3 Reasons You’re Not Leading

As someone who loves promoting talented individuals, I’ve found that most people are downright terrified to share their messages. Why is this the case? You’ve got this burning desire to make the world a better place. You have a passion to create positive change. Yet, you’re hiding your light under a bushel.

Why? I’ve noticed several common threads among those who desire to share a message, but aren’t doing it. Here are three that may be affecting you.

First, you’re waiting for permission.

Most people who are stuffing their messages are waiting for permission from someone else. They’re waiting for some authority to come along and say, “Yes, you may now lead.”

Seth Godin eloquently explains this phenomenon:

There’s no test you have to pass. No one’s in charge of giving you a permit or a license. And that’s really hard for people to get over. Because in school you weren’t allowed to stand up and teach the class. And at your job you’re not allowed to stand up and tell the boss what to do. But all of a sudden if you care about something, you can stand up and lead. That’s mind blowing!” (Watch the full interview with Seth Godin here).

So if you’ve been waiting for permission, here it is. As the authority on message delivery, I hereby grant you permission to lead!

Second, you’re afraid that your message might offend or that some people might not like what you have to say.

I love how my friend Adela Rubio put it in her blog post, “3 Ways to Build Your Tribe by Sharing Your Authentic Message:”

Lead! In the playground of your Authentic Message, chances are you’ll be saying things that others may not agree with. I think that’s a good sign, you’re off the beaten path and exploring something ‘new.’ Every change has been preceded by visionaries. Often you must lead, where there is no path. If you can’t find the community, mastermind, program or partnership you’re looking for, create it! Your ability to lead your Authentic Message into being is what will create shifts not only for you, but for all that you serve. Lead!”

Yes, people are going to disagree with you – especially if you’re saying anything remarkable. Get over it! If you’re not facing opposition, you’re not bold enough!

Third, you don’t feel like you have all your ducks in a row. You’re waiting for things to be perfect.

I’m going to share my secret with you. I walk across my bridges WHILE I’m building them! What’s more, I wave my arm and encourage others to follow while I do! Sounds scary, but there is nothing more exhilarating or empowering than forging into new territory with a tribe following along behind you. What you will not do for yourself, you will do for others! When you know others are following you, you’ll make fewer excuses, you’ll settle for less mediocrity, and you’ll push yourself to excellence!

  • If you want to become your highest and best self, LEAD!
  • If you want to articulate your message in a clear, precise way, LEAD!

Movements were never created in a vacuum. As you step into leadership and attempt to articulate your message, you’re going to make mistakes. Some people are going to misunderstand what you’re saying. That is OKAY! Take the feedback you receive and use it to more clearly articulate your message into the clarion call that will gather your tribe around you.

Be bold! Build the bridge while you’re walking across it! Face your fears, let go of perfection and stop waiting for permission. If you have a message, share it!

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Posted in Creating a Movement.


  1. Everything that’s in the way of you and your message will show up the minute you start sharing it – your self doubt, not enough-ness, perfectionism, fear of being seen, etc. – not to stop you but to let you know what you need to ‘handle’ next. That good news for your business! Your personal evolution is inextricably intertwined with your business growth. It’s ALL good! Thanks for sharing my quote (and the linkback), Marnie!

  2. I woke up this morning thinking about diamonds. Based on your “forming 2013 goals” video, I had decided I want to help 500 people reveal the diamond that they are to the world…Then I got to thinking about how diamonds are formed..they are surrounded by dark energy (coal). Love your analogy of building a bridge while walking over it and waving everyone on while you do it…sometimes I end up in the water, sometimes I make it to the other side, the thing is you’ve just got to keep building the next bridge.

    • What a wonderful goal, Jill! Go for it! My friend Anastasia Montejano used the “building the bridge while walking over it” analogy to describe me; and I thought, “Yeah, that totally fits!” 🙂 It’s become my theme image for 2013.

  3. I couldn’t agree more, Marnie! I once heard a speaker say (I’m paraphrasing), “I decided that I would claim the title of #1 College Speaker. After I said it enough, people started to believe it. Heck, I started to believe it and became it.”

    If you don’t take the step out into what you’re meant to be, you’ll never get there…no one is going to take you by the hand to where you’re meant to be. You have to state it, take a leap of faith and go for it!

  4. What a great post Marnie. I love the analogy of walking across the bridge while you’re building it. I remember when I made the shift from leading with my head to leading with my head and heart. I let myself become more vulnerable in doing so but am so grateful for taking the risk and the warm response I got from the people in my community. Thanks for encouraging us all to step up, share our voice and lead!

  5. Thank you, Marnie. Just what I needed to hear right now, as I write a new story in 2013. Other people can say you’re great, but we individually have to believe it, absorb it and put in into action. We could surprise ourselves with how many people were just waiting for us to take action and invite them to join us. I may just surprise me too 🙂

  6. Great advice! We always need to give ourselves permission first. I wrote a little ebook about moving through fear called Navigating the Narrow Bridge. What you write here reminds me of that, and of how I seem to do everything these days. I set that goal (the other side of the bridge) and start walking (and talking, writing, teaching, etc.) as I head for the other side.

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