The Spartan Guide to Becoming Your Own Personal Cheerleader

Everyone needs a good cheerleader.

The more cheerleaders you have on your side, the easier it is to win.

Unfortunately, support isn’t always readily available.

Especially if you’re on your own.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: Everybody has the capacity for self-motivation.

The challenge is finding the perfect cheer.

Kind of like the Spartans from Saturday Night Live. Their mission in each episode was to inspire and motivate their team to victory with the ideal combination of words, kicks and spirit.

Does that describe the way you cheer for yourself?

If not, let’s explore a list of daily practices to help you become your own personal cheerleader:1. Stop justifying other people’s success. The first scripture I ever memorized comes from Galatians: “Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we will reap a great harvest if we faint not.”

It’s been enormously helpful over the years. Especially in my low moments when jealously makes me want to murder anyone who’s more successful than me.

Yeah, but he comes from money.
Yeah, but he doesn’t have a wife and kids.
Yeah, but he started when he was really young.

Yeah, but nothing.

Enough excuses and justifications about why other people don’t deserve success as much as you. Instead of getting pissed off that you’re not as successful as they are, use their accomplishments as a glowing source of inspiration. Build off their energy. Use it as fuel.

After all, they must be doing something right. Try turning toward their triumphs with a hospitable heart and distribute your motive force accordingly. What excuses do you make for other people’s accomplishments?

2. Obstacles are aphrodisiacs. A good cheerleader still cheers, even when the team is down by forty in the four quarter. Not just because she’s sleeping with the quarterback, but also because she understands the difference between losing and getting beat.

It’s simply a matter of mindset. And the same rule applies to self-motivation: You can’t abandon yourself during trying times. Gradually release yourself from the grip of self-torture by protecting your self-talk script.

Try this: Instead of berating yourself with, “I suck!” try bolstering yourself with, “Next time!” It’s not just optimistic; but it redirects the energy of your loss into more yessable territory.

And while it’s a challenging shift in meta-cognition, when you recognize how much damage this kind of language does to your spirit, you’ll never tell yourself you suck again. How do you talk to yourself when you fail?

3. Override the disbelief. Feeling like a fraud is, in many ways, a right of passage. It comes with the entrepreneurial territory. Thankfully, it’s an effective form of self-pressure to help you get over – and stay over – yourself.

But while the occasional undercurrent of doubt is healthy, too much of it will chew your guts and cause you unnecessary emotional suffering. The secret is to lay down a subtle bass line of self-belief. To remind yourself that you are enough, you have enough and you do enough. Otherwise your delusions of inadequacy will knock the cheer right out of you.

Personally, I use affirmations. Everyday. Don’t roll your eyes. Just because they’re cheesy doesn’t mean they’re ineffective. What you say to yourself when you have doubts about yourself determines how, when and if you make a name for yourself.

Remember: Self-belief doesn’t guarantee success – but lack of self-believe does guarantee failure. What would look like for you to believe in yourself down to your toes?

4. Stay alert to your good. Jack Kerouac famously suggested, You’re a genius all the time. Not an easy thing to admit about yourself. And while I don’t want you to become a self-important egomaniac – if you don’t convince yourself of the brilliance that is you, nobody else will.

If you don’t toot your own horn – nobody else will. And if you don’t accept the genius of your own work, nobody else will.

Cast from your soul any belief that you’re not enough. Never give up on yourself. And keep victory in front of your eyes daily. For every moment of brave action, salute yourself. For every incident of risk taking, honor yourself.

This will set ablaze your timid heart and remind you that you’re not a presumed part of the wallpaper. You’re not yesterday’s vegetables. You can turn a seed into a forest. You are music waiting to be heard by the world. What do you say to yourself in moments of honest leadership reflection?

5. Burn the beauty of your beginnings into your memory. Never let go of the original idea that made you successful. Especially in those moments when fear lies an inch beneath the surface, coming at you with everything it’s got – you’ve got to keep that part of yourself alive. Otherwise the gnawing fear of failure will disturb your sense of stability like an early morning fire alarm.

Try this: Constantly replay mental reruns of past victories. Revisit key moments when the best, highest version of yourself burned like a gas lamp. Ask yourself, “When did I feel most accomplished this year?”

