Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cheerleaders Aren't Just For Football...

“We deceive ourselves when we fancy that only weakness needs support.  Strength needs it far more.” ~ Anne Sophie Swetchine

I’ll be the first person to admit I’m my own worst critic.  I’m self-deprecating, masochistic, and an all-around pessimist.  But I’m also stubborn, determined and a complete dreamer of dreams. 

How is that even possible?  Trust me, it is.

I try to believe in myself.  I push through the negativity to prove to my evil alter-ego that I can do it, even when she’s telling me I don’t stand a chance (she can be really snarky).  Sometimes, she wins and I go to bed deflated, defeated and ready to give up.  Sometimes I win, and she shuts up and scowls while I smile sweetly and pat myself on the back.  I don’t win enough, though. 

That’s where my support system comes in.

Don’t get me wrong, some people succeed on their own, with no support system, and I give them major kudos for being able to do so.  But only a few like that succeed.  Many others give up.  And come on, who doesn’t appreciate a pat on the back?  Whether you are on a sports team, part of a band, or a soloist like me, everyone should have somebody behind them.  To cheer you on and encourage you to push the limits of your potential, someone to slap you out of a funk or to pick you up when you’ve lost a round (because everyone loses sometimes) and tell you “Good job, go do it again”.  Everyone needs that validation that someone there believes in them, too, even the most egotistical and narcissistic. 

Why?  Without the support of others, the road to success could be much, much harder.  It’s easier to travel that road with company.  Whether it’s two people, two hundred, or two thousand, you’ll be amazed at how much better the journey is with them behind you.  It’s also more fun to celebrate successes with those people who were at the start line with you.  After all, it’s a little piece of success for them, too.

Support systems can be made up of all variations of the people in your life, such as: 

  • Spouse/partner
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Extended family members
  • Friends
  • Colleagues
  • Neighbors
  • Fellow writers, athletes, artists, etc.
  • A mentor

Even people you meet online can become your supporters and allies.  It doesn’t matter who they are in relevance to your life and/or goals, as long as they are people who you are comfortable sharing your goals with, who believe in and respect you, and can be there to say “You can do it” when you need it.  That’s one criteria needed.  

The other criteria would be the ability to ask for that support.  I know first hand that people can assume you don’t need them, so it’s important to remind them when you do.  I also know how hard it can be to say when you need someone, so I’m telling you right now, swallow that pride—it can be rather useless when you feel like quitting.

My support group is made up of many parts.  So that I don’t offend people, I’ll spare you the pie chart (even though I’d really love to put one up because I love pie charts) and provide you a list instead:

  • My husband, Bob:  I’d be lost without him most days.  He picks me up when I’m down, dusts me off and kicks me in the pants (sometimes a little too hard, haha) and tells me everyday that he believes in me.  He also knows when to give me a proper reality check.  Bob’s my beta reader, my sounding board, my shoulder to cry on, my ear to yell into when I’m frustrated and my #1 supporter. 
  • My parents: They’ve come over almost every weekday the past year to watch my little guy so that I could work, and who are there to say (along with my husband) that I need to pursue my dreams.  They haven’t read a word I’ve written (I’m actually quite shy about my work and refuse to share with them until it’s in print), but they think I’ve got the talent to succeed and promise to be first in line to buy my books. 
  • My extended family and friends:  This large and eclectic group of people in my life provides varying levels of support, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. 
  • Fellow writers:  Along this journey, I’ve met an amazing group of multi-talented people from all walks of life, and through their opinions, advice and support, I’ve seen myself and my writing from a much different perspective.  Most I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in person, but we have a mutual respect and belief in one another’s goals.  To be embraced by the writing community like that and to be able to offer that embrace back is a wonderful thing.
  • My followers:  The fact that you come here to this blog, follow my Twitter and/or Facebook and read my ramblings, comment on them, share them, and take the time to show interest in what I’m doing is not only flattering, but astounding (in the best way possible).  It helps me believe in myself.  It makes me feel worthy of someone else’s time, and for that I have so much gratitude and appreciation for each of you.  I love reading your emails, your tweets and comments, and I love hearing how my work has made you feel/think.  That validation for me as a writer is crucial to succeeding, and you’ve helped to give me that.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  • Critique givers:  They’ve read my work, given me the good and the bad, and in the end, they still encourage me and tell me to go for it.  Enough said.

These people have gathered together along my road to success.  Without them, I would have thrown in the towel a LONG time ago.  I look forward to celebrating with them when the time finally comes.  *Prays that it will come quickly*

Family, friends, workout partners, critique groups, classmates, strangers, the mailman, or the guy who sits a cubicle away from you.  There are so many options for support out there.  All you have to do is get out your “road to success” map, decide who you want with you and tell them where you’re heading.   


  1. What a great post! It's good to have a support system. I didn't for a long time and am so glad I do now. Thanks for sharing yours!

  2. So very true, all the persistence in the world doesn't matter for anything if you don't have at least some form of encouragement.

  3. What Kellie said--ditto! I floundered for years without a strong support network. Not that I had *no* support--but sometimes you people to believe in you who aren't directly related :). Having a critique group & writing friends has moved me from wanna-be writer to a writer who believes in herself...and, when I don't believe in myself, they believe for me!

  4. I really enjoyed this blog. I've decided that you've hit the nail on the head when it comes to needing fans! I guess I forget how much a pat from my hubbie or a 'way to go, Mom' from my son can pick me up.