Traditionally, cheerleaders travel far and wide in their short pleated skirts and winning smiles, following their team’s every game with their encouraging chanting, energetic high kicking, and flamboyant yet perfectly synchronised pom pom waving. If your cheerleaders are working their magic at the edge of the court, their bouncing optimism can give the kind of boost to your morale and performance that’s almost like having an extra player on your team.
In your non-sporting life – and in your creative life in particular – being a cheerleader for someone simply means supporting and encouraging them in all their creative ventures, being there to listen when they need an sympathetic ear, to offer advice when they ask for it, to be everything from a comforting hug to a swift kick up the derriere, as and when it’s required.
Think for a moment of the sort of cheerleading you might have done yourself in the past. How have you helped and encouraged others you know in work life or your personal life?
(It doesn’t matter if you didn’t dress up and bring pom poms, but bonus points to you if you did. Especially if you’re a guy.)
Also, think about the people that have been there on the sidelines for you, ever present and supportive through your triumphs and your struggles.
In the past these sort of people in your life would have most likely been your immediately family, as well as your friends and close work colleagues.
The trouble is, sometimes the people most close to us in so many ways, just don’t “get” this “nice little hobby” we have which we call being an artist.
So however supportive they may be in some areas, when it comes to creativity, they don’t understand the need to create, or the desire to. Their support, however genuinely offered, somehow doesn’t quite help you as much as you’d like it to.
And because they maybe don’t create themselves in the way you do (if they create at all), those seemingly innocuous phrases like “Why don’t you get a proper steady job” and “Are you still playing around with that painting thing?” are far more damaging and dismissive than they realise.
Being creative, being an artist, to you and me is at the core of our being and personality. To criticise or mock our need to create is to criticise and mock our whole being.
Fortunately, these days with the hyper-connectivity of the age we live in, it’s easier than ever to find people who DO “get” this art thing that we do, and who do understand that creating is not an option or an occasional hobby for a wet weekend, but something we need to outpour daily, even hourly.
So, the opportunity for you to assemble your own personal amazing cheerleader team is very real, and very attainable.
The rewards can literally put you into a different orbit with your creativity.
Instead of fighting not only your own inner critic with its dozens of ways and reasons to try to convince you to not create, in the past you’ll have had the critical external voices of those around you to try to battle too. It’s exhausting.
Now, when you gather together a cheerleader team, you know that support is there whenever you need it, and together you can become far greater than the sum of your individual creative talents. Together you can become virtually invincible.
There are essentially two parts to building your cheerleader team, and each complements the other.
1. Your Fellow Artists.
First, the people who are creating just like you, and know the ups and downs. There are many creative communities these days where you can find artists of all different backgrounds and who create in a vast range of different media, with one common goal. To be as creative as they can be, and to help as many other people as they can along the way.
2. Your Mentors and Leaders.
Secondly, the people you look up to, the leaders in your field, those who rally you with their passionate words and inspire you with not only their art itself, but the way they consistently step up and create too. You don’t need to even meet these people personally, they’re more accessible and easy to follow than ever through the internet.
So, bringing this all together. Having people from both of these groups above gives you the most powerful combination to be as creative as you can be, and feel you have the pom poms a-waving and the high kicks a-kicking right by your side.
You can’t necessarily build your cheerleader team in a day, but I’m sure you already have in mind some people from both of these areas you can assemble. Go find them.
Dedicate a little time each day to interacting with them, and being ever inspired and motivated by them. And they will in turn be inspired and motivated by you.
Having your own amazing cheerleader team will take your creativity to new heights, and help you then in turn be a part of other people’s cheerleader teams.
This powerful support network spirals ever upwards, and you, me and the whole world gets to benefit from the wonderful creativity pouring forth.
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