From a young age, many of us are encouraged to be a leader. This is not always easy or does not always come naturally to everyone. When thinking about starting a movement, the first thing that can come to mind is that there must be someone leading the movement. However, the power to create a movement is not in leadership alone but also in the followers and both need courage and empathy to succeed.
Every one of us, regardless of age, can be witnesses to truth, life, love, with courage and empathy helping to bring about a culture that protects and cares for others especially the marginalized. All it takes is a movement of love and that movement begins with the courage to be a leader or the courage to be a follower along with empathy for fellow human beings. Both of these roles are needed for a movement, without followers, the leader is just alone and without empathy we do not have true connection.
Both a leader and a follower must have the courage to stand out and be ridiculed. Why? Because a leader has to publicly stand in front of others and demonstrate something contrary to what is going on around them and the first follower risks the same to join. If the follower is embraced as an equal, if the leader demonstrates passion and drive to inspiring onlookers then the follower begins to invite others to join in the same spirit and this is when the “lone nut” becomes the leader of a movement. However, it must be said that it is the followers courage that births a movement.
Courage is required to create a movement. Having social courage means willing to risk embarrassment or exclusion, unpopularity or rejection by peers when you stand up for what is true and good.
Intellectual Courage means having the willingness to challenge ideas, question thinking and tell the truth at the risk of making mistakes or going against the crowd.
Emotional courage means being empathetic. This means having the willingness to feel with and for others when you see they are struggling and need someone to see and hear them when they are hurting rather than trying to put a silver lining on things. Empathy is equally as important to courage. One empowers you to stand in the arena of life the other allows you to connect to those who want to stop being bystanders but have not yet learned to follow. Be The Change.