Guest Post: Are you a Shepherd or a Sheep

***In the first guest post to ever appear on #MillennialLifeCrisis, the following post was written by the talented Mathew from Blog of the Wolf Boy.


“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch


Becoming the Shepherd

This thought was streaming itself through my head a while back, I had to make a note of it in my little book of wonders. It’s taken me some time to get around to writing it out, but here it is…

There are those who follow and there are those who lead. That is the way of the world, and everyone has a place. Not all who follow are incapable of leading, and not all who lead deserve to be leaders. This world is full of sheep, but what does it take to be a shepherd? Well, in order to answer that question, it’s appropriate to determine just what makes a sheep.


What makes a sheep?

A sheep is a follower. A sheep doesn’t rock the boat. A sheep follows the herd and lives life as directed. They blend in with the crowd. They create similar works of art and produce similar quality of work as everyone else that they know in life. They keep their uniqueness buried away inside in case they might stand out. They’re most comfortable when they “fit in”. They don’t want to be the black sheep, that’s so faux pas. A black sheep is too likely to one day become a shepherd of their own, and that’s a scary place for the sheep-hearted to be. Black sheep and shepherds are liable to become targets for criticism.


So, what makes a shepherd?

A shepherd doesn’t follow the herd. A shepherd first knows themselves to the core and is capable of self-directed thought without influence from outside sources. A shepherd is first capable of leading him or herself. They do their own thing. They don’t concern themselves with the opinions of the other sheep, and eventually the other sheep may notice. They might notice the way this one is behaving differently than the others. They notice a courage, a uniqueness, a bravery. Some sheep may scoff and denounce this black sheep for not trying harder to be like the other sheep. Yet, the black sheep carries on. Until one day that black sheep becomes a fully actualized shepherd and they begin to lead.

When a black sheep becomes a leader, they share their story with others honestly and openly. They are who they are, and they love themselves for it. Strange, weird, and odd are all great compliments to one who values a unique identity. Shepherds aren’t afraid to try something different and to invite others along for the ride. They inspire and motivate. They have influence because they’ve created something original and there are so many lost sheep looking for their shepherds.


There are good and bad shepherds

A good shepherd will care and nurture their flock. They will encourage their flock to grow to become shepherds of their own one day. A bad shepherd will demand their flock acts or behaves in a very specific way to mirror their own beliefs. A bad shepherd doesn’t want his sheep to ever grow to think for themselves, because then they may form beliefs of their own and he/she would start losing power. A bad shepherd wants mindless followers for the sake of maintaining power. A bad shepherd wants to use their sheep rather than nurture them because caring for his flock is not his/her priority.


Why am I writing this?

In this world right now, there are too many bad leaders out there and there are far too many followers. There are far too many good shepherds and black sheep ostracized for breaking ranks with the packs of followers that have been herded around bad leaders for power’s sake.

When it comes to bad leaders, dissent is an action requiring punishment. Good leaders look to love and nurture. Rehabilitation is more important then needless destruction. Yet, putting aside all of that – the most important thing of all is that every individual encourages themselves at one point or another to separate from the heard and to nurture a mind which thinks for itself. A mind which makes judgments of its own will, rather than blindly following the opinions of others around them. A mind strong enough to keep its power for itself, rather than offering it freely to the first turncoat which offers them a kind word and blind faith with the intention of manipulating for another agenda.

As artists it’s also important to be a free thinker, to create works unique to ourselves. Our true selves, rather than variations of work which are already out there. Rock the boat, be brave, be courageous, offer the world something new and if you do one day find yourself with a flock to care for – then nurture them and teach them to be open-minded and thoughtful leaders of their own. Don’t abuse your power over others. Radiate love instead.

This world needs right now, possibly more than ever before, strong minds and gentle hearts. Minds capable of independence, ready to create the important changes that are so impotently implemented in our current societies. Social equality, social security, efforts to fight climate change.

