Monday, April 12, 2010

Unspoiled Soup

I visit Robin, my awesome hairdresser, every five weeks for my usual color, cut, and style appointment.  I don't do this because I am an overly-prissy, high-maintenance woman.  I do this because I have enough gray hair on my head to rival that of a ninety year old grandma, and Robin sees to it that no one ever finds this out (except that I just now gave away my secret, didn't I?  DOH!!).

I love my appointments with Robin, not only for the fact that she keeps my hair color age-appropriate, but also because she's warm and friendly, and a terrific listener.  Because my hair is thick and takes FOREVER to color, we have hours to discuss books we're reading, concerts we've attended, and all our big plans to become Hairdressers to the Stars (her) and New York Times Bestselling Authors (me). That's Robin in the picture on the right.  Isn't she pretty?

During my last appointment, we realized that her birthday is just a few days before mine, in April.  "Hey," Robin said, "that means you're an Aries, like ME!"  I laughed and told her I didn't believe in Astrology. This is partly due to the fact that the description for my "sign," Aries, couldn't be further from accurately describing me!

To prove my point, I went to astrology-online.com.  Here's an excerpt of what was written for Aries:

"Aries subjects are courageous leaders with a genuine concern for those they command...They do not make very good followers because they are too 'take charge.'"


Actually, if you were to ask me to give a description of the exact OPPOSITE of myself,  I would probably repeat this quote to you, word for word!  The truth is, I've NEVER been a good leader.  The few times that I've found myself in a leadership position, I've been extremely uncomfortable, and usually pretty ineffective.

I first noticed my lack of "take-charge" skills when, in my senior year of high school, I scored the highest at drill team try-outs, and therefore was made captain of the squad.  At first I was excited.  That's me in the picture on the right, in the left forefront.  These were our summer uniforms and you can just barely make out the letters spelling "CAPTAIN" on my sailor hat.  I thought the hat and the prestige of being drill team captain were AWESOME, but when it came time to actually run practices and choreograph routines, I quickly learned I was out of my league.

During my last job as a performer at Universal Studios, one of my responsibilities included training new girls into my role.  Fortunately for me, the girls they hired were exceedingly talented and needed very little instruction, because I was an abysmal trainer.  I'd hear myself say things like, "Do you think we should run it again?" or "Do you feel like you've got it now?"  Pathetic.  I was ridiculously uncomfortable and infinitely relieved when the whole process had concluded.

I used to be ashamed of my lack of leadership skills.  Being in charge means you are outgoing, confident, and organized.  Clearly, the only conclusion for me to draw, based on my bossy-deficient manner, was that I possessed none of these admirable traits.

But once, while performing in a production at a local theater (that's NOT me in rehearsal on the left.  It's the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. But I look a LOT like them, so...), I was approached by the choreographer at the opening night cast party.  He told me that I was a joy to have in his cast, and that I was one of the most professional people with which he'd ever worked. He pointed out that I always arrived prepared, having reviewed the dance numbers from the previous day and had them committed to memory for the following rehearsal.

He observed how, on breaks, I'd find a quiet corner and go through the steps he had just demonstrated. He said my questions during the learning process were always well-timed and intelligent, and helped the whole cast.  And then he thanked me for making his job so easy.

That's when it hit me.  I'm a really good follower.  I AM outgoing, confident, and organized, I just don't want to be in charge.  If I'm working for you and you tell me what to do, I will make it happen for you.  I will show up prepared and on time.  I won't call in sick.  Quite frankly, leaders need me!  Without me, they'd have no one to carry-out their plans or work their shifts.  I'm valuable!

Grandma Simmons used to say, "Too many chefs spoil the soup."  Meaning, you need ONE chef to create the recipe, and a whole bunch of COOKS to carry out the plan!  If too many chefs try to take charge, disaster is sure to ensue.

Hang around me for awhile.  I can assure you, your soup will ROCK (And there won't be any gray hairs in it, either!!)!!

