by Todd Walker
John C. Maxwell once said that leadership is influence. Having the position ‘leader’ means nothing. You’re only a leader if people are following you. Otherwise you’re just taking a long walk by yourself.
I’ve been there, done that, and got the lesson I deserved.
Position does not equal leadership. A wise leader must understand that he/she may hold the title of ‘leader’ in an organization, or group, or family – but not be the real leader. If you’re in that scenario, your job is to influence the influencer – their voice gets heard over positional leaders.
When times are rosy, this principle applies. After the SHTF, leadership becomes even more important.
I’ve read leadership styles promoted within the prepper community. Many have said that it’s crucial that one person take control of their retreat group or prepping community. No ruling by committee. A single leader needs to micro manage everything.
The problem I have with this model is – what if that person is not the influencer? Force and coercion would be needed to make followers follow.
Pride in position blurs a leader’s vision. Misguided assumption #1 – I’m the appointed ‘leader’ so people should follow. If they don’t, I’ll make them. That’s coercion, pure and simple. A leader is a leader when people voluntarily follow. Swallowing your pride is the first step to being an effective leader.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
We’ve all seen real life examples of top down leadership. Dictates come from the top and everyone below is expected to jump. Our military, corporate world, schools, churches, and even our government are models of this centralized system of control. Fear of reprisal keeps followers following. Forced association wins.
I have more questions than answers on leadership. Is our present model the cause of the mess we’re in now? Why do we need to be told what to do, what to think, and how to act? Can individuals practicing self-ownership thrive in a group? Who owns you? Can we really self-govern? Why do we clammer for a “leader?”
What I’ve unlearned from school history class (this has taken a lifetime) is that individual initiative is far superior to listening to dictates from a Dear Leader. Schools teach compliance. So does organized religion along with all the previously mentioned institutions.
Here’s a way to determine your follow-ability. Try this the next time you’re in a church service. When it comes time to bow your head, close your eyes, and pray, do the opposite. Keep you eyes open and look around while you pray. Pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel defiant? Does it seem ‘wrong’? Does God really care if you pray with your eyes open – in a church service?
Did you feel a creepy uneasiness crawl up you legs and spine? If so, ask yourself why? This doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s just a simple test to determine the level of your programming. To what degree do you feel programmed to comply?
Here’s another experiment. When they pass out the donation card during a job luncheon or faculty meeting to raise money for the United Way or Relay for Life or other charity, to give your company or school bragging rights for meeting the fundraising goal – sign the card and write why you are not giving across the top of the card. Don’t give because you’re expected to give. If you choose to give, give anonymously where no one can give you credit. It saves a lot of chest thumping.
Not participating in this public display of giving may have made you uneasy. Why? The unease is planted in you by the collective to influence you to “fill in the blank” and comply. The goal is to destroy your ability to provide for yourself and your family.
You might be shocked to find one or two others that don’t participate in compliance rituals. You’ve just discovered that some people reject mass compliance and think for themselves. Connect with these people. They are unconventional, independent thinkers, and good influencers.
Finding your influencers
Below I’ve compiled a list of non-compliant influencers that have helped me on my journey to self-sufficiency, liberty, and freedom.
Lew Rockwell – The most viewed libertarian site on the planet. Coming from a lifetime R voter, I highly recommend you read this site at least once a week. Daily is better.
Mark Sisson – The godfather of the primal/paleo lifestyle movement. He changed my lifestyle and attitude towards food, personal responsibility, and primal prepping.
John Taylor Gatto – He’s responsible for confirming what I’ve always thought about our public school system. Whether you like schooling or not, you’ll enjoy his poetic skill with words.
James Wesley Rawles – I discovered SurvivalBlog 6 years ago and have applied many concepts from his blog and books – even though I’m not moving to an unknown Western state.
Durable Faith – DF is someone I respect highly for his lifestyle of no-compromise and his pursuit to wake up the institutional church. He’s the guy you’d see ramming a whaling ship with a dingy if he was in GreenPeace.
Daisy Luther – A frequent contributor to this blog, Daisy is an activist prepper I hold in high regard. Love her style!
Claire Wolfe – Not only great at preparedness stuff, she’s Freedom Outlaw worth your time.
Gaye Levy – Practical prepping advice without all the hype.
Brain Clark is responsible for waking me up to the realization that there really is no box to get outside of. He’s the founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media. While I don’t advertise on my site, I’ve found his copywriting principles have improved my writing – at least in my mind.
You – my Sherpa community
Dirt Road Girl – I saved her for last. She inspires me. Y’all should see her write. Maybe she’ll listen to your request to share stuff on this blog. I’m still trying to convince her to start posting here.
Your turn. Who has influenced your lifestyle of preparedness, self-reliance, and liberty? Please let us know in the comments.
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I’ll second Lew Rockwell, JWR and Mark Sisson. John Holt’s Learning All the Time was a HUGE influence in helping me to jump with wild abandon into unschooling. I’m reading a very fascinating book right now called Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes. Have you read it? If not, you should. It’s no light read. I’ll probably buy this one.
I found Mark Sisson from Lew Rockwell’s blog. Thank goodness. Hubby and I needed to find Mark Sisson’s blog 🙂