Doing so will be akin to watching your own highlight reel. And it’s the idea reminder of your own ability to be great.

Remember: Everything is fuel. Examine the fruit of your own life, find a safe place in your mind and belt out that cheer like it’s the homecoming parade. What qualities do you have that accounted for your greatest victories in life so far?

6. Dig down through the many levels of why. Know how is educational – but feeling why is inspirational. If you want to create a go-to space for self-motivation, you’ve got to deepen your sense of why.

Knowing why elevates the spirit. Knowing why offers a path of healing. Knowing why permits you to insert your passion everywhere. Knowing why helps you lean into joy. Knowing why reminds you what your currency is. And knowing why creates suitable sphere for action.

My question is: When was the last time you made a list of a hundred reasons why you do what you do? Odds are, never. Because most people don’t do stuff like this. Fortunately, you’re not most people. And that’s exactly why you should try it. My guess is that your experience with this exercise will be nothing short of astonishing.

Personally, I did it last month. And my cheerleading ability has never been stronger. That’s the best part about knowing why: It takes you to a place where truth and beauty wait for you. When was the last time you were fuzzy about your why?

7. Succeed in spite of yourself. Every game you play is you versus you. And the surest way to head down the path of self-destructiveness is to hang onto your neuroses like a holiday card. As legendary director James Cameron once said, “Don’t put limitations on yourself – other people will do that for you.”

He’s right: Why constrict your usefulness? Why reject yourself? Instead, silence the old tape of can’t. Correct the distortions that stand in your way of victory. And keep a watchful eye on your self-sabotaging tendencies. After all, those are just your ego’s way of trying to control (not) getting something.

Take success, for example. Can you imagine anything more terrifying than getting exactly what you want?

No way. Think about it. If you achieve success:

You might lose it, you might realize it’s not enough, you might discover it’s not actually what you (thought) you wanted, you might not be able to handle all the changes success brings into your life, and you might not live up to the expectations and reputation attached to your success.

Blech. That’s usually when your ego chimes in with, “Oh well – maybe it’s safer to just want things. Maybe by expecting to fail and then not succeeding, I won’t miss my emotional goal of failure.”

That’s the key: A good cheerleader doesn’t just push you beat your opponent – she also prevents you from beating yourself. Who are you (really) up against?

REMEMBER: Being your own personal cheerleader isn’t just about self-motivation.

It’s about experiencing yourself better, believing in yourself further and loving yourself deeper.

And the best part is, you don’t even have to sleep with the quarterback.

Whom are you rooting for?

For the list called, “8 Ways to Out Give Your Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Five Ways to be a Force of Calm in a Time of Turmoil

Intensity is highly overrated.

In times of crisis, people turn to people who are calm.

Not emotionless.
Not uncommunicative.
Not borderline comatose.


Calm is what builds trust, mitigates stress, remedies confusion and inspires followership.

THE ONLY PROBLEM IS: You can’t really calm people down.

All you can do is turn yourself into a force of calm, in the hopes that you’ll infect people with the energy they need to do the same.

Here’s how:1. Oxygenate the conversation. People who incorporate deep, slow breathing into their daily actions never fail to become the calming force. Doing so is like taking your foot off the gas and engaging the conversational brakes.

According to a recent report from the National Institute of Mental Health, your breathing rhythm is a method to train the body’s reaction to stressful situations and dampen the production of harmful stress hormones.

Next time one of your coworkers starts freaking out, try this: Instead of telling them to take a deep breath – which runs the risk of sounding like their third grade teacher – try engaging your own lungs first. You’ll find that actions of calm will inspire people to relax, whereas instructions for calm sill incite people to react.

Linda, my massage therapist, is a master of this. Whenever I come in for an appointment, she treats our sessions as meditations. She doesn’t say a word – she just rubs and breathes. And after a few minutes, I am reduced to jelly.

Lesson learned: When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace; but when you inspire others to own their breath, nobody will want you to leave the room. Fast heart, slow lungs works every time. How’s your breathing?

