My secret is out. I am a Lord of the Rings junkie.
The overcoming of seemingly insurmountable odds, the breathtaking scenery and the knowledge that nothing will ever be the same again – no matter what happens.
While watching it…. let’s say for the second time….. I came to a realization. Frodo Baggins annoyed the living daylights out of me. My hero was Sam. Sam the dull. Sam the coward who can’t find the courage to talk to the girl of his dreams but faces true terror with a tiny sword to protect his hero. Without Sam I don’t think I could face Frodo’s ‘I wish this had never happened to me’ inner turmoil.
So what about life? Self-help sections are full of books on how to be the best, on how to be a great leader and on how to be better, stronger, faster. It is easy to lose sight of one single truth. We can’t all be Frodo. So when you figure out that you are not going to be the leading character what then? What does it take to be a first rate number two?
Followers, even more so than leaders, have to believe in what they are doing. Perhaps the motivations behind their belief differ from the leader – in the end this is irrelevant. The first rate follower provides the support, dots the I’s and crosses the t’s… cooks the food, carries the heaviest pack and protects the hero – even from himself.
If you are going to be a follower – be the best follower. The leaders have to get the job done but they cannot do it alone. It takes combined effort to face challenges, overcome obstacles and pioneer change. The world is full of average people doing extraordinary things. You never hear Sam complaining that Frodo didn’t appreciate his contribution or argue that his load was just as great. Sam believes so firmly in what he is doing that he does it without question or complaint. What a great gift to any hero.
Greatness can be achieved at any level. In every role.