Cherish Your Champions

This week is Thanksgiving, and we’ll all be taking stock of the many things we have to be thankful for. For those of us who love Claire Dalrymple Watkins, this week will also mark one year since we lost this magnificent young woman to breast cancer. But this post isn’t about that. I could think of no better way to honor Claire, and simultaneously observe Thanksgiving, than to talk about how grateful I am that she was always one of my biggest champions.

We all need champions. If there's anyone who doesn't experience moments of insecurity, I haven't met them. Each of us have demons that make us wonder: Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? What if I can't do it? In those moments, there's only one thing to do: seek out your champions.

And by champion, I don’t mean someone who tells you what you want to hear. Instead, a champion is the person who tells you what you need to hear. Sometimes forcefully. Most of us have these people in our lives. An ally who give us a prodding when we need it (or sometimes a swift kick in the derrière), but who also feels passionately about our unlimited potential and what we’re capable of, and will tell us so emphatically and without reservation.

Claire knew how to be blunt – and the fact that she doled out the whole truth, coupled with her joie de vivre, inspired others to follow. She was a champion not just to me, but to many. It’s no coincidence that this champion was one of those people who did things the rest of us think about doing, but worry we can’t pull off. She wore hats. She ran half-marathons. She had a well-organized gift-wrapping station, knew how to bake complicated cookie recipes, and was the artisan behind truly inspired jewelry designs. But most of all Claire put her family far above everything else in life, and her friends were part of her extended family. Even now that she’s gone, I sometimes hear Claire’s voice in my head, urging me forward.

So when that devil on your shoulder is trying to have his way with you, telling you not to try new things, declaring that you should settle for the status quo because you’re never going to do better, don’t hesitate! Call up one of your champions immediately to get a pep talk (and a little dose of tough love, if needed).

And then give thanks for that person, and and cherish what they bring to your life.