2. Make communication a relaxing experience. During a recent outpatient procedure, my podiatrist administered three shots of local anesthetic to my foot. Ouch. But as much as it hurt, I’ll never forget hearing the following words:

“It’s over Scott. I’m not going to hurt you anymore.”

Definitely one of the great calming remarks I’ve ever heard. That’s what I love about Dr. Kauffman: He’s a light and comfort to everyone he encounters. Nothing could be more relaxing.

On the other hand, some medical professionals mere presence stresses patients out. Yikes. And if you want to avoid this label, the key is to ask yourself two key questions:

*When you walk into a room, how does it change?
*When you walk out of a room, how does it change?

If you’re not satisfied with the reactions you’ve been getting, don’t criticize the room. Instead, look in the mirror. Because whatever change occurs to a room as you enter and exist in is a tangible representation of how your character, actions, words, reputation and personality have both preceded and affected the people around you. What affect does your presence you have on the completion of the room?

3. When people panic, give them instructions. Consider the recent emergency with Qantas Flight 32. According to the Associated Press article, a jet engine as big as a bus had disintegrated, blasting shrapnel holes in the super jumbo’s wing. The odds of that many failures occurring simultaneously were one and a hundred million.

But veteran pilot Richard de Crespigny handled the chaos exquisitely. I even listened to the announcement recorded on a passenger’s cell phone several times, and The Captain was perfectly collected. Here’s the transcript:

“We have a technical issue with our engine. We have dealt with this situation. The aircraft is secure. And we’re going to have to hold for a little while as we lighten our load and perform a number of checklists. Thanks for your patience and we promise to keep you posted.”

Thanks to his calming force, the aircraft averted what could have been a catastrophe. And whether you’re flying a plane, leading a team, consoling a teammate or delivering a presentation to a frightened audience, the lesson is the same:

People want to know what action you’re going to take to fix their problem.

This preserves their sense of control and realigns the balance of power. Explain every step of the process. Even the things that could possibly go wrong. Timeliness reduces anxiety. Will your calm influence infect the people around you?

4. Refuse to take ownership of their emotions. Let’s say you work with someone who creates more drama than a high school prom. Perfect. Next time they start freaking out, don’t waste your breath telling them to calm down. This does nothing but compound their frustration.

Your job is to become a body of water. Instead of steeling yourself – still yourself. Keep your vocal pitch and volume low. Limit your physical movements. And avoid anything that might fuel already escalating emotions.

This practice, while it takes significant self-control, will invite people to see the reflection of their own reactivity and enable the release of negative energy. And hopefully, as their emotional engine runs out of steam, your stillness will serve as a subtle bell of awareness to bring people back to center.

Either that or they’ll club you over the head with a stapler.

Remember: You can’t put people at ease if you’re not at easy with yourself. Is your silence a positive motivator?

5. Calm comes from experience. Getting audited sucks. Happened to me earlier this year. And because it was my company’s first run with the Internal Revenue Service, my initial reaction was anything but calm.

Fortunately, I had two mentors in my corner to keep me relaxed. First, my accountant: Lisa. Her exact words were, “This is the best thing the IRS could ever ask you to do.” Thank God. Her silver-lining philosophy lowered my heartbeat immediately.

Second, my father: Mark. His exact words were, “It’s no big deal. We get audited all the time.” Whew. As a fellow entrepreneur, his nonchalant reassurance lowered my blood pressure immediately.

If you want to do the same to the people who matter most, use whatever relevant experience you have. Don’t over-identify. Don’t bring it back to you. And don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Just make sure people undergoing times of turmoil can turn to you – someone who’s been there before – and think to themselves, “I am not alone.”

Remember: There’s nothing more calming than communicating your mutual humanity. Are you positioned as someone who remains unreasonably peaceful in times of chaos?

REMEMBER: People who exhibit calm temperament in a troubled world are always in high demand.

They get seen, get hired and get promoted.
They get noticed, get remembered and get business.
They make the cut, make the day and make the room better.

And the best part is: You don’t even have to do anything – you simply have to be.

Be a paragon of stillness.
Be balm to a troubled world.
Be the calming force in times of turmoil.

People will turn to you.

Why are you rushing?

For the list called, “27 Affirmations to Prepare Yourself to Listen,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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