Thursday, April 26, 2012

V, V-I, V-I-C-T-O-R-Y... We All Need A Cheerleader Sometimes!

Do you ever wish you had a cheering section behind you when you are attempting something new, trudging on through a tough project or proposal, or are stretching your creativity and considering new ideas? Does encountering a "Devil's Advocate" at every corner wear you out? 

We All Need A Cheerleader

It is our human nature to need acknowledgement and affirmation. It is part of our hierarchy of needs... (thanks Maslow for bringing this to our attention....). According to Maslow, our need to be accepted, gain approval and recognition is smack dab in the middle of our seven levels of needs - needs that range from the basic physiological (food, thirst, sex) to the complex need of self actualization (knowing purpose and potential). Without each level, as persons, we can't move up the hierarchy.

Part of our feeling of approval, acknowledgement, affirmation, and recognition is knowing that someone supports us and believes in what we are doing. In essence, we need a cheerleader. Having someone support our ideas, lift us up, be happy for us and say, "yes! I believe in you!" is a crucial piece to our success, our motivation, and our desire to move on - especially when times get tough.

What Does A Cheerleader Look Like?

No... this type of cheerleader doesn't look like the ones that you are probably associating "cheerleader" with. This person doesn't run around with pom-poms providing half time entertainment at sporting events. The don't scream at the crowds around you and get them riled up and behind your cause or your idea. They don't build pyramids, shout, or do high kicks.

This person is the person that can say "I believe in you and your passion" even if they don't necessarily buy into your idea. They are the person that does not at every turn, play devils advocate and challenge you - at least not at the onset of your ideas. They are the person that when you feel tired and like giving up, they remind you of your passion, how far you have come, and of what you have in you to reach your potential. They are the person, that in your failure, supports you and still believes in you, not the one that says "I told you so."

Do You Have A Cheerleader? Are You A Cheerleader?

Hopefully you have someone in your life that cheers you on and supports you. Are cheerleaders necessary for EVERYTHING we do in life? Certainly not. We don't need a pat on the back because we went to the grocery store or because we got up to go to work this morning. But life is often a tough road. We are community creatures that need the support of community members to stand on that sideline and encourage us to make the play, reach the finish line, or achieve a goal.

Think about how you support others. Think about your own interactions and dealings with others when they are venturing into a new territory, presenting an idea to you, or sharing their passions with you. Do you cheer on or immediately question? Do you believe in someone, even when they fail?

I Challenge You To Do The Two Following Things:

  • Make a mental of physical list of those that have cheered you on in life. Make an attempt to thank those that you can. 
  • Assess yourself and recognize whether you are a cheerleader or a questioner. If you gravitate toward being a questioner, work on how and what you communicate to others. Adopt phrases that are affirming such as "I can see how much passion you have!" or "I can see the potential in your idea." 
Please share your thoughts below in the comments.  Do you prefer to be/be around a cheerleader or do you prefer to be/be around a questioner? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Communication Counts

As I was perusing my plethora of social media the other day, I came across a post that stopped me in my tracks.  It was a post of a person that I followed personally as well as professionally.  This post stood out.  And, it made me think.

Would you stop business or un-follow a person based on the things that they are willing to put in print?

What the actual post I encountered said verbatim really doesn’t matter. But the feeling and the attitude of it did.  It was divisive, it was hurtful, and it was enough to make me question the judgment of the poster. Although it was not directed at me personally, it was a clear slam on a belief of mine. It was not a sharing of their personal beliefs. It was a mocking and attack on others beliefs. That is divisive, and a poor use of words and communication. 

I had been prepared to use this person’s professional services.  They are clearly passionate about what it is they are doing professionally. However, the post made me question their character and decision making abilities.  I chose to not use their services.

Communication Counts.

Sharing about personal experiences or personal beliefs in the context of sharing is a window into who we are. It is welcoming, and lets the other know what we are about and what makes us tick. It creates a space for us to know each other. Sadly, criticizing, slamming, putting down, minimizing, also tells others who we are.  That’s probably not the impression we really want to leave others with.

Once something is said, put in print, or communicated, it can never be totally taken back. The message has been received by someone. Choose words carefully, but be genuine.  Ensure the words, the photo, the captions, communicate the intended message.  Step into a receiver’s shoes and think about the impact it will have on them and the connection or divisions they will feel. Realize that words have a lot of power.  Realize that what is said will have an impact personally and professionally for the person speaking as well as the person hearing.

A great idea, a great opportunity, a great friendship, a great connection, or a great business relationship will never happen if the ability to effectively communicate is not there. Communication is more than just words strung together.  It’s meaning, intent, context, emotion, and timing as well.  Before using the mouth to speak or the fingers to type, it is wise to use the mind to think first.

Realize that communication counts.

Would you unfriend, unfollow, or not do business with someone based on what they communicate?