Wait a sec. Holster your finger there, buster.
LET ME ASK YA THIS: Have you considered the possibility that you’re not a followable person?
Ouch. Maybe that’s the real problem.
HERE’S THE REALITY: Whatever leadership role you hold – teacher, boss, blogger, tweeter, pastor or parent – being approachable is about increasing the probability that people will follow you.
And by “follow you” I mean that people will listen TO, learn FROM and be inspired BY you.
Here are six ways to become more followable TODAY:
1. Help people fall in love with themselves. First, by falling in love with YOUR self. This allows people to see firsthand what it’s like when someone honors their Truth. And that experience is inspiring because it grants people permission to do (and BE) the same.
Also, remember that being a followable person is about how people experience themselves when they’re with you. So, make them feel better off having communicated with you. Pinpoint the beauty that they’re too close to themselves to taste.
That’s what being an inspirational person is: Breathing into people a reflection of their awesomeness. How are people changed after having a conversation with you? Are people diminished, unaffected, or enlarged after their encounter with you? And what would happen if everyone who walked away from you was inspired to lead with her truth more frequently?
2. Learn by what you have LIVED, then teach people. Followable people know that orthodoxy (the right beliefs) is exponentially more powerful that orthopraxy (the right practices). After all: People aren’t inspired to follow you because of what they HEAR you SAY consistently – only what they SEE you DO consistently.
So, followable people don’t practice what they preach – they preach what they practice. In the words of my inspiring friend/mentor Jim Henderson: “Action changes everything. We need to major in practices and minor in principles. Practices are attitudes that translate directly into actions.”
If you want to increase the probability of people following you, try this: Do something first, THEN tell people about. Do something first, THEN tell people what you learned. Do something first, THEN challenge people to do the same. Is the message you’re preaching the dominant reality of your life? How deep is the gap between your onstage performance and your backstage reality? And how inspiring is someone who just believes a bunch of stuff, yet takes no action?
3. Make certain people regularly experience you in your element. Windsurfing. Baking. Fixing cars. Solving math problems. Riding horses. Being a Mom. Selling hot dogs to drunken Cardinal fans at the Busch Stadium. Whatever. Pinpoint your natural state of magnificence, and then stay there for as long as you can.
It doesn’t matter what you’re amazing at. When people get the chance to see you being you, doing what you do best, it will always be inspirational. And it will be impossible for them to escape your awesomeness. How could you not follow someone like that?
The secret is to seek out situations that vividly reveal your passions, and then made sure LOTS of people are watching. Do that and they WILL come with you. How often are you in your element? How often is there at least one person watching? And how are you constantly expanding your platform on which to display your gifts?
4. Marinate people in your world. Give them insight into how you operate. Show them how you think. Take them on a tour of You Land. Then, while you’re there, show them that you feel sufficiently complete and whole within yourself. Slowly, this will allow that same space to open up in them.
Then, they will experience themselves as being better, stronger and more beautiful by virtue of your inspirational presence. And that will enable them to follow you. When people listen to your life, what do they hear? What do people get when they get you? And how many people regularly see the most inspirational aspect of your life?
5. Pepper in ordinariness. One of the problems with so-called “inspirational” people is that they’re completely unrelatable. No disrespect to Oprah, but come on. Nobody can relate to her. I don’t care how “regular” she claims to be on her show. Oprah is a cyborg from planet Zoltar, and she does not live in a world of reality.
Therefore: Unless you regularly exert your ordinariness, people wall have a hard time following you. There must be a balance between being admirable; yet relatable. Not being utterly boring; yet not being terminally unique. How well do you merge ordinariness with remarkability? Do the people you follow and listen to ever screw up? Doesn’t it make you want to follow them more when they do?
6. Stick yourself out there. Ultimately, leaders ante up first. They take the first step to inspire others to do the same. So, try this exercise: Think of five people that YOU follow. Or listen to. Or allow yourself to be influenced by. On a scale of 1-10, how willing to risk were those people? My guess: Very. Because that’s what inspirational people do – they stick themselves out there.
In the words of my inspiring, followable colleague, David “Rise to the Top” Garland, “Inspiration correlates with risk. Those that take (some sort of) risk are perceived as inspirational because they’re just regular people who did something remarkable.”
That’s the cool part. We’re not just talking about physical risk like bungee jumping or wearing a Cowboys jersey to an Eagles game. Sticking yourself out there is an emotional risk. It’s about walking your truth in a world of mostly fiction. And that’s what inspires people to walk THEIR Truth right behind you. What risks are you comfortable taking? What truth are you ready to live? And what dream in you that could inspire others would cause you deep regret if you never took the risk to go for it?
REMEMBER: You can’t make people follow you.
All you can do is increase the probability by making yourself more followable.
Do that, and people will listen TO, learn FROM and be inspired BY you.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you making yourself more followable?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!
* * * *
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!