What is a leader? Or, better, what makes a person a leader? Usually this question is answered in the context of personal characteristics, behaviors, and actions. But circumstances can make a leader, too.
I recently discovered that if you make videos and publish them publicly to YouTube, you automatically become a leader. That is, once you start getting views and subscribers.
That can be a good thing if you have a message you deem is important and people begin embracing it and incorporating it into their lives. For example, one of my greatest desires is for people to be healthy so that they can live the life of their dreams. I want people to know about the simple ways available to avoid disease and find financial freedom. So when someone watches my videos, implements a principle I share, and experiences positive results, being a leader is an exciting thing.
But this weight of leadership can also be scary. Because you can say the wrong thing, and influence someone the wrong way.
I did just that a couple of months ago. I went on YouTube and announced that “this is my last video!”, and then sent people to a post on this very blog (which I have since trashed) explaining why I was quitting YouTube. I was frustrated how hard I’ve worked for so long and not gained the necessary views to earn a decent income. In the blog post, I blamed YouTube for my perceived failure.
And for two months, I ignored my YouTube channel, including the comments section.
When I realized the error of my ways and returned to creating and uploading videos, I decided to catch up on any comments. There, I found a young lady who had this to say:
I watched your goodbye video and I’m so sad you’re leaving. I don’t blame you a bit for your reasons on your blog post. I have wanted to start a channel because I think I have a lot to share, but all the reasons you mentioned has stopped me from doing so….
My heart fell to my feet. No, no, no! I didn’t mean for anybody to quit – or not start – a YouTube channel just because of my skewed perspectives on things! Just because I was having a bad day…or week.
Here was my response:
[NAME OF YT USER], I came back. PLEASE don’t let my temporary discouragement keep you from starting a YouTube channel. I feel bad that I may have discouraged you from following your heart. Unless you’re determined to make money from YT, it’s not about the numbers but about touching the people who are listening to your message. This is one thing that has brought me back….
She still hasn’t replied to my comment, so I’m sure she never saw it.
So now I feel guilty. What if she would have had smashing success with YouTube? What if working a YouTube channel would have helped her meet her financial goals? What if was God’s will for her to start and maintain a YouTube channel? What if she has an important message that will change someone’s life for the better, but they never hear it because I discouraged her?
What if she wasn’t the only one who gave up on her YouTube dream because of my hasty words?
I feel guilty for my sin. I’ve prayed for God to rectify the situation, that if she’s supposed to start a channel she will regardless of my stupidity.
And I learned a hard lesson. It’s like what they say in MLM: “When you’re up, call your downline. When you’re down, call your upline.”
In other words, don’t gripe or express your doubts to the people you are leading. Save your negativity for your mentors, the people who have been around the block longer and will likely have an encouraging word to lift your spirits.
I freely admit: I messed up.
Do me a favor and learn vicariously through my experience.