Empowerment

The Cheerleader Who Didn’t Cheer for Herself

In the realm of sports, the cheerleader is charged with being supportive of their team by cheering them on and keeping the crowd hyped. As a sports fan myself, I remember the nights at my high school football games watching all the action on the field. The cheerleaders stood on the sidelines doing their cheer routines directly in front of the band. I didn’t realize it then, but many people weren’t really paying attention to the cheerleaders; rather, their eyes were glued to the football players. After all, they were the reason why so much action was happening on the field. The football players kept the crowd wanting more. Essentially, the football players were the stars and the cheerleaders were the supporting roles.

Cheerleader Role:

Now a decade later, I have found myself in the supporting role of a cheerleader. I’m not cheering for a sports team but instead for people and their dreams. However, while I’m cheering for others and their dreams, I have failed to cheer for myself and my own dreams. I was so committed to supporting others that people actually began to call me a cheerleader. At first, I took it as a compliment and proudly accepted the role. I played the role so well that if it were possible I would have gotten an Oscar for it.

Cheerleading Cycle:

Sadly, I didn’t see being a great cheerleader for everyone else resulted in me neglecting my own dreams. It wasn’t until I met with my mentor, Eboni L. Truss, last year for dinner in Atlanta, GA, that it was brought to my attention that I was selling myself short by being a cheerleader for everyone else but not myself.

She challenged me to do things for myself where other people could also participate. So I began to have different events and ventured into podcasting and radio.

I thought I was finally out of the cheerleader role. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I found myself linking up with people where, once again, I was the cheerleader, and I found myself putting my dreams on the back burner while I help them build theirs.

The Final Straw:

I noticed that months were passing, but I hadn’t achieved half of the things I had set out to do while the people I was supporting were getting projects done and moving on to the next thing. I was fed up with myself and tired of neglecting my own dreams.

Ironically, the people I was supporting either weren’t supporting me at all or they were half-heartedly supporting me. So, I asked myself, “Why in the world am I going hard for people who really don’t care if my dreams become a reality or not?”

After yet another conversation with someone else about me being a cheerleader only to others and not myself, I made the decision to step up to the plate, poke my chest out, and cheer as loudly as I can for myself!

However, I won’t be cheering from the sidelines like the cheerleaders at my high school football games. Oh no! I am determined to take action, like the football players on the field, and cheer at the same time while I build my own dreams. I encourage you to do the same. In the words of Farrah Gray, “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.”

-Sequoia T. Gillyard, The Word Worship

*** This article was previously published on the Huffington Post***

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