I am a self-confessed cheerleader. I love cheering others on and encouraging them to find the thing that makes their heart sing. Often I just take time out to tell someone that I have seen something in them that makes them awesome – whether that be an every day kindness or something else that has impressed me.
I also love meeting new people and catching up with old friends – I pretty much love connecting with others full stop.
Yup I am one of those “annoying” extroverts who get energy from interactions with others. The kind of person who talks too much, the sort that can unwittingly dominate conversations, the kind who can (if unaware) overwhelm the introverts in the room. I don’t mean to do that. My intention is to engage and draw out conversation about what lights up others and to then (in talking it out) reflect on what has been shared. I fear this is often seen as taking over a conversation.
My intention is to champion others as they share about their passion! I think unbottling that stuff is the secret to seeing change in our world! After all no-one in the world is you’er than you!
This week I joined a group of new like-minded business people in an online group – where all of us shared the commonality of wanting to learn more about social media. We were given an instruction to introduce ourselves and then to share our social profiles – which I did. I am good at following instructions.
I then couldn’t help myself but to jump on in and say hi to everyone else joining the group. I looked at their businesses and just expressed a little of the WOW factor I saw each one of them had. An hour in, I realised that I started something that I couldn’t stop! More and more members were joining as I was working my way through and I felt a bit overwhelmed – would I offend if I commented only on some but not others??
A fellow encourager private messaged me to say how much she was enjoying my comments and then I confessed how I felt bad if I stopped even though it wasn’t even “my” group – I was just a member like everyone else. They probably all thought I was some weirdo stalker liking and commenting all over the place!
I did have to stop in the end. There was dinner to be had and kids to be put to bed. I ended up having to come back hours later. I can only hope none were offended and that the group leader doesn’t think I am some whacko!
So, my point?
We all need cheerleaders in our life.
They don’t have to be the kind that are loud and thrashing pom poms around – although at times I am partial to a pop pom – but we need people who will say – I see you and you are freakin’ awesome!
I have been lucky enough to have several of those wonderful types surround me as I have travelled my sometimes quite bumpy journey. My parents for one, have been instrumental in shaping me – not because they ever told me what I should be doing and how – but because they championed my fumbling around in the dark until I found what it was that really gave purpose to my life.
My sister – who is as different from me as you could imagine – introvert vs extrovert – creative vs logical – quiet vs loud – and yet she has been the one to walk with me through emotional and financial highs and lows like no other.
My hubby – who is NOT a lawyer – or a drinker (yup a 24/7 designated driver) – clearly the secret to our almost 25 year-long marriage – has also been unwavering in his support of all I put my mind to.
I am lucky enough to be part of a great community of lawyers – facilitated by the Happy Family Lawyer herself but made all the richer by the giving and generous souls that reside in this group. Who weekly and daily encourage each other as we each try to do our best with the talents we have each been given.
My church family is another group of cheerleaders I would not be without – they get what it is to feel compelled by a calling in life. My school community families are another crew of encouragers who literally come to our rescue almost daily as we manage the wrangle that is life with a child with special needs.
Some of these cheerleaders are volunteers, others don’t have a choice (ha!) and still others I have chosen to invest financial resources with.
But to me it is not about a value exchange – because what I give, I get in return tenfold. Never underestimate the power of encouragement.
Just two weeks ago I launched my book Rest In Peace – how to manage and estate dispute without inheriting heartache. It has been a passion project of mine and something I have been unwavering in seeing to completion because it is just that. I want to see change in how contested estates are managed for families in grief and I hope to play a small part in making that change happen. (If you are interested in the book – click here!)
My book launch was all I could’ve wanted – an intimate evening event with wonderful food, inspiring speakers and – of course – champagne! The thing that made my night (apart from my hubby’s cracker speech) was those who came to support me and for all of the lovely messages and surprise gifts I received from others who couldn’t be there. So many truly kind words were spoken – many of them only just now sinking in.
Even Matt Golinski who agreed to speak at my book launch chose to share very intimately about struggles his family and in-law’s family faced in managing their differences over estate arrangements – all while Matt was in an induced coma not even sure to survive. (You can read more about his story here). He floored me when he said he had wished my book had been written back then. It was such an unexpected encouragement to me.
I don’t share that with you to big note myself – but to just highlight the power that we each hold to encourage others and how powerful that encouragement can be.
So, as we come into a season where we all feel the pressures of work and life while managing our own exhaustion and that of others in our inner circle – can I encourage you to pause every now and again to speak out the awesomeness you see in others. Write a card, send a message, pick up the phone, sneak just a moment to say
“hey, I saw what you did… I see how you live…I see how you rise above…I see the spark in you…and you are freakin’ awesome!”
You never know you might just change someone’s world.