Being your own cheerleader

At times it can be difficult to maintain a positive mindset but I’ve learned you have to be your own biggest fan.


Sarabeth Wester

The brains intrusive thoughts that lead to self deprecation.

Reese Williams, Associate Editor

Recently, I was playing in a golf tournament. From the get go I was not playing very well. I was extremely frustrated with myself and felt as if I had totally messed up. My coach came over multiple times to encourage me and tell me to just play on, but I was so fed up with myself that I just ended up playing worse.

 We ended up stopping after the 13th hole due to rain– I had never been happier. Only my first 9 holes would end up counting, so I didn’t need to worry about shooting a 125(par is 72). 125 is probably an exaggeration, but I convinced myself that I had already failed.

My coach did not play me in the next tournament.  The unfortunate part was that my sitting out was not because of my skill, but simply because of my mentality at the time. 

I later spoke on the phone with my coach. I asked her one very important question: Will I be playing the rest of the season? She chuckled and simply said, “Reese, of course you’re playing, as long as you practice and change your attitude towards yourself.” 

The most ironic part of this whole situation is that the main reason I love the sport is because every hole is like a fresh start, a new opportunity to redeem yourself.  For me, the opportunity of a new hole allows me to refresh my brain and move on. 

The unfortunate part was that my sitting out was not because of my skill, but simply because of my mentality at the time. ”

Having the mindset that I will succeed has always been difficult. My default mentality is that I will fail. I am so concerned about what my potential failure will look like to others that I forget why I participate in the things I enjoy in the first place. 

The same mentality affects me on campus.  Similarly, I feel I will never be as good of a writer as my friend and co-associate editor, Alex, so why should I try to write personal, in-depth features like he does?  No one will read them anyways.

 See? I just tore myself down, something I and many others do constantly. 

During the fall, I do dual sport, so when I’m not on the golf course, I am in the gym with the cheer team practicing. If I am not playing either sport then I am most likely in voice lessons trying to better my singing for auditions. I am always trying to improve at the three hobbies I enjoy most. Yet, I always allow myself to tear myself down. 

I get stuck in a fixed mindset. According to Harvard Business School a growth mindset allows you to thrive on challenges, you don’t see failure as a way to describe yourself but as a springboard for growth and developing your abilities. On the other hand a person with a fixed mindset has a more one-track mind and it is harder for them to adapt to tough situations or grow from failures. 

A person is unlikely to wholly have a growth or fixed mindset, rather, they probably have both. However a negative attitude most likely means that in that moment, you’re leaning toward a fixed mindset.  The problem with this for me is that in most everything I do on a daily basis, I constantly tell myself I will never be good enough. 

You see, in front of others, I try to be an uplifting person. I want people to like me, so I do what I think will make them happy. I believe “people pleaser” would be the correct term to describe this; however, when it comes to talking about myself, I tend to be more negative. 

The mindset I have is: If I tear myself down, then I will never be upset when I do not do well, because I did not expect a good outcome in the first place.

If I don’t expect to win the match, I will not be upset. If I don’t expect to get the part, I will not be upset. If I don’t expect to be in the back row of a formation for a cheer or dance, I will not be upset.

By no means am I saying this is how anyone should think. I am expressing that, unfortunately, it is “normal” to think negatively about yourself, and we need to learn to cut ourselves some slack. Pretend that you are talking to your best friend when you talk to yourself. I know for a fact that you would not tell them that they will not succeed.

My take on this for myself and for you is to change your thinking. I understand it is easier said than done, but be your own cheerleader. Stand in the mirror before that big game, audition, or test, and remind yourself you can do it. You can win, you can get the part, you can ace that test.