We Weren’t Born To Follow

Confession: I’m a die-hard rocker. I grew up on rock and roll, and feel lucky that the music of my youth still fills me with as much hope and adventure as it did when it was created.

Bon Jovi is one of my all time favorite bands, and that’s because Jon Bon Jovi expresses such authenticity when he sings. Last year, they released the video “We Weren’t Born To Follow.” I recommend buying it on iTunes and watching it daily; it will wake you up like it did me.

It showed me that the people who do it differently — Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah, Ghandi, Einstein, Nelsen Mandala, and Steve Jobs, for example — are the ones who change the world. And because they were brave enough to do it their way and stand for something bigger, they boosted us all up. They showed us we don’t have to follow a template in order to be great, realize our dreams or run a successful business.

The template approach to business and getting ahead is dying off. Let me clarify: I think learning what works is wonderful and we all need models to get started. But what doesn’t work is following examples so closely we forget our creative force and source of passion in the process. It’s about waking up to our individual path and not misusing a shortcut to bypass our spiritual growth.

For me, the less I am exposed to other people’s models and styles, the more my own innovate thinking comes alive. And that is what I was paid most handsomely for!

I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities that emerge from sourcing new business creativity. It’s time all of us design our businesses and careers holistically, based on a divine blueprint that customizes basic business principles and produces miraculous results.

A unique blueprint is essential to having a soul-satisfying and lucrative business or career.

Personally, I think Steve Jobs is one of the most memorable business icons — business leaders — of our time. He did it his own way. He always followed his intuition and, as a result, invented streamlined ways to use technology to enhance the quality of our lives. He was a revolutionary thinker who had the guts to ask the question: “Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?”

If we weren’t born to follow, then the question that naturally follows is: how can we lead? How can we use our careers or businesses to enhance the lives of others? How can we create positive change? How can we make the world a better place?

Let us all commit to finding answers and inventing new ways to serve more generously. And let’s decide that the only thing to follow is our hearts.

Here is what has made the difference for me and what I know to be true about being a leader:

1. Leading starts with showing our true selves. When I realized I was trying so hard to fit in and be accepted by my co-workers and bosses by conforming to their ideals, I felt like a fraud. That fake front was actually off-putting and they didn’t quite trust me because they couldn’t tell who I really was. I was broadcasting a signal that indicated something was off, so they kept their distance. If people don’t trust us, we certainly cannot influence new ways of thinking and present our ideas authentically. Ask yourself: are you being your real self with your customers, clients, bosses and co-workers? What would be different if you were your true self?

2. Removing the fake front allows revolutionary thinking to channel through us. When I recognized I had something to say and stopped speaking my truth through the mouth of the mask, I was heard. The mask we wear to try and fit in, not only covers up our true self, it also blocks the flow of revolutionary thinking. What idea or vision have you been quiet about because you were afraid of being ostracized or standing out? How could you thoughtfully introduce your idea into your world and enroll others in the vision gaining support for it?

3. Acting on revolutionary thinking proves its value and makes skeptics believe. The day I stopped playing small and faking my way through Corporate America was the day my sales results exploded. And so did my career. CEO’s and high-level VP’s kept pulling me into their offices and asking me what my secret to success was. They wanted to replicate it and empower the whole team to become peak performers like me. I politely laughed at them and said; “you can’t, you cannot clone me and I don’t think and act like everyone else”. While they didn’t like my answer, they watched me outperform industry standards repeatedly, generate huge sales numbers and produce miraculous results with my customers. My revolutionary way of making sales showed them a new way of doing business honorably.

How can you take action on your revolutionary thinking and make a difference? How could being your true self produce miracles for you and others?

What has made the difference for you? Let’s empower each other — join the conversation below.

About the Author

author image

Julie Steelman has generated more than $100 million in sales during her 30-year sales career using her unique "heart-based" selling approach. She is the author of a new book, The Effortless Yes: Get the Sales You Want and Make All You'll Ever Need (Franklin-Green Publishing, 2011), featuring a 7-step approach that helps sales-averse entrepreneurs create profits by learning a new way to sell that's pleasurable and easy.

Read more from Julie Steelman

Sign Up for MariaShriver.com's Weekly Must-Read

More Posts from Architects of Change