Real Leaders

The Power of Success: How to Cheerlead Instead of Compete — and Win More

Much of the world today seems to indulge in schadenfreude — taking pleasure from others’ misfortunes. But if we train ourselves to focus on cheering for others’ successes, we also create much more success for ourselves. We need to fundamentally understand that it’s a good thing for everyone when other people have success. It is not a poor reflection on us. It does not highlight our lack of achievement. Instead, it creates an environment of success for us all. 

That’s why every day, we should practice encouraging others with our cheerleading powers. We need to lead by example and be the head cheerleader at home, at work, or in our community organizations. When your neighbor brings home a new Mercedes Benz, be the first to congratulate her. At work, be the boss who takes responsibility for all mistakes, gives their team credit for all successes, and develops their subordinates to one day take their position and even surpass them in their careers. Tremendous success and fulfillment come to those who cheer for others’ accomplishments and achievements simply because of the laws of attraction. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Use these three fundamental strategies to harness the power of success:

1. Believe in abundance, not scarcity.

We need to believe in abundance, not scarcity. We can’t think that just because someone else is enjoying a wonderful slice of pie, that there is less pie for the rest of us. We need to understand the pie is limitless. The servings are infinite. Technology and the onward march of humankind have continually proven that what we previously thought was finite is infinite. Abundance solutions have repeatedly dispelled our fears of lack of food, water, energy, and even space on the planet, and now Elon Musk is even moving us all to Mars.

The more people we connect to help each other and do business together, the more concentric circles of reward we create around ourselves. Restaurants counterintuitively group together in specific locations and pray that their competitors prosper because they know they will, in turn, also flourish. Car dealerships do the same. Starbucks cafes often locate diagonally across the street from each other because people don’t like to make left turns … well, except in London.

2. Help people recover when they fail.

When people fail, be the first one to help them recover. Don’t go to NASCAR races for the crashes, don’t watch a hockey game for the fights, and don’t take pleasure in others’ stumbles. Remind others that they only stumble when they take risks, but those risks are necessary for ultimate success. Encourage them to continue to stick their necks out. 

Don’t reinforce the system’s tendency to cause people to stay in the middle of the pack, head down and unscathed. Encourage them to stretch and reinforce the true definition of success — simply getting up one more time than they fall. I am living proof that great success can allow us to take our eye off the ball but that great failures can teach us profound lessons that have the power to propel us to the next level.

3. Compete only with yourself.

Compete only with yourself — but promise me you will compete. Get in the race or maybe get back in the race. Compete with whomever you were yesterday. Stop watching the shows about celebrities’ fabulous lives because we all know they are not actually fabulous. Stop watching the reality and talk shows displaying the terrible lives of underachievers so that we feel better about ourselves, thinking, “At least I’m not that bad” when we haven’t put ourselves out there.

Compete with yourself and focus on getting just a little bit better each day based on your benchmarks and grading system. Hold yourself accountable, but give others a break. We never know what mile has been walked in their shoes today.

A metaphor for my corporate golf outings: “Putt yours out but always ensure your clients’ putts in the leather are gimmees.” Those who understand will understand.

The world today needs more cheerleaders. We can mentor and cheerlead in so many ways. We can help someone get that job, help them get into the right school, or even help them get that first date. And, in turn, life is reciprocal. How do we get the most business referrals? By spending all day giving referrals to everyone else. How do we keep our office climate upbeat and exciting? By practicing management-by-walking-around and zapping everyone with positive energy.

Help your friends see opportunities instead of problems. Help your teammates see that when one door closes, another one opens. Be that mentor, that coach, that cheerleader. You will be greatly rewarded — and if you’re not careful, you also might make the world a better place.

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