Lessons from dancing girl

I wrote a while back about lessons we can learn from a dancing guy. At a concert last night, I was thinking about lessons I could learn from a (crazy) dancing girl.

I’ll set the scene for you. I am with my wife and two other friends at a local venue to see Mumford and Sons. (aside: they put on a great show and I would highly recommend seeing them). Everyone is having a good time, doing the normal concert stuff. Everyone but this girl in the row in front of us. She is dancing (slightly offbeat – someone told me, I would never have known) like we’re at a Widespread Panic concert. Hands are in the air with movement resembling a mild seizure.

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons (Photo credit: staceymk11)

She obviously didn’t care what others thought of her dancing and I am guessing that pretty much everyone within a few rows thought something. So where am I headed with this?

Do I want to be a distraction. An uncoordinated, unskilled distraction to a perfectly fine concert? Not at all. But I do want to be different. And I want to be un-phased if onlookers within “two rows” of my life are chatting about what I’m up to – it doesn’t matter to me.

If my life looks like a amalgamation of eight different sets of feedback I’ve gotten on my latest mistake, then I am doing something wrong. Don’t try to please everyone.

There should be something unique about all of us. I believes is part of what makes us human. But let your uniqueness be in what you do.

Sadly, it’s somewhat unique to care about others more than yourself. It’s unique to take a risk corporately. It’s unique to pursue endeavors the rest of the world might view as impractical.


First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

I heard of this video from the brilliant Anna Love-Mickelson. It struck a chord with me, because reminds me a lot of what I am trying to do with design thinking at Protective Life. Sometimes, I feel like this shirtless guy dancing. (I kept my shirt on when we did the Harlem Shake). But much of the time, I feel like there is a movement afoot and there are lots of “first followers” that have surrounded me.

I love these lines in the video:

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.