Being a Cheerleader at Work and on the Sidelines

I’ll never forget the days we took that big yellow bus to the field.

Friday nights were football. I remember liking cheering for football games more than I liked cheering in competitions. Why? Maybe it was my love for the game? Maybe it was the culture of the sport? We wore our varsity jackets all week long during football season; between the team dinners, the hype, and the grueling practices, we were ready. No, I wasn’t a player--I cheered for them--but I was part of the culture.

The team becomes your family, your number becomes a staple of your identity, the wins are like winning wars for your team, your town.

We won together and we lost together.

I know, what does that mean for me today? Well, a lot. I’m still cheering. I cheer for my kids, my husband, my co-workers, my friends, and myself. As I drive to my oldest son’s middle school football games, I see those lights and it takes me back. It reminds of my roots. It reminds me of a part of my life that created a conviction in me that I now share with my family.

I try to lead by example. They see me work hard; not just at work, but at the gym, while I’m cooking, cleaning, giving hugs, listening, doing things for others and showing up for them every day.

My husband’s career exemplifies this mantra as he’s a collegiate football coach. His career takes him across the country where we split up our time and, sometimes, when we aren’t together, our family. But only by distance, not by heart.

The struggles can be difficult with three kids, a husband across the country, and a career. My life at times can feel overwhelming. I don’t always get to go to every football game my husband coaches, or every game each one of my kids play. So I break it up as evenly as possible and put my all into where I am when I’m there—wherever that there may be.

My family knows that no matter what--
good, bad, or indifferent--
I am their cheerleader & I am their biggest fan.

This same spirit has guided me with my team at work. Leadership is really, in my opinion, how well you can get everyone to rise to their maximum potential. It isn’t management to me, it’s the ability to empower people. It’s influence. I tell my kids, my husband, and my team at work to encourage and to lead by example. Everyone notices what you do. Sometimes all anyone really needs is support, a cheerleader, a guiding light to encourage them to be their very best.

So when people ask me how I juggle it all, the answer is simple: I don’t always juggle it all. Sometimes I fall down and fail miserably, but I always get back up and try again. I put my all into everything I do, and I don’t worry about the rest. I refuse to worry about the things I can’t control. I cheer for myself every day. Being your own cheerleader is just as important as cheering on everyone else.