What about you? Are you a leader?  A follower?  Either way, join me in embracing your awesomeness!!

Thanks for Reading!!

54 comments:

starnes family said...

I think I'm a leader. I can cooperate with people, but I'm second oldest of 6 kids and the oldest girl.....so I kind of fell into place as a second mom. It suits my personality.

And, since you're a follower, if you'd like to join my Book Club, come see me at my blog! We'r reading Eat Pray Love.

xo, Casey at www.thestarnesfam.com

Sylvia K said...

I'm like you, I don't like or ever wanted to be a leader. Maybe because for the most part I'm a loner -- don't mean I don't love people because I do, but I think a lot of the recluse in me was a result of my childhood. I'm good at the things I do, I was good at all the jobs that I had, but no leadership stuff. Considering all the blogging I do and the blogging friends I have made, it might be hard to see me as a loner, but that I am. Really intriguing post! Enjoyed it! Have a great day and an even better week!

Sylvia

Delana said...

This is an awesome post and Happy Birthmonth, by the way! I think I can be both with ease...a leader and a follower....but you are absolutely right. Without good worker bees, honey is just talk among the queens. Isn't it wonderful when we grow up and discover we're, in fact, pretty awesome people?

blueviolet said...

I consider myself a follower with leadership potential. I just choose not to use it. ;)

Lynn Irwin Stewart said...

I'm a follower -- I just don't like to be "in charge" -- just give me a task at a time!

Julie said...

Wonderful post, as always! I'm definitely an excellent follower, but often find myself in leadership positions...I always feel awkard about this and really struggle with it. I do know no, though, that I can get it done...but I don't like it! I completely relate with all you said!

I'm going pretty grey, too...but my daughters have convinced me that since it's more silver than actual grey...it's kinda cool. So I'm going with that!

Hope your day is wonderful!

FRANNIE said...

I'm totally a leader, I can be a team player but I tend to take charge if the person who's supposed to be leading slacks off. My mom always said I would have made a great drill sergeant :).

Rachel Cotterill said...

If I'm in a group, I will basically step up and take a lead if no-one else is doing it. But I'm very happy to stay in the background if someone else is leading competently.

Jenny said...

From one Aries to another...great post!

Leigh said...

So strange as I just made my appointment a few minuets ago for my hair with my Hairdresser who is also named Robin LOL..

Bev said...

I go both ways (heh heh), and can be a very good leader when I know my subject matter and feel inspired. However, professionally I haven't felt like leading in ages - I am very content to let someone else steer the ship while I do the grunt work.

Lisalulu said...

You are a great writer, yep You'll be on the best sellers list for sure. great story. I'm both, ok I CAN be both, but I'd 100times rather be a follower. I always say I can be the Chief, but I am a much better Indian. (is that PC?)

KathyB said...

I think I have leadership skills but I really try to be a good follower. If I perceive that the leader is weak or incompetent, I don't follow so well. :P Then I work on my long suffering and patience skills.
Great writing, Joan! I'd love to meet Robin some time. :)

Eva Gallant said...

I tend to be out-going, confident, bossy, and horribly disorganized. What does that make me?

Yankee Girl said...

It depends on the situation. I am a leader, but I know how to hang back and follow direction. Years and years of being a Girl Scout taught me to do both!

Heatherlyn said...

I love to be a follower if there is a good leader in charge. I HATE being in charge of someone else's success. But, if someone can't do their job I'm capable of stepping up.

I don't believe in astrology much either. My Mom is an ares and so is my Dad and they aren't alike really at all. My SIL says that is because you have to consider your transcendent moon or something. I still don't buy it. :)

Great post!

lakeviewer said...

I know what you mean. Me? I like to take charge, select the best team and go forth.

Denise said...

Happy Birthday whenever it may be. I'm kind of an inbetweener. I can be a leader but find that there are so many more who want that job more than me. I've been teased by my husband that I don't have a competitive bone in my body so I am most definitely not rushing for the position. I can fit into a slot really well and work with people others usually don't get along with because I've also been told by many that I must have the patience of a saint. Not sure I would agree with them so much these days. Great post, I have enjoyed it as always.