A heart that leads with love is a heart worth following. A mind that thinks for itself is a force to be reckoned with. Evil relies on blind faith and hate for empowerment. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Who Will You Be?


I want to say thank you to Mathew from Blog of the Wolf Boy for taking time to write a thought provoking guest post for #MillennialLifeCrisis.

Mathew is a dad, a writer, a poet, a Canadian and keeper of an incredible blog. Blog of the Wolf Boy is one of my favourite blogs that I’ve discovered on WordPress and I sincerely hope that you’ll all take a a swift click over to his page and check out some of his impressive, thought provoking posts.

Go to Blog of the Wolf Boy >

Who would miss you?

This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I read a post a few weeks back in which the blogger asked: if you quit blogging, who would miss you? It got me thinking about blogging, yes, but it also got me thinking about my life in general.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, this is not a cry for help. I’ve always just thought of myself as a person who would have no issues just… running away and never coming back. Kind of like how my grandfather moved away from his family, came to Canada on his own and made his own life here, never to return to his home country.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like… to just, relocate. Maybe find an exotic locale somewhere on the globe and build myself a soft spot to land.

Would anyone miss me? I’m not sure. I think my mom might, but I also think that she might get over it after a while.

I’m well aware that I’m incredibly blessed in being born Canadian and that I do live in one of the best, most evolved, most prosperous countries on earth. My reason for leaving would not be because I don’t like it here. Instead, my reason for leaving would be to start over.

There’s a book that I love, Into the Wild, in which the main character gives up everything he’s ever known in an effort to start over, in search of his true happiness.

One of the quotes from the book, it really resonates with me.

The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. 

Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Sometimes I think about giving it all up. Chasing an endlessly changing horizon and hoping for a new and different sun.

If you’ve ever considered it, could you do it? Could you give up everything? Some can, some can’t! Some just don’t have the ability. But if you gave up everything for a chance to start over, in a new place, with an endlessly changing horizon, who would miss you?

You know that moment when someone writes something that stops you dead in your tracks?

A heart is a fragile thing. That is why we protect them so vigorously, give them away so rarely and why it means so much when we do.

Some hearts are more fragile than others… purer somehow. Like crystal in a world of glass, even the way they shatter is beautiful.

Everwood

Blog of the Wolf Boy – Behind the Author

If anyone would like to read Mathew’s ‘Behind the Author’ interview of me, click here>

Blog of the Wolf Boy is one of my favourite blogs on wordpress so when he asked me to take part, I was extremely honoured. Nervous, by honoured.

Go read it! Because his whole series is a pretty unique way of broadening the wordpress community.

Click here > to read!

If you’re grateful for this life, you’re grateful for everything in this life… even the hardships.

This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot as of late. People are so quick to state that it’s the wrong time, that they’re not ready, you’re not ready or I’m not ready. Everyone’s got an opinion about the wrong time. Something that people never seem to want to share though is, when is the right time?

With all the things I’ve been through this year, with all the things that everything has been through this year, why are we questioning the wrong timing rather than living in the now?

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Now, understandably so, all they can think/talk about is all of the mountains they never climbed, all of the marathons they never ran and all of the times they put these things off for work, or for ‘life’ not really thinking one day they wouldn’t be able anymore.

Point of this story? The right time is right now. Stop telling yourself that it’s the wrong time. Stop telling yourself that you’ll do it later. If it’s something that you want, do it. Do it now. If something is happening, whether it’s in your control or not, this is what is supposed to be happening. This is something that I’ve had to learn the hard way… because it’s been a crappy year. Even just typing that, I feel like a broken record as I know it’s something I’ve said all too many times before.

When you’re going through a hard time it can feel like everyone and everything is against you. And honestly, on my bad days, that’s what I’ve spent a lot of time this year believing. However, I watched an interview between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper last night to which Stephen Colbert said something that really struck me.

I’m paraphrasing here:

“I’ve learned to the love the thing that I wish most had not happened. What punishments of god are not gifts?”

