The Hulu mini-series Hillary takes a fascinating look at the woman they term as “one of the most admired and most vilified” women in the United States. It shows huge crowds cheering for “H.R.C.” and also large gatherings chanting “Lock Her Up.” