, helps you to thrive. They bring positive energy at times when you may be feeling low. Call it a battery recharge……and no, I’m no longer talking about short skirts and pom-poms. I’m talking about being that emotional support that we all need every once in a while in order to thrive. It’s that voice that whispers “You can do it!”, even when you are feeling low, when you have trouble believing in yourself, or when you are feeling overwhelmed at the enormity of the task ahead of you.
The voice that reminds you about your past victories and motivates you to forge ahead. Oftentimes we try to go it alone, but this usually leads to self-doubt, overburden & burnout. At a time like that, it’s important to surround yourself with Cheerleaders that tell you what you need to hear, at the point, you may be thinking about giving up. It definitely won’t erase or reduce everything you have to do, but hearing those encouraging words somehow seems to make it suddenly seem more manageable and the weight a little lighter to carry. Just like hearing the fans and supporters chant during a match, which gives the player added zest to carry on and perform optimally. I tell you, even the smallest of positive words can turn someone’s day around. We all need friends that push us sometimes hard, at times gently, reminding us that we are strong, smart and capable of doing whatever we put our mind to. That is really what true friendship is about. That’s who a true Cheerleader really is.
In closing, I want to sound a note of caution. In attempting to surround ourselves with Cheerleaders, we must be careful to avoid flatterers or sycophants who may surround you for their own personal gain. These people play to your ego and never tell you when you are wrong, obviously to remain in your good books and ultimately derive some personal benefit. True cheerleaders, although they believe in you and encourage you, are not afraid to raise the red flag when you are heading down the wrong path, and they are not afraid to give you tough but honest feedback, that you may not want to hear.
So I challenge you today as you read this post, to pause a minute and identify at least 3 cheerleaders in your community and send them a message appreciating them. Let them know that they are special and that they mean a lot to you. If perchance you cannot identify any, then I strongly advise that you take urgent steps to cultivate some in an intentional and honest manner, as everyone needs that kind of support to perform at their best.