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Follow the Leader

Let us start by painting the proper picture.

You're in elementary school and it is time to get ready for playground...

Or lunch...

Or music class...

Or any of the other classes we used to go to back then.

As you straighten your papers, and put your pens and pencils into your desk, you look to the chalkboard and realize that you are the chosen one...

It is your turn to lead the class down the hallway and you are mortified.

It's not that you don't know where you are's simply the responsibility of having to walk down the entire hallway with everyone following you that makes you uncomfortable.

What will they say?  What conversations are your classmates having behind you?  What if there is something on your back that you can't see?

So many questions, yet one question runs through your head more than any other...

Why can't I just follow behind someone else?

Maybe this particular feeling is one that only I felt, but I think the underlying premise can be understood by many.

It is much easier to follow the path that someone has paved for you, as opposed to creating the path yourself.

Even if you are aware of the destination, there are still going to be uncertainties on this quest.  With that said, these uncertainties are not specific to just the leader, and can also be shared by those following.

So what separates the leaders from the followers? 


Those who are put in a position to lead have certain responsibilities that can be difficult or scary to deal with.  Sometimes, those fears lead us to shy away from the opportunity and question why are we in that position in the first place.

On the flip side, opportunities to lead are great teaching moments that can bring the best out of you.  You never really know your full potential until you are put in a situation where you have to make decisions for you and/or a group.  Embrace the opportunities because you will grow from it.

Coupled with a quote from the honorable emcee Rakim, "self-esteem makes me super, superb, supreme" (Follow The Leader, 1988), being a leader can be empowering.  Anything presented to you is something that you are capable of doing and worth trying.  Don't forget that.

As a big headed elementary school kid, I did not completely understand why I ever had to lead my classmates anywhere.  As I grew into my head, I've come to realize that those days as a line leader had a purpose.  I was going to the same place as every other kid was anyways; why not just swallow my pride (or fear, depending on how you'd like to describe it) and lead the way.  The benefits have been rewarding.

As our age increases, we will find that leading isn't exclusive to lines in the hallway.  Typically in 'adulthood', it's almost never in a line. It could be in the office, during a presentation, or even picking dinner with your friends.  You never know when you will be called upon.  Don't be afraid to lead the way.  There is a reason why you were picked to take on those responsibilities. 

In those moments where our leadership is requested, give it your best effort.  Lead by example and with integrity.  Show that amidst the uncertainties, you can build up the courage, and be a leader.  Inspire others by your work, because you never know who is following.

Do a service for them, and for yourself as well.

Until next time,

Long Live The People

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