Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my cheerleading years. Mostly about how much I miss it and wishing how I could be part of a team like that again. That got me thinking about how, even 5 years after I wore my uniform for the last time, cheerleading has had a huge impact on my life and I’ve realized how important it has been in my life. I was a cheerleader for 6 years for my school and I lived and breathed it all year long. Not just at practice or games, but I was a full time cheerleader. Even in my free time, I would be thinking about cheerleading, creating cheer lists, designing shirts, trying to figure out stunt sequences in my head, thinking of anyway I could make our team better. You could say I was dedicated. Most of my greatest memories and proudest moments came from cheer. I think my time as a cheerleader really shaped me into who I am today and taught me a lot of important life lessons. Today I am reflecting on those lessons that I cherish and use in my everyday life as a full-time working adult.
Most of the biggest things cheerleading has taught me have to do with Teamwork and Working with Others. This has been ever so important as I am starting my career in a field that requires working with others on 100% of the things I do. Here are some of the lessons I learned in cheerleading about teamwork that I still use today:
- Everyone has different ideas and you can’t be afraid to put your ideas out there.
- To be able to talk through conflict – it’s okay to disagree with people (even your friends) on what to do or how to do things- what’s important is being able to reach a solution that works for everyone.
- It’s okay to be upset about something (we are all human), but don’t let it affect your performance.
- How to work with a positive attitude even when things are tough or things don’t go your way.
- Dedication and Loyalty – putting the team before yourself. Do what will help the team as a whole first before doing what will help you personally. (In the end, it will be what’s best for you too).
- Working with a coach is a lot like having a boss– sometimes they can scare you or intimidate you, but they can also be great friends and have a sense of humor. They’re supposed to be tough, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing their job. They just want to make your team the best it can be.
More things I learned from cheerleading are about working for what you want. Competitive Cheerleading was one of the most physically and mentally demanding things I have ever done. There were tears, there was pain there were times I thought why am I doing this? But I never quit and I kept working. The same is true for the workplace (minus the tears and pain- mostly) but the work I am doing is mentally grueling and a lot of it is hard to understand, but I won’t get any better unless I keep trying.
- Hard work will equal big rewards: all of the hardest things I have ever had to do have been all my proudest moments once they were over. (But hitting a single base lib at state might still feel better than anything I have accomplished at work, yet ;))
- You can always learn and you can always get better. Once you think you have mastered something, there’s always something else out there to master.
- Know your worth, but stay humble.
Cheerleading also thought me a lot of social skills that are so important with getting and keeping a job.
- Respect– always always always have respect. You don’t have to like someone but you always have to show respect if you are going to work with them.
- Public Speaking- I am not afraid to talk in front of people, even people I don’t know. I accredit this to standing in front of hundreds of people doing cheers and having to talk at school assemblies.
- Confidence- Again with the “having hundreds of eyes looking at me” thing, I can do my thing and when I know that I know my stuff, I am not afraid to show it.
- Planning, organizing and delegating- Not technically social skills but oh so important to be a functioning adult. I don’t think cheerleading thought me my organizing skills (because I’m a freak), but it definitely let me practice them. Making cheer game plans and making sure everyone had the right sign is a lot like planning out my work for the day 🙂
And last but not least, the relationships and bonds I formed with the other girls on my cheerleading team are the best I’ve ever had, I’ve really never experienced anything quite like it. But we spent so much time together that we really had no choice but to like each other lol. The inside jokes, the friendships, the laughs and the tears. This only made us better, because I think when you can go through the tough times together, you are able to excel at the best times together. Never forget that team building and trust is are important if you want to have a high functioning team- and that’s on any team, ever.
The things I would do to have the team back together again in the glory days. Cherish every second because it’s over faster than you think.
Thanks for reading along,