Leaders and followers

When it comes to trends, movements and change there are leaders and there are followers.

There are people that go around regularly talking about something, doing something or wearing something, to the point where that they become known for that one specific thing. Then on the other hand there are followers, those that have to see it done before they choose to do it.

There is often a negative connotation of being a follower. It’s often associated with someone that is weak minded or perhaps does not have a strong sense of self. But what I rarely see discussed is the positive impacts of people following when it is in support of a good cause.

For example, if someone is campaigning for better working conditions, it’s not much use if there is only one person willing to stand up for the cause. If there is only one person then change is much less likely. The followers are a necessary part of making things happen.

Campaigning for better working conditions might not be your idea or perhaps you didn’t have the courage to lead. But that shouldn’t stop you from joining in and being a part of it.

“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.”

Idowu Koyenikan

Self help

Perhaps when you were young, someone taught you that when you feel overwhelmed, step away and give yourself a moment.

Maybe you grew up practising that and maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t you might find that as an adult when you feel overwhelmed you don’t quite know how to handle it.

The feeling might end up growing and growing to the point where it’s now unbearable. Then all of a sudden you remember that in the past it helped to give yourself a moment.

Even though you know it could help, you don’t do it straight away because you’re almost skeptical. It might not work, you might end up feeling exactly the same.

But then you do it, you step away, get some fresh air and take a few deep breaths.

It helps.

You feel calmer afterwards.

In that moment you remember that (even though you forget time and time again), you’re capable of supporting yourself in difficult or uncomfortable situations.

Don’t just talk to anyone

I think I’ve used the phrase talking helps at least half a dozen times on this site (turns out I was exactly spot on as shown below).

Talking helps

Making a breakthrough

Worth seeking advice from

Managing stress and deadlines

When you don’t have anyone to talk to

Unexpected but needed

I say it because that’s what has works for me and like everything I share here it comes from my experience. If this was around 3 or 4 years ago things would have been very different. Back then, I wasn’t talking about the challenges that I was facing or things that I struggled with because I didn’t know how.

Plus, at the time I didn’t think that talking would help.

But I also think a lot of people forget to mention that it’s more than just talking to anyone.

For example, the person that is feeling suicidal might not to find much solace in talking to their friends. Their friends aren’t equipped or trained to help in that kind of situation.  Friends not knowing what to say doesn’t make them bad people.

Instead they might find it more helpful to talk to a professional, someone with training or someone who can relate to their experience.

Further to that, think about you want the outcome from talking to be. Of course there’s no magic fix but if you just want someone to listen and leave you feeling hopeful, talking to the person that will just dismiss your issues probably isn’t the best idea.

And if you don’t have anyone to talk to, that’s okay too.

If you live in the UK or Ireland call Samaritans on 116 123.

For anyone else the country you live in probably has a helpline you can call too.

Boosting morale and feeling connected

Through challenging times it’s always helpful to find ways of boosting morale.

A common way of doing this is through bringing people together.

Very little compares to the feeling of people being united for a common cause. When that cause is gratitude, it really can help people feel connected to each other.

Right now a lot of people are becoming aware of the contributions that particular people make in society.

Despite everything that is going on there is this sense of ‘things aren’t particularly great right now but there are people showing up everyday that are helping to make things a little bit better or easier and I’m grateful for it‘.

I think just knowing that there are people showing up even though it’s difficult is enough to make us all feel a little bit better.

 

The opportunity to be supported

So often, we’re afraid to be vulnerable and let people know where we’re at. In doing that you miss out on the opportunity to be supported by people that care.

What often ends up happening is you feel frustrated that there is no one to support you, not realising that you haven’t even given them a chance.

The best way to break this habit is to be more open when talking to the people that you know you can trust. Instead of having those Hey, how’s it going? Yeah, good thanks, you? types of conversations make the effort to be a little more vulnerable.

It might feel strange at first but when you talk to the right people they’ll listen to you and show support which is sometimes all you need. Your act of bravery might have a knock on effect because often you find that the other person will start to open up more too.

When thank you isn’t enough

Sometimes people have no idea of the role they’ve played in our lives but maybe that’s how it was meant to be.

I hold the belief that you meet people for specific reasons. Often people come into our lives to serve as reminders of things that we’ve forgotten.

And when you eventually remember you are so thankful to these people even if you aren’t aware of the purpose they came into your life to serve.

You’re thankful because they cared, extended kindness, listened to you, supported you, helped you grow into yourself etc.

Yet, thank you isn’t quite enough and you might end up trying to find some way that you can repay this person that has helped transform you (and therefore your whole life) but it probably won’t be possible.

And that right there is the gem, sometimes a persons kindness and generosity isn’t given to be returned, it’s given because that person has chosen to give it. You’re not indebted to them or obligated to return anything.

Yes, show gratitude  but also to do something with what you’ve been given. Maybe that kindness/generosity was to encourage you to try new things, get you out of your shell, remind you that it’s okay to be yourself and so on.

The feeling can get quite overwhelming (in a good way) but it’s worth remembering that in these particular special occasions it’s not about the giver, it’s about what you do with what you’ve been given.

Acknowledgments

Growing up I don’t think I ever read the acknowledgements of many books.

I suppose, I probably just thought that’s nothing to do with me, it’s for the people being acknowledged.

But recently I started thinking about who I’d acknowledge if I ever wrote a book and it was quite fun.

I sat and asked myself who in my life has helped, supported or contributed to where I’m at. Those are the people I’d give a shout out to in my book.

I think most of us have people in our lives that have taught us things, sometimes even by accident but they’ve helped shape us.

For me those are people worth acknowledging.