The Power of Following Before You Lead

I don’t like following, never have.

Other peoples’ rules and procedures and constraints and processes often don’t sit quite right with me.

I prefer to take my own path, follow my own rules.

It’s why I was the “Lemonade Stand Kid” in my neighborhood—I wanted my own money, own responsibility. It’s why I’ve been an entrepreneur the better part of my adult life. I enjoy figuring things out on my own, then leading rather than being led by others.

But what I’ve discovered as I’ve gotten older is there are very real, very important lessons to be learned from being led by others, before you step in to lead yourself.

Maybe my biggest awakening to the power of following before you lead came when I was rock climbing with a few partners in Rocky Mountain National Park, and various other destinations in Colorado. As the relative newbie in our group, I spent the entire time following my guide’s lead.

During the entire weeklong climbing adventure, I never once led a pitch (a ropes length of the climb that was many rope’s lengths high). Those days, however, taught me more about how to eventually lead than almost any other experience. And, my classroom came with a 20-mile view and life-and-death terms.

That’s what we’re exploring in today’s short and sweet Good Life Project Riff.

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