Writings: Leadership lessons from dancing guy

Derek Sivers
Derek Sivers

This is drawn from Derek Sivers’ website, with permission:

If you’ve learned a lot about leadership and making a movement, then let’s watch a movement (click on the video below) happen, start to finish, in under 3 minutes, and dissect some lessons:

A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he’s doing is so simple, it’s almost instructional. This is key. You must be easy to follow!

Now comes the first follower with a crucial role: he publicly shows everyone how to follow. Notice the leader embraces him as an equal, so it’s not about the leader anymore – it’s about them, plural. Notice he’s calling to his friends to join in. It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.

The 2nd follower is a turning point: it’s proof the first has done well. Now it’s not a lone nut, and it’s not two nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.

A movement must be public. Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers, because new followers emulate followers – not the leader.

Now here come 2 more, then 3 more. Now we’ve got momentum. This is the tipping point! Now we’ve got a movement!

As more people jump in, it’s no longer risky. If they were on the fence before, there’s no reason not to join now. They won’t be ridiculed, they won’t stand out, and they will be part of the in-crowd, if they hurry. Over the next minute you’ll see the rest who prefer to be part of the crowd, because eventually they’d be ridiculed for not joining.

And ladies and gentlemen that is how a movement is made! Let’s recap what we learned:

If you are a version of the shirtless dancing guy, all alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.

Be public. Be easy to follow!

But the biggest lesson here – did you catch it?

Leadership is over-glorified.

Yes it started with the shirtless guy, and he’ll get all the credit, but you saw what really happened:

It was the first follower that transformed a lone nut into a leader.

There is no movement without the first follower.

We’re told we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective.

The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.

When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.

Poetry: Good morning, starshine….

On the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria this morning at sunrise, as dreams wove into the fog across the water....photo by Ian Byington.
On the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria this morning at sunrise, as dreams wove into the fog across the water….photo by Ian Byington.

i thank you god for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings

Thoughts: Where peace begins…

Coming together on a sea of change...looking over the ocean from the westside of San Juan Island, Washington State, across from Victoria, British Columbia....photo by Ian Byington
Coming together on a sea of change…looking over the ocean from the westside of San Juan Island, Washington State, across from Victoria, British Columbia….photo by Ian Byington

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

~ Lao Tse ~

Thoughts: Sharing & leaving the police out of it….

This is a little story from the Wake Up Project,that my friend Elaine passed on to me & you.

What would you have done?


Jessica Eaves from Guthrie, Oklahoma (USA) recently had her wallet stolen by a man while she was grocery shopping. Most people in that situation would immediately get the authorities involved, but she found a way to resolve her problem herself.

“I saw this gentleman down the aisle from me,” Jessica tells us. “He walked behind me, and when I got a couple of aisles over, I realized my wallet was gone.”

“I spotted him in a crowded aisle and approached him,” she continues. “I’m a pretty out-there personality, but I was quiet and calm.”

“I said to him, ‘I think you have something of mine. I’m gonna give you a choice. You can either give me my wallet and I’ll forgive you right now, and I’ll even take you to the front and pay for your groceries.”

The alternative? Jessica reporting him to the police.

“He reached into his hoodie pocket and gave me my wallet,” she recalls, adding that the man was extremely grateful for her help and forgiveness.

“He started crying when we walked up to the front,” she says. “He said he was sorry about 20 times by the time we went from the pickle aisle to the front. He told me he was desperate.”

She spent $27 on his groceries, which included milk, bread, bologna, crackers, soup and cheese. “The last thing he said was, ‘I’ll never forget tonight. I’m broke, I have kids, I’m embarrassed and I’m sorry.'”

“Some people are critical because I didn’t turn him in, but sometimes all you need is a second chance,” says Jessica.

She adds, “My brother and I lost my dad to suicide when I was seven, and I remember him telling me years ago that no matter what I become in life, to always, always be kind.”

~ Source: Yahoo News

Thoughts: Gratitude, living in the country….

Webmaster....photo by Peggy Sue McRae
Webmaster….photo by Peggy Sue McRae

My good friend Mary Wondra lives near the village on Lopez Island, and has a keen eye for the subtle & the sublime. She posted this little observation about how the inside of what makes it autumn sometimes shows on the outside:

Had a lovely Lopez moment this morning. Sitting on the porch with my sweetie, drinking coffee, doing the x-word puzzle. It’s spider season, so there are webs EVERYWHERE on the vegetation, catching the early slanting sun on their dewy designs. In the apple tree, a spider drowsing in its web when suddenly, another spider appears and shakes one of the connecting strands.

The sleepy spider awakes and heads out to protect his/her home. Thus ensues spider wrestling, name calling, etc. while the two contend for mastery of the early morning construction. We watched for 20 minutes – no clear winner.

But I thought, wow, if I lived in the city, I would never have noticed this momentous battle going on. I’m grateful to be here this morning.

Thoughts: Exploring vulnerabilty, with Brene Brown

This is one of the more influential TED talks I’ve seen, with more people responding to it when I’ve posted it than any other.

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

Thoughts: Morning really has broken….

The sunrise yesterday morning over Chattanooga, Tennessee in the States....that's the gold of morning separating the blue sky above & the foggy, low clouds below, from an early hike on Lookout Mountain. Photo by Ian Byington.
The sunrise yesterday morning over Chattanooga, Tennessee in the States….that’s the gold of morning separating the blue sky above & the foggy, low clouds below, from an early hike on Lookout Mountain. Photo by Ian Byington.

The morning, most days, is so beautiful that it’s really a good thing that it fades into the clear day….otherwise we wouldn’t get anything done! The morning’s colours fade, easily & gently, into that special place in our hearts where the embers warm us, through the morning hours & the rest of the day.

Robert Frost says, “Nothing gold can stay,” but I think that’s true only on the morning’s horizon. The gold of remembered dreams, the golden fire of waking to the magic we can do in the world, and the blaze that accompanies our burning desire to share & to heal each day – these never go out.

Here’s a little morning song for you from the Incredible String Band (click here to hear, you hear?)

May the longtime sun shine upon  you
All love surround you
And the pure white light within you
Guide your way home.

 – Brother Ian

Thoughts: Stay in touch….

When was the last time you actually touched the person to whom you said, “Hey, stay in touch!”

I think it was Bob Hope who said, “People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy.”

Here’s a little two minute essay, telling the story: