Who’s your cheerleader?
And by cheerleader, I mean someone who has believed in you when no one else did.
Someone who encouraged you to act in spite of your being surrounded by obstacles.
The person who saw your potential, the diamond in the lump of coal.
The person who told you, “Yes, you can” when you weren’t so sure you could.
Who was your cheerleader?
How Lynn’s cheerleader helped launch her career
I used to work in the legal profession and the best paralegal I ever worked with was Lynn.
By the time I got to know her she was so well established in the Los Angeles legal community that she free-lanced for a high hourly rate and had law firms lined up to hire her for their trial preparation.
She was smart, fastidious, well-organized and really knew her stuff — every lawyer’s dream paralegal.
But she recently told me she sure didn’t start out that way. And if it weren’t for the first attorney she worked for, she might never have succeeded in that career.
Her first job as a paralegal was helping prepare for a trial. She didn’t have any experience; all she had was her enthusiasm, work ethic and brains.
She admits she made mistakes.
Several others in the firm suggested to the attorney who hired her that he replace her with someone more experienced, but he refused, saying, “She’s smart, she’ll learn to do this.”
He mentored her, had confidence in her and taught her what she needed to know.
When they won a big judgment in the lawsuit they were working on, he gave her a large bonus and a framed copy of the judgment that she helped achieve.
Lynn told me that his belief in her gave her confidence, and made all the difference in her moving on to a successful career. It instilled in her the feeling that she could do anything she wanted.
Any time her confidence faltered, she looked at that framed judgment.
As Lynn put it, “He helped me become me.”
We all need at least one person like that attorney who believed in her. Who’s yours?
It can be as simple as, “Yes, you can!”
When I was taking horse-back riding lessons as an adult, there was a day when my teacher, Summer, had me riding in a big circle, while she had the horse on a lunge line. So I was riding while she was helping instruct and control the horse.
After a few minutes, Summer said, “Take your right foot out of the stirrup.”
I did so. It was a little scary, but I continued riding the horse in the big circle.
Summer: “Now take your left foot out of the stirrup.”
Me: “I can’t do that!”
“Yes, you can.”
So I took my other foot out of the stirrup and found I could ride without falling off. That was a giant step forward in my confidence on a horse.
All because she told me I could and I trusted her enough to try.
Someone who sees our potential and helps nourish it can make all the difference.
By the way, the following year after that lesson with Summer I went on to win first place in the equestrian jumping competition at that stable, and the silver cup for overall best in my class.
That might not have happened without Summer’s constant encouragement and belief in me.
Who our cheerleaders might not be
Our cheerleaders are not always our parents, families or teachers– particularly if we have chosen a path different than what they would have liked.
There are many school teachers who bolster the confidence of their students. And some who shoot down their dreams.
Horse trainer and author Monty Roberts tells the story of growing up poor and writing a school assignment on what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He wrote about his dream of one day owning a 200-acre horse ranch, with a 4,000 square foot house.
Monty poured his heart and soul into that paper, including diagrams of the property and the house, and was astounded to be given an “F” by his teacher!
She told him, “That’s an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you who has no money and comes from an itinerant family. . . If you’ll re-write your paper with a more realistic goal, I’ll reconsider your grade.”
Monty thought long and hard about it overnight. When he went back to school the next day he told the teacher, “You can keep your grade, and I’ll keep my dream.”
Monty grew up to be a world-famous horse trainer and best-selling author. And he told this story to friends as they all sat in his 4,000 square foot house on his 200-acre horse ranch.
Just as he’d dreamed it.
So the thing to keep in mind about people who tell you, “you can’t” is that they are often wrong!
When you don’t have a cheerleader
We all need someone in our lives who sees our potential and helps nourish it.
- It may or may not be our parents
- It may or may not be our teachers
- It may or may not be our athletic coaches.
- It may or may not be our friends.
But hopefully we each have had someone who believes in us and will give us that kind of motivation.
If you don’t, you may need new friends.
And maybe for a while, until you find those friends, you’ll have to be your own cheerleader. Stay inspired by:
- watching motivating videos on YouTube: I like Anthony Robbins, Abraham-Hicks, Zig Ziglar and Andy Andrews,
- reading motivational/inspirational books. Biographies of people you admire are a great place to start.
That’s what I do when I don’t have anyone around who can encourage me. I encourage myself!
Who encouraged you when you needed it in your life? Feel free to share in the comments below. And be sure to thank them!