First Followers

Leaders are important, but the first people to follow a leader are just as crucial.

Derek Sivers popularized this idea in his TED talk "How to Start a Movement," which features the following video clip:

In the video, a lone individual starts dancing. It's a little weird at first, because no one else seems to even acknowledge that there's music playing.

But pretty soon, someone else joins in. All of a sudden, the original dancer has credibility โ€“ they have a follower signalling to everyone else that it's OK to join in!

If you can't inspire anyone to follow you, it's hard to be a leader, and this is what makes those first followers so essential.

Over the course of the video, more and more people start joining in the dance until soon, it's almost weirder to not be dancing.

And so, a movement is born.

Each of us has the capacity to lead, if we choose. It's an act of courage โ€“ย of embracing the vulnerability that arises when you take a risk.

And if you see someone who has boldly taken that first step in a direction you agree with, you can recognize their bravery by being the first to follow.


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