I recently participated in an interesting internal debate: follow or be followed.
This is an eternal question that has been haunting me for years about various situations in my life. I guess that everything started when I was a kid. Believe it or not but that kick-ass ballsy Mike that you know was a chubby, timid (read reject) in elementary school! At that time, all I wanted to do is follow and even then, I was pushed away. Not only was I not cool enough to be followed; I wasn’t even cool enough to have the right to follow!
Fast forward to high school, I was then the king of the hill. I had the chance to move to another city and started to do some sports. By my 2nd year, I was in with the “cool people” (who determine who’s cool and who’s not). This didn’t last long. I didn’t feel right. In fact, I got bored very fast by my high school fame. This is exactly the moment I remember I grew balls for the first time and decided to do whatever I want, whenever I want and to never look back to see what others think about me.
But the fact that I was able to act individually and never wanted to create, be part of or actively follow a group doesn’t mean that I don’t ask myself this fatal question all the time. I’m sure you do it too; we all do. Some people need to follow others to feel right while others crave to be followed. Both groups are okay as long as you are feeling right with it. The weird thing is that we all feel that we have to be part of the followed or the follower. This is because we have been raised to believe that we are either a leader or a follower. We are not always leaders and we are not always followers. Depending on the situation, we ask ourselves which one we want to be. Depending on the timing and our feelings, we can go in either group.
I’m part of the third group: those who just do what they do. Sometimes I get followed, sometimes I happen to follow but there is a huge difference between being part of these 2 groups: I just do what I want to do regardless what people say or think about me. If everybody is turning right and I was about to turn right; I’ll just continue walking towards the same direction. But if someone in the group says we should turn left at the last minute, I will continue on my way regardless if people change their minds. This is the difference with being part of the third group.
Last week, I announced that I bought Fabulously Broke. If you don’t know this site; it’s an awesome blog that was written by a strong woman. There is a great community following the former FB author. After announcing that I just bought the site last Monday morning, I received a few comments from disappointed readers. I really felt that FB was loved and followed as a blogger.
I was rehearsing these comments in my head during the whole day. As the day wore on, I had even more thoughts to play with. Some of them were pretty enthusiastic but others were pretty discouraged (like “I will stop following this blog today”). This is when my brain asked me:
Mike, do you want to follow or be followed?
The very first reflex I had was to rewind my life back to the age of 9 and just hoped that some FB readers would take pity and follow me. Or at least, that they would let me follow them, write what they want to read and become their obedient mascot. This is probably an automatic defense mechanism that starts each time I face a stressful situation. The leader in me thought: “I can spend a few nights reading more FB stuff and try to copycat her style so people would continue to love the blog”. That sounded like a plan, until… my kick-ass ballsy inner ME got back to life.
This is completely stupid to try to be followed or to follow by being someone else. First, people are pretty good at calling BS. Second, if you ever succeed, you will be the one that feels mediocre about it.
Do you like feeling mediocre? I certainly don’t like it! And this is why I’ve decided to just keep with my own vision and write whatever I feel like writing on FB. One of the reasons to buy this blog is that I was missing writing about personal finance topics. TFB has become an entrepreneur blog by nature but I really enjoy financial topics too. FB is the perfect place for me to continue to do so.
So, once again, I’ve decided to be part of the third group and do whatever I want, whenever I want. I know that some people will stop following FB, others will continue and new readers will come onboard too.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever thought that you need to choose a side, to define yourself as a follower or a leader?
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