Lead Like Nobody’s Watching


Click to watch the video

We’ve all heard the saying, “Dance like nobody’s watching.”  It may resonate a little more with women because they seem to have a natural desire to dance, but I think most men also understand the essence of the expression.

Go for it!  Don’t hold anything back!  Who cares what anybody thinks?!

We can certainly appreciate the commitment behind the adage.  And, I believe we respect the amount of courage it takes to “Dance like nobody’s watching.”; the courage that drives someone to disregard their concern for what people think and do what they have determined to do.  That is a rare quality in a person.  A person like that can change the course of history – or at least change the lives of the people they lead.

I’ve seen a video online of a young woman who videoed herself literally dancing like nobody was watching.  Here is the story behind her video:  she did not get to go home for Christmas and was feeling pretty bummed out.  So, she came up with an idea to get her out of her feelings of self-pity.

She went down to the airport to see people who clearly had the opportunity to travel and be with family over Christmas.  She put on her I-Pod ear buds, cranked up a dancing tune and then started to dance with reckless abandon.

You have to see this to believe it.  Search it out on YouTube, or click on the photo.

She really let it all out.  What is incredible is the lack of response from any of the people at the baggage carousel – they ignore her.  Even when she is crawling on the floor and reaching out to a passerby he completely ignores her.  Crazy.

I wonder what you would have done if you were there?  Would you have caved into the public peer pressure and ignored her too?  I hope you would have watched, cheered her on, and congratulated her for her courage and commitment.  Keep in mind, no one else could hear the music – it was only on her I-Pod.

Remember what Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those could not hear the music.”

I want to live like that.  I want to lead like that.  I want to be free from the fear of “they”.  What would “they” think?  Free from being overly concerned about what people think of me and do what I believe is right.  However, if I truly live like that, if we truly live like that, we need to be willing for some people to think we’re insane.  Sure, some may cheer us on and respect our courage, convictions and commitment, but the majority may very well think we’ve lost it because we’re not like everyone else.

I am sure you are aware there is always an unspoken pressure to be like everyone else, to be ordinary.  When we choose to be extraordinary there is always pressure from others to rein it in, to stop thinking you’re someone special and just be like everyone else.

In fact, I learned a long time ago that the road to our greatest achievements is lined with spectators telling us why it can’t be done.

Years ago Apple had a commercial called “Here’s to the crazy ones.”  It was a tribute to brilliant leaders who were trailblazers, ahead of their time.  In fact, they were so far ahead of their time many thought they were crazy.  However, they continued to lead like nobody was watching and ultimately were hailed as brilliant pioneers.

That largely unspoken pressure to conform, to be like everyone else, is simply fear of the opinion of others.  What will people think if I do that?   You could be labelled as crazy, or you could be hailed as an innovator.

Sure, it’s important to collaborate, to consider the input of others, and draw on wisdom.  And, there comes a time to launch out into the unknown driving forward on your conviction that you see something others may not see; that you hear music others may not hear.

There comes a time to lead like nobody’s watching.

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Leading and Living on Purpose.