A Non-Leaders Guide to Creating a Revolution

Throughout history there have been a number of movements, initiatives, and projects that have all 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 they enabled us to connect with one another like never before, there is so much that has already been done that we should all regularly be thankful for.

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 expressed 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 a finished product. And while certain political, environmental, or spiritual figures may be at the forefront of efforts to instigate certain bigger level changes many of us would love to see implemented, what about the issues that are metaphorically 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, that we truly can all make a difference, and that’s why I’ve put together this non-leaders guide to creating a revolution.

Let me start off by clarifying that when I say revolution I’m not referring to something quite 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, by first recognizing and then embracing the power that comes from being a follower.

To illustrate this, I’d like to reference a 2010 TED Talk done by writer and entrepreneur Derek Sivers. Within the talk, Derek uses some surprising footage of some party-goers at an outdoor event.

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) who he openly embraces and teaches his ways to.

As more time passes, the now 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 non-sensical.

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 him 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 implemented 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, that 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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