The other day during my commute to the office, one of my favorite songs came on the radio. The song is “Life’s a Dance” by John Michael Montgomery. The whole song is full of life truths, but the chorus is what really sticks out to me every time.
“Life’s a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don’t worry about what you don’t know
Life’s a dance you learn as you go”
There was a time earlier in my career that I had an advancement opportunity. I passed that opportunity up, despite what my peers and supervisors were telling me. Why? I was full of fear and afraid that if I got the promotion that I’d be in this new role, and that I wouldn’t have a good grasp on what I was doing. As much as they tried to persuade me to just go for it, I didn’t budge.
“You learn as you go”
This is what I kept hearing. And they were right, all I had to do was take that step. But fear was stronger than persuasion. Despite the years that have gone by since then, those voices still replay in my head when I forget this simple lesson. Moreover, what’s more remarkable is that those words didn’t only come from a superior, but also from peers and juniors as well.
That is the strength of influence. You don’t have to be the senior person to positively effect someone’s life. And you just never know who you will end up following.
As it would turn out, that profession wasn’t in God’s plan for me anyhow. I ended up switching professions and now I am doing something I truly enjoy, thanks to the blunt advice of a great friend.
“Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow”
When you begin your leadership journey, you start out as the caboose, following those leaders ahead of you who make it their purpose to bring you up. You gain knowledge, impart your knowledge, then learn some more. In order to gain enough influence to lead, you must first be a good follower.
Every good leader was at first a good follower. [Tweet that!]
It doesn’t stop there. There is no final destination. You never really arrive. That’s why your path to success in leadership and life is a journey. It doesn’t end. You may find yourself in another situation then realize the skillset you currently hold isn’t suited for that part in your life. Here you stand, a follower, looking to gain insight from another great leader.
Is there someone in your life that has positively impacted you when you least expected it? You can leave your comment below.