It’s a gift to exist. It’s a gift to exist. And with existence, comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.

If you’re grateful for your life, you have to be grateful for all of it.

Stephen Colbert

I’m not a religious person, but I do absolutely believe in what Colbert has said. If you’re interested in seeing the interview, you can watch it here: The Stephen Colbert Interview from Anderson Cooper 360 (I highly recommend watching it from start to finish)

If you’re grateful for your life, you have to be grateful for all of it. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad. And with that understanding comes the realization that the right time is right now. Whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad, right now is the right time for what is happening to you, for what you want and desire most, for what you think you cannot handle but absolutely can.

If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to have the weight lifted off your shoulders, I think this is what has done it for me. Honestly, these shitty times are setting me up for something. They have to be. And that’s why I’m choosing to believe that what’s happening right now is supposed to be happening right now.

Stop putting something off because it’s not the right time. Don’t tell yourself you can’t have a baby or buy a house or go on a trip or pierce your nose or change your career path. Do it.

*This definitely sounded a lot more coherent in my head. Ah well, I’m leaving it now.

Letters to anyone,

I’m not sure what it is about 1:00 am that really draws me in but I seem to find myself in the same place, every night.

I was fifteen years old when I first fell in love. The feeling, unlike anything I’d ever known before in my life, took over me like a fire engulfing a home in a mere matter of seconds. Before I knew it, I was flat on the pavement wishing for the ability to be anywhere but where I was.

It’s funny how life does that to us… knocking us on our ass when we least expect it, testing us, seeing what we’re capable of and how long we can withstand the pain of heartbreak and heartache.

You know, Michelangelo believed the best way to judge the essential elements of a sculpture was to throw it down a hill and the unimportant pieces would break off. Sometimes, I think, life is like that. It tosses us down a hill. But when we reach the bottom and only the important things are left, that’s when our vision clears.

Would I go back in time and change anything? Certainly not. Could I have been smarter, done better or avoided the heartbreak? Certainly, absolutely, and not at all. When I made it through that, my vision cleared. The beauty of heartbreak is that it teaches us, not only about ourselves and who we are. but heartbreak teaches us what we want for our lives and what we don’t want. And 15 year old me, well she had a lot to learn.

I’ve heard people say that if you wait long enough, if you hold out hope and always keep trying, good things will come. And I think, slowly but surely they do. I don’t think it’s a massive change, as though you get to wake up one morning and be a completely different person. I think it’s much more subtle than that. We make small improvements every day and suddenly that heartbreak that encapsulated our entire existence seems like a distant memory.

The heartbreak I am suffering these days, it’s a different kind of heartbreak. I do think the same principles apply, though. 30 year old me, she still has a lot to learn. And this heartbreak, it may not be over a boy, but if you asked me honestly I would tell you it hurts just the same.

Well, I had this all thought out in my head and now that I’m here, I’m having a hard time drawing this to a close. I want to say something profound, something hopeful, something thoughtful, but I can’t. Small changes, I guess. One day at a time. If you’re there, if you’re struggling, if you’ve been tossed down the hill, just remember that those unimportant pieces are falling off (being left behind) for a reason.

Sincerely, Vee.

The brutal truth.

There’s no secret to being social media famous. I’m sorry if this bursts preconceived notions or beliefs of what’s possible, but there isn’t.

Anyone who is famous on social media got there based on one or more of the following: dumb luck, an ability to follow fads/trends and… probably because they were in the right place at the right time (or they’re a Kardashian still riding the fame of their sister’s sex tape).

I know I’ve said this before but PLEASE don’t spend your money on social media workshops. Please don’t spend your money to buy followers. You work hard for your money and there’s nothing either of these two options can give you that will bring you fulfillment to your blog, twitter, Instagram or any other platform.

I believe people who sell ‘Social Media Management’ and people who sell ‘ [X amount] of Authentic Followers’ are stealing. I really do. Please don’t get scammed.