If the phrase ‘mat talk’ means nothing to you, it’s time to watch Cheer on Netflix. This week, we sat down with the fearless leader of Navarro College Cheerleading, Coach Monica aka the Queen. She’s been successfully coaching Navarro for almost 25 years. And she has 14 national championships under her belt. And we want her to run our lives.
We’ve skimm’d a few moments from our conversation with Monica Aldama.
On Deciding To Go To School
Danielle: A lot of people that are listening to this, and a lot of people in our audience, think about the decision of, "Do I go to grad school? Do I get an MBA?", knowing that they might not know what they want to do with it. How do you think about your decision to get an MBA now?
Monica: I'm very happy about getting my MBA. I tell these kids all the time, you know, before you have too many responsibilities, go ahead and finish school. Because you may or may not need it. You don't have to have a degree to be successful. There are plenty of people that do incredible things that don't have a degree. But what if that one job you want, the minimum requirement is the degree?
On Her Management Style
Danielle: I want to get into your management style. You talk a lot, and it's clear from the way that the kids react to you, that you set expectations. How do you actually do that? When someone's on your team, do you give them a list? I think a hard thing for newer managers, or even for us, is how do you set expectations and then how do you hold people to them?
Monica: Well, you know, we have a big talk at the beginning of the year about expectations and what those are… at some point, you're probably gonna be held responsible for other people's actions. And you need to be accountable for yourself so you're not the person that, you know, makes people run [sprints] or messes up in a job or whatever.
On Setting Professional Boundaries
Carly: The thing that I just keep coming back to is: how do you balance caring so much about these kids, and so many of these kids have just really come through hardship and tough times, and are amazing survivors in however you define that for each of their journeys. How do you set limits? When I was watching the show, I was like, how do you not try to become a mother to each of these kids? And how do you not do that year over year over year?
Monica: I have to separate the coaching part and the nurturing part… You know just to separate the feelings of "I'm gonna break this kid's heart because I'm not gonna put him on mat. And I love this kid more than anything. And I know what they've overcome." So you think about that. But you know that they don't have the skills that this other person does. And that's where it really, you know, pulls at your heartstrings. And that's where I have to [say], like, "Okay Monica, you can do this. It's fine. Just separate it, just separate it, just separate it."
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