Since we’ve come back to the UK cheer and dance industry, we have seen some incredible growth. New skills, more teams, and more opportunities for all. That’s awesome!
But sadly, we have seen one thing that breaks our heart. We didn’t expect it. Its the overwhelming calls for advice, emails, and DMs we are getting about “meanness” that’s happening amongst teams, coaches, and even parents. Its pettiness, gossip, and drama that takes away from the many wonderful things about our sports.
So its time to go back to all that is good in cheer and dance. Its time to grow in this industry from the heart and not just from the muscles and mind! If you are struggling with others being less than empowering, encouraging, and genuinely NICE to you….here’s some advice for the entire UK Cheer and Dance World that will serve us all in bringing us back to what this sport is really all about:
- If someone is treating you badly, start with compassion. Its one thing you’ll hear us teach often, and its the opposite of what you’ll want to do, but remember that people are not born mean. They’ve experienced something in their life that has shaped or influenced the behavior that is hurting you. So be compassionate toward that part of their experience first. That will open the door for growth both parties over time.
- Stop giving them so much authority. When gossip and un-truths, and judgements, and pettiness comes up, we’ve seen people break down and lose heart. We’ve seen teams literally avoid a comp or event that they would otherwise love to attend, but are avoiding a team who has not been supportive of them. Our advice: Stop letting them make your decisions. They don’t get to determine your joy or happiness. And you are 100% in control of this. So instead of letting their behavior beat you or control you, use the meanness as leverage to empower yourself or teammates to show how you can rise above any circumstance. You can do what you love, despite untruths or gossip of others. You can make a difference for others, and have a blast in your life, no matter what!
- Know you are not alone and its not new. Meanies have existed since the beginning of time. The fact that we even had to write this article means we’ve heard it too much from too many people. We even experience it ourselves. But in this industry, especially in such a movement of rapid growth, we all have a tremendous responsibility to foster things that are good by choosing what we will no longer put up with. It has to happen on purpose and it will not happen by accident. And you don’t have to go at it alone….which brings us to the next item:
- Teach, therefore you learn. Teach your athletes to overcome challenges and navigate difficult relationships. That’s what a successful life requires. One day, they’ll have to navigate a difficult boss or co-worker, or use compassion with their family or spouse, or learn humility with a school or business endeavor. When we teach each other love, respect, humility, perseverance, and kindness…we tend to learn and foster that in ourselves, too. What a great way to grow and be on-purpose with our teams and rivals.
- Speaking of rivals… Use some of the world-renowned teams as an example. Here’s what you’ll see with the top-tier teams of the world: They are all fiercely competitive, talented, and they all want to win. They all hate to lose. But in the end, most of them are great friends regardless of the uniform they wear at the moment. They literally sit on sidelines and cheer for each other even when they are in the same division! They hang out together at comps. They genuinely love each other. And even when they don’t know each other, they go out of their way to meet their competitors at events. And even when they have personality differences, they still respect each other. As humans. We’ve seen entire teams give their Worlds bids to other teams. We’ve seen athletes visit sick athletes from other teams, or donate to their cause. This is what this sport is about. Teach this, model this, and emulate this ethos with your teams, regardless of what others are doing outside. Let this character be what you as a programme are known for.
- Not our job. As people, its not our job to judge others. Its our job to meet them exactly where they are and love them how they are. You don’t need to be best friends with everyone, and competition is a great thing…but there is no need to keep feeding the fire of meanness or gossip. Create boundaries, know what you want to be known for, and go build the best version of you. When you do that, you’ll gain deeper relationships with some, and simply move conflicting relationships to merely civil co-existence. But anywhere on that spectrum is ok, as long as you keep building, growing, and purposefully creating your own powerful legacy.
Please, if you know someone who will be fed by this article, pass it on. Or post it. We have a vision for UK Cheer and Dance to be even more amazing than ever. It is easy for us to share a knowledge and expertise with you, but the most joyful thing we can do is share our hearts.
Now, more than ever, we’re cheering you on!
Aly and Andrea, and the entire Team Legacy