Throughout history there have been a number of movements, initiatives, and projects that played an integral role in making the world into what it is today.
Whether they shattered unnecessary boundaries, forged relationships many thought would never be possible, or enabled us to connect with one another like never before, so much has already been done for which we should regularly give thanks.
And at the core of each of these movements there always lies a leader who either invented the now-revolutionary idea or was the one who had the courage necessary to bring it into the public eye.
Despite so many great changes having already been made, we all know that our world is far from perfect. And while certain political, environmental, or spiritual figures may be at the forefront of efforts to instigate bigger level changes many of us would love to see implemented, what about the issues still being swept under the rug?
Are we all expected to stand on a soapbox with a megaphone at a busy intersection? And if so, what about those of us who claim to not have a “leadership” bone in our body?
The good news is, we truly can all make a difference, and that’s why I’ve put together this non-leader’s guide to creating a revolution.
Let me start off by clarifying that when I say revolution, I’m not referring to something as grand as you are likely imagining. To me, a revolution is any change that directly impacts your way of being. If it extends beyond you, awesome. But even if it’s something that solely you experience, it can still be, in my opinion, revolutionary in nature.
So how can we as non-leaders create change?
The answer is quite simple: You must recognize and then embrace the power that comes from being a follower.
To illustrate this, I’d like to reference a 2010 TED Talk given by writer and entrepreneur Derek Sivers, who uses footage of some party-goers at an outdoor event to share an important message.
The video begins with one individual (the leader) dancing on his own on a hill, an action that most of would immediately laugh at or mock. The leader, in true leadership fashion, is seemingly completely unfazed by what others may or may not be thinking of him and his actions. Eventually, the leader is joined by another individual (the first follower), whom he openly embraces.
As more time passes, the pair is joined by a small group, and then another, until eventually the vast majority of attendees are now partaking in what they once saw as embarrassing or foolish.
The question that Derek poses is, who deserves the most credit for creating this movement? Most would answer that it is the courageous leader who danced to his heart’s content despite the risk of ridicule. But the truth is that it is the first follower that instigated the revolution.
It’s the first follower who transformed the leader’s actions from simply being outside of the norm into a movement — a movement that eventually reached a point of critical mass where it became less popular for an attendee not to participate than it would be for them to dance along.
That first follower recognized the potential power that he had within himself and then embraced it by joining in with the cause that he believed in.
We too have that same potential with every change that we would love to see take hold in this world. Rather than seeing yourself as one tiny fish in a massive sea, see yourself as a key player bringing your cause that much closer to a point where it is publicly acknowledged.
Thankfully, the world is blessed with a plethora of leaders and inventors who, more than anything else, are looking for people to believe in their efforts. So if you feel that you aren’t meant to be a leader, or you lack the resources to make that possible, recognize that you’re inherently rich in your ability to empower others.
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