Are You A Follower or A Leader?


"You're gonna have to serve somebody. "

- Bob Dylan

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Have you ever been to an event and drank a beverage on the drink table without questioning what it was?

I have.

I went to a seminar in college titled, "Kool-Aid." The organization that hosted the seminar passed out cups of red juice—presumably Kool-Aid.

I've never been a fan of Kool-Aid, so I didn't want to drink the cup of juice. After being coaxed to drink it from some of the members of the organization, I drank the juice.

When the seminar began, I learned a lesson that I'll never forget...

At any given moment in life, we can decide to be either a leader or a follower. The seminar was not about Kool-Aid at all—it was about Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre where over 900 people died after drinking cyanide poisoning.

Although I knew the juice wasn't poisonous, I chose to be a follower and succumbed to peer pressure.

A similar situation happened last week while I was working at a friend's co-working space. His colleague offered me and him some homemade, fermented iced tea. I never had fermented iced tea before, so I accepted his generous offer.

The iced tea smelled like alcohol and I don't drink, but I was afraid to ask if it contained alcohol because I didn't want to feel dumb—crazy, right?

Since it was the beginning of the day and we were in a working space, I figured there's no way it could contain alcohol.

"This is America and people don't typically drink during working hours." I thought to myself.

I drank some of the iced tea.

About twenty minutes later, I felt the urge to find out exactly what fermented tea contained. I was surprised to find out that kombucha tea (fermented tea) has many supposed health benefits and can exceed the .5 percent alcohol limit nearly six times over.

Yep, I accidentally drank an alcoholic beverage because I didn't question what it was.

Although mistakes are inevitable and help us grow, we must be more cognizant of the decisions we are about to make and choose to lead with our standards and values, instead of compromising our integrity.

There's a time to follow—as a student for life—and there's a time to lead. If you are wondering if you're a follower or a leader, the most successful people in the world are both.

Challenge: Be a student AND a leader.

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