Ever been called out for being a cheerleader?
I have and it didn’t always feel like a compliment. My younger self would boldly try to hide confusion and hurt. My older, wiser self responds differently, from a place of confidence and curiosity.
Even so, when Tara Gentile posed a question in CoCommercial about cheerleading I was hesitant to speak up. As I followed the conversation thread, I realized 2 things. First, my take might be seen as a little different and second, in this community there’s always room for one more person’s point of view.
Curious about why Tara raised the question? Here’s the backstory.
The community discussion explored the distinctions between unproductive cheerleading and constructive encouragement. This post expands upon what I shared in the community.
What about a third option, I wondered.
What if we could choose mindful cheerleading?
I get it. We’ve likely all been on the receiving end of unproductive cheerleading. You’ll know it when you feel it — vacant, meaningless, making nice-nice faux support. This tends to fall in line with people pleasing actions. Perhaps many of us have also dished out this kind of cheer. As a recovered people-pleaser myself, I know without a doubt, I have.
Most often cheerleading is thought of as leading the cheer in a pep rally of sorts. Taking shape in the mid to late 1800’s, it was recognized as “one of the most valuable things a boy can take away from college. As a title to promotion in professional or public life, it ranks hardly second to that of having been a quarterback.” Wow. This article by Lisa Wade charts the cheerleading evolution from centre field.
Mindful cheerleading applies well beyond sports and enriches our freedom to choose who and what we support and elevate on planet Earth.
It’s vital to remember, we get to choose who and what to support. At times cheering the leader, aka cheerleading, might be the only form of support we can offer. This deliberate action of extending encouragement through good vibrations holds an energetic power. Making that choice, taking that action from a place of alignment with core values adds to and expands the ripple effect.
In every arena, cheering the leader has helped make the seemingly impossible possible.
Think of significant movements over the past 150+ years and you’ll find those who felt they could best serve by mindfully cheering the leader. This is how they expressed their enthusiasm for the work, the art, the voice, the goals, the dreams, the contributions, the essence of another.
I’ve never been a team cheerleader and couldn’t recite sport or school cheers to save my soul. But I know what it’s like to be without a cheerleader… to take actions outside of an accepted community norm and be met by apathy or an unsolicited judgement of my efforts. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a little mindful cheerleading would have been welcome at the time.
What about cheerleading vs encouragement? Must it be either/or? Could it be both/and?
Mindful cheerleading is a resonant, deliberate expression of enthusiasm that helps expand another person’s landscape… and…it can positively affect the environment, opening space for encouragement to take hold and influence positive outcomes. It can help lower the pressure of performance anxiety in business, life and creative arenas. It is a reminder that we can choose between the attitude of win or lose and no matter win or lose, we learn.
And this, in turn, helps us to encourage ourselves, to cheer our own tenacity, truth telling and willingness to test the waters as we lead ourselves from a place of mindful alignment with core drivers and values.
Perhaps mindful cheerleading can’t be easily dismissed. The intrinsic value of this type of encouragement effortlessly lifts another up. And when we lift up another, we are lifted up as well.
Dawn Kotzer ©2017