Adelie Penguins Diving into Water (Composite)Im not sure what age I was, but I distinctly remember my mom asking me a very important question. She asked, “If so and so (insert friends name here) jumped off a bridge would you do it too”?

I remember wondering if my mom thought I was crazy before I quickly answered no. What I didn’t realize (until after my answer) was that my mom was giving me my first lesson in being a leader.

It’s really hard (especially at a young age) to tell the difference between following and leading. Most followers don’t know that they are one. After that talk I always wanted to lead. I didn’t want to be Data from the Goonies I wanted to be Mikey. (If you don’t know the reference we are not friends anymore) But back then I wasn’t sure what leadership was. It wasn’t getting a bunch of friends together and trying to find a buried treasure.

The reason there are so few leaders is become no one wants to do what’s in the job description. To be a leader you have to be willing to do the dirty work. That could be anything from giving constructive criticism to a sensitive coworker to doing that extra lap with the kid that thinks he cant take another step.

In contrast being a follower takes zero effort. Its comfortable, its safe, you’re on a road with millions of other cars. Leaders are sometimes traveling on a road all by themselves. Everyone took a right at the fork in the road but something told them to go left. Their decisions might be laughed at or criticized by the sheep, but lions don’t fret over the opinions of sheep and that’s what leaders are.

You cant live your dreams through other people’s actions. Which basically means to make your dream a reality you have to be the one calling the shots in your life, no one else. I love this picture because the follower penguins have no idea what their diving into, and that’s exactly how it is in our lives. We follow blindly without asking a very important question, why am I about to jump off this bridge? Lead my friends and jump when you want to not because you feel you have to.