You Don't Have To Be Number One

Published on September 23, 2018

Categories: Identity Purpose

We live in a society that pushes people to be number one, no matter what they're doing. Sports and Hollywood are notorious for celebrity worship (and you can see how well that has turned out). But it emcompasses so much more than sports and movies. Every industry has it - tech, video games, authors, artists, you name it. And it's true even in our school systems. Most middle and high schoolers can probably point out the popular kids, for better or worse.

The problem is the push to be number one or to be a celebrity is more harmful and damaging than people realize. How often do we hear about some controversy or scandal dealing with celebrities? How many lives are destroyed because of this? In some cases, literally, as news of suicides in Hollywood and among musicians continues to rise.

Let's take this a step further - this is the model for our kids and what we're pushing them to. How screwed up is that? Why should we, as a society, want this for our kids? As a father of three, I'm all for my kids being the best they can be, but not at the cost of their well being. And here's the thing, it's impossible for everyone to be number one. However, it's not impossible for everyone to be the best version of themselves.

It's perfectly fine not to be a celebrity. It's perfectly fine to be second, third, or one hundredth place if that's where you find contentment, purpose, and joy.

I've talked about it before (Lost to History, Purpose), that my place and purpose generally isn't in a number one role. I can do that as needed, but given the choice, my preference is in a second place role. I do my best work when I'm given a little direction, then given the freedom to do what is needed however I see fit.

Leading from second place is a very real thing, yet is grossly overlooked in our society and culture (I've only found two books on the subject, both of which are written about church leadership). A second place leader fills a unique role.