Saturday, October 18, 2014

How Cheerleading Relates to the Real World

Fun fact everyone: I used to be a cheerleader.

This may not come to a surprise to most people (especially if you know me), but I was a cheerleader. And I loved it. I lived and breathed cheerleading for about seven years. The transition from full-time cheerleader to (still) wannabe cheerleader has been really rough for me, which explains why I’m writing a whole post dedicated to cheerleading. It was important to me and it helped shape me into the confident woman I am today. I wanted to take the time to share some tips I learned in cheer actually ended up being life lessons

1. It's okay to fail. I promise you it is okay to fail, but only if you learn from your mistakes. If you drop someone mid stunt, you better learn from your mistakes. If you don't and you keep dropping your flyers, no one will trust you. How does this relate to the real world?  Take a look at your life and tell me you haven’t made a mistake before. If you try and tell me you haven’t made a mistake, I’m going to tell you that you just made a mistake by lying to me. Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are human. What you do with your mistakes is what defines you as a person.

2. The truth may hurt, but you'll grow from it. This is probably the most important thing I learned. I will never forget the time I had my team sit down with me and tell them that I was holding them back skill-wise. It was probably the most heartbreaking thing someone had ever told me. A little back story: I was not the strongest tumbler at all. I was definitely strong enough to tumble, but would scare myself out of it last second. I was not about the idea of breaking my neck. But anyways, when I had my peers straight up tell me the truth, I was so upset. How dare they tell me that I was holding them back! I worked so hard and I was fighting to be the best. After about five minutes of being extremely angry and frustrated, I decided that crying about it was not going to get me anywhere. I realized that they told me this for a reason. They knew I could do better, but I needed that push from my teammates. I threw new skills that night and it was the best feeling ever. 

The moral of the story: it really sucks to be criticized, especially by your peers. But they wouldn’t be telling you the truth if they didn’t have respect for you. Take it as a compliment, figure out how you can improve and move on.

3. Helping others grow is the best feeling in the world. I don't know how many people have helped someone grow before, but I highly suggest you do it. I'm not talking about literally grow. That's not a thing. I'm talking about as a person. I've had the chance to help coach high school cheerleaders before, and it's such a rewarding experience. Making a difference in someone's life can change them (and you!) for good. Relate this to your classes, your organizations you are apart of or your work. Find someone you can relate to and help them reach their goals. Don’t be creepy about it, but just encourage them to keep improving and working for what they really want.

4. "Fake it till you make it" can actually work. I've learned the best way to be happy when you're really sad is to fake it 'till you make it. Once upon a time, I got dumped over the phone during halftime of a game. I was really upset. Actually I was more angry than upset, but that's not the point.  I had to get back out there and cheer, and you can't have a sad cheerleader. I went out to the basketball court and I smiled the entire second half. And as silly as it seems, it totally works. Sometimes, faking a smile can really help turn your mood around. 

5. But most of the time it can't. Besides my cute little story about how smiling can change your mood, I wouldn't suggest faking it till you make it in every aspect of life. Let's say, you're learning a new routine or a stunt and you really have no idea what's happening. You think to yourself, "I'll just fake it and pretend I know what I'm doing until I fully understand." Do that if you want to be responsible for breaking someone’s neck. You can get away with faking it sometimes, but the more you know and the more prepared you are in life, the better. Especially with cheerleading. You can't mess around with that stuff when you're throwing people in the air and catching them. 

This same concept applies to life. Put on a happy face at work if you’re sad. You’ll feel better. Don’t half-heartedly doing your job. That is one thing you cannot fake. Eventually, doing sub-par work is going to catch up to you. If you aren’t confident in a skill, ask someone for help instead of pretending to know what to do.

6. It's okay to take a break from the real world. Cheerleading was my escape from the real world. The second I stepped onto that mat, nothing else mattered. I didn't care if I got in a fight with my roommate or if I didn’t do well on an exam. This was my “me time” to leave all my worries behind. Of course, I had to come back to them at the end of practice, but I always felt a lot better afterwards. It's okay to walk away for a bit if you're stressed out, just make sure you come back in a timely manner.

7. Hard work will pay off. At the end of the day, your hard work is going to pay off. All the extra conditioning, the tears and black eyes will be worth it. This relates to anything, not just cheerleading. What you put into your work is what you get out.

Until Next Time,


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