ReformingGeek said...

Happy Birthday....very soon!

Yes, Robin is pretty.

I've been grey since my early thirties. Sigh. I love my hairdresser.

I'm an "ok" leader....sometimes. Other times, I'd just rather follow. Like you, I was given leadership positions because of high scores but I often wasn't all that effective.

Feeling Just Right said...

I am certain i am a "follower" and YOU are SO RIGHT! These leaders NEED us!

Robin is very pretty. I am a Taurian and i once read what Linda Goodman had to say about Taurian girls. I wowed never to believe any of that. Ugh.

Mumsy said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I have been both a leader and a follower. It depends on what is to be done that will determine if I am best as a leader or follower.

Shan said...

This was a great read. And I'm all for hair-free soup so... bonus for me! :+)

Bossy Betty said...

I love my hairdresser too!

I like to lead but I love to follow when I am following a good leader!

Glad I follow you here!

Allison said...

Great read! I'm definitely not a leader b/c I'm too shy. It's easy for me to get up and lead a class, but I'm not very good at leading adults. Your stylist is adorable.

Chell... said...

LOVE the squad get up! :)

I've always held the "leader" role I guess. Being the oldest of eight kiddies kinda threw me in that spot. As they got older however, I've been able to watch each take part in leading the rest. We're all very different and it is awesome to see the ways and areas we develop and excel in the world :)

Corinne said...

I'm like you, I really don't enjoy being in charge but I'm a great follower. After working in magazines for about 12 years, people keep asking me why I've never aspired to being an editor. To be honest I couldn't think of anything worse. Being an editor and organising staff and talking to ad people is the polar opposite of why I got into the biz in the first place.

Red Shoes said...

I like that idea of... "lead, follow, or get the Hell outta the way!" approach...

I've been told I have 'great' hair... this woman was conducting a seminar here at the university a few years ago... looked at me, and told me, "I LOVE how you have your hair frosted!"

Me: 'Frosted? Frosted?? Frosted??? My E@^@%@ hair is NOT frosted!!!!!!'

The woman who cuts my hair has told me that she wished she could bottle what Mother Nature has done for my hair color... that she could make a mint...

And so it goes...

~shoes~

Jaime said...

i don't know... the last time i tried my hand at soup, it turned out pretty rotten.

Casy Schweickart said...

I'm an ok follower yet I have a tendency to take the lead if no one else is willing.

lori said...

First things first - the gray hair. I soo relate. I was gray at 18. I wish they would make that Aids drug that they found can turn your hair back to its original color legal! Secondly, I love your little photos in your blogs. Lastly, I'm a follower. But I've been told I'm a pretty good teacher. Go followers! Ummm....where are we going again?

Gucci Mama said...

It's so hard to find a really awesome hairdresser, isn't it? I hope she stays put...the last time I found a really awesome nail lady she MOVED in like three months. I was quite distraught. ;)

Cheeseboy said...

Leader and follower depending on the situation.

That is a pretty killer sailor hat, Captain.

Funny stuff.

suenosdeuomi said...

Happy Birthday, kid!

Sorry to hear you let yourself be discouraged to partake in Astrology's intriguing language because of silly, simplistic interpretations that view only one position, the sun's sign, when there are so many other points to take in to consideration (planets, houses and aspects for starters.) Who knows, you may be a lunar type in a solar world (actually a title of an interesting Astrology book.)

Only this morning it had occurred to me that my hair has been changing from black to white for the last 50 years. I highly recommend abstaining from toxic dyes. Natural is good enough - for me, and appropriate for any age.

As far as leading and following, my ideal is an ability to switch roles as necessary, desired and/or useful, but never losing sight that roles they are and in so far they are not us, we are neither.

My Aquarian nature has a strong preference for the ideas of collaboration, democracy in action and decision making that relies on the group wisdom. While other parts of me suspect that I know best!

Ace said...

I think a lot of people would say I'm a good leader and maybe I am....for a while, but I just don't have the drive or desire to maintain it over the long haul.

Icy BC said...

Wonderful post! I'm a follower myself..To stand up and take charge for me takes an emergency situation..

Moooooog35 said...

I can't figure out if I'm a leader or follower so I'll let all the other people answer first.

Ohhhhhh.

Nevermind. Got it.

Al de Cruz said...

Believe me I can see myself as I read your post.. I once called mysel as only a supporting actor but can't be the lead actor. I'm better as a helper and I do help, but failure as a leader.

Fashion Meets Food said...

Just came across your blog and absolutely adore it and think it's so much fun! LOve this post and I look forward to reading feature post!

xo

Frances said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frances said...

I had to redo my comment as it made no sense! LOL! I need some more caffeine.

What a great post! I TOO love my hairdresser. He is awesome!

I used to be a great leader in previous jobs. I always was in charge of everything and loved making decisions and especially love teaching people. Now, I am at a job where I am a happy follower. I am happy to not be responsible for everyone and everything. I work for a raging workaholic and he wants to be the boss of everything, so I let him. I may want to be a leader again someday, but not today. (And I am a Scorpio.)

Mercy said...

I definitely prefer to follow. I have never done well as a leader when it came to working with adults, but that changes if you put me with a group of kids. Maybe I find it easy to lead them since I can "make" them do what I say. Ha.

SonyaAnn said...

I think that I'm a leader. I don't know if I'm doing a great job of it(just ask my kids) but we manage. Oh and I have a huge mouth and never shut up so I think that it helps!

Lindzena said...

Ha love the duck pictures. I only recently found a stylist I can rely on regularly - but no grays to worry about just yet. I think that I am a good leader, though I generally prefer to follow. :) Your blog is really cute, keep it up!

Taylor-Made Wife said...

I tend to be a better leader, but there are certain situations that I prefer to follow vs. lead. Love the DCC picture. You had me for a a second.

Loving Wife, Working Mom said...

I am such a leader, that my husband decided to just give up the reigns and let me lead. Now, we fight less and i don't have to say "I told you so" or even think it at all! :)

Jerry said...

I'm halfway decent at standing up an attempting to inspire. But when it comes to actually leading a group to actually accomplish something, I'm an abysmal failure. I've often said that I write better than I am -- the tag is also, I talk better than I lead.

But, like you, I prefer it this way.

50centlove said...

Sweet post! Love the duck pics with the story :o)

Daisymum said...

I always thought of you as a leader. You were always confident at work!So does your hair like the weather in Penn. vs Fla.? I am a leader and follower of myself :) I lead me to learn how to do things on my own and follow what I learn :)I miss you Joan!!

Driven Mad said...

As a leader, I can say that when I work with people who share your ethic and self awareness, time spent on the job becomes nothing less than a pleasure.

Randall @ Happy For This Moment said...

I'm a Capricorn and everything written about us is me to the "t!" I'd say I'm a leader with probably as much gray hair as yours!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

PRetty hair! Me? A leader in most instances, and follower when I am not comfortable. I guess it depends on my situation. Mostly leader though, as I am kind of bossy. Which comes in handy as a teacher!

Leeuna said...

I'm definitely not a leader. I hate to tell people what to do. I guess I'm just not confident enough in my abilities to have others follow my lead.I'm much better at following. Great post by the way.

MP said...

It's such an interesting post--I've no idea which I am. Sometimes I feel like The Leader Extraordinaire, and others I feel like I need to be held by the hand and spoken to in soft whispers. And given my meds, did I mention that?

It just isn't easy to figure out some days, ya know?

ciara 2008 said...

Idk if you can help me but im trying to purchase something that either is or looks like the dallas cowboys cheer practice uniforms like in that picture! If u can help I would love u forever!!

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