Be Your #1 Fan

spirit_18foamhand1Let’s face it, having your own personal fan club would be pretty darn cool, right?  Can’t you just imagine the excitement of pulling into the driveway and having a throng of people shouting your name, clamoring for your autograph and throwing roses at your feet?  Or waiting for hours just to get a glimpse of you passing by?  Wouldn’t it be so cool to open your mail (bags of it!) and have letters of adoration and praise from complete strangers professing love for everything you do? Ok, maybe that’s a little creepy, but the idea of a fan club is something I think we can all identify with and silently close our eyes and momentarily revel in.

Football is a sport my family holds dear.  My Dad was a gifted athlete and nothing mattered more to him in the world of sports than football.  It wasn’t until he had his fifth grandson, however, that our family’s passion for the sport would finally be lived out on the field.  We’re not even to the high school level yet, and we’re already being teased with the touch of greatness we’ve been blessed with in.  I cannot wait to see where our young man takes his talents!

I don’t get to see my nephew play often, thanks to the distance we live apart, so the last time we went to a game, I invested in some inexpensive hooded sweatshirts for everyone in the family.  With the help of a printer, some iron-on printer paper and collegiate letters, I made our own fan club apparel to wear to the game.  We all proudly wore our shirts and stood apart from the rest in the stadium as we showed our team – and player – pride!  Our guy stood a little taller that day, despite their unexpected loss, and got a little envious respect from peers and parents alike.  The ego boost it gave was priceless!  He has his own fan club and no one can dispute that fact!!!

We all need the motivation and encouragement that comes from having fans and support.  All of us!  It doesn’t matter whether we’re players on the field, rock stars on a stage or a dedicated secretary going seemingly unnoticed in a cube farm.  And while it would be great if we all had a great support network of family, friends, co-workers and bosses who took the time to call out and praise our accomplishments and contributions, the reality is that it rarely happens as often as it should.

You need to be your number one fan.  You.

I keep an “atta girl” file.  In it, I have just about every letter of praise, thank you and “good job” that has touched me in my career. I have to admit most that most of them are getting pretty old and I don’t think it is because I don’t do good work anymore, I just don’t think people make the time to acknowledge it like they used to. Regardless, I read those letters when I need a boost. It lifts my spirits and reminds me about the times and events in my career when I did something that mattered enough to someone else to take a pause and recognize it.  It boosts my ego and keeps me going. They are my fan letters and I encourage you to save yours and keep your own file.

In my kitchen, I have a bulletin board with pictures and notes from friends and family that are equally important. They are reminders of what’s important. Notes of affirmation and love that make my heart swell and slap a silly smile on my face when I need one. There is no painting or photograph more valuable in my home than that mosaic of thumb-tacked drawings, notes, sketches, snapshots and summer camp art that remind me of my fans and their love and support.

But even beyond that, I have learned to be my own fan club by the way I talk to myself.  The encouraging words I tell myself and the way I think about myself. The biggest damage I can do is say mean, hurtful things to me! There is no faster way to bottom-out my zest for life than just allow my negative self to start ripping in to all the good and wonderful things I think and feel.

In the year ahead, do not lose sight of the fact that how we think and feel about ourself begins within. We can choose to be our own fan club, and be the source of powerful, positive emotions that impact our daily life. We can cultivate an environment within our head and our hearts where good ideas and thoughts can take root and grow. We can be open to the positive feedback and the compliments others give us and we can allow ourselves to grow, listen and learn. But it is a choice.  Choose to love yourself.  Support yourself.

Raise that foam #1 high about your head and scream for your success!

You can do it!

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