On Being A Leader
I hate to break it to you, but having *insert impressive number here* Twitter followers does not make you a leader. It may improve your Klout score or site stats, but that's where it ends.
Being a leader is something I'm proud of. It takes a lot of confidence, a strong sense of self and unwavering determination to stand your ground amidst a sea of difference. Luckily, I've had all three my entire life and as I grow I become even more self-aware. Not everyone can be a leader, because if everyone were a leader there would be no followers. But not everyone can be a leader because it can take awhile for some to cultivate the necessary skills. Additionally, some people have no interest in leading and prefer to sway to the same beat as the person next to them. That's totally okay, and that's why I've had such opportunities to shine.
I like to think I lead or contribute to the vegan fashion movement in some positive way by serving as an example. Leading by example is the best way to lead. It's a quiet yet visual tactic because people can't help themselves from wanting to know how others live their lives. It's human nature- we all inspire each other. But leading is knowing what you believe and sticking with it. Leading is coming up with your own, individual ideas. Not agreeing with others all the time.
I don't find myself drawn to animal rights walks or protests because although I care about the animals I choose to advocate for them in my wardrobe and beauty choices. I can confirm this has gotten the attention of many. When someone asks me where I got my bag, I'm quick to mention it's faux and vegan. People remember I don't eat meat and jest but they continue to ask questions.
Being a leader is not working to gain followers (on Twitter or otherwise) or to gain recognition for being a leader. It's visibly sticking to your values. It's not faltering. While leading can be lonely if your values don't match up with your friends or family, it's not forever.
Being comfortable with being different is the most important coping mechanism you can ever learn. It's knowing who you are and being you. That's it.
Not all leaders have followers because admirers are usually too proud to admit they wish they thought whatever great idea/thing is yours first. So you stand alone for a bit. It's great. Standing alone is better than shuffling around with no clear path.
And you're respected more for it.
If you believe in your ideas hard and long enough, you will meet someone else who shares those ideas too. Finding other forward thinkers is no easy feat, but that's why leaders are scarce.
When you find another kindred soul it's certainly a cause for celebration. The top doesn't have to be lonely, so let me lead the way :)