There’s a line from a musical, called “Title of Show,” that goes, “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing, than a hundred people’s ninth favorite thing.” 

That line got me thinking. A lot of people may say that — but when the rubber hits the road, do they really mean it? Because it does involve setting aside our ego.

I’ll give you an example. Last year I was scheduled to lead a class. They expected upwards of fifty people to turn out for this class, but when I arrived, there were only six attendees. Six! I can’t remember exactly what it was, but some unfortunate coincidence that we could not have planned for prevented a majority of sign-ups from attending.

Not great for my morale, let me tell you. 

But The Show Must Go On, as they say — this class was still important to those six attendees. So I taught it as I would have anyways; I gave it my all, showed up, and did my best.

Those six people, as it turned out, gave absolutely rave reviews at the end of the class. They loved the content, they loved my speaking style, they loved what they were walking away with — they really felt this was making a powerful difference in their career! And isn’t that what it’s all about?

I could dwell on the fact that there was no crowd that day. I could let low turn out get me down. But if I really ask myself what’s important as a leader, quality over quantity has to win every time. I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing than a hundred people’s ninth favorite thing. I’d rather make a powerful difference in those six people’s lives than worry about whether a hundred more may or may not show up.

Because leadership isn’t about your follower count. It’s not about your social media stats or the stadiums you can or can’t fill. It’s not about your sales or your rate or even how many gigs you book.

Leadership is about the difference you make in someone’s life.

No more — and no less. 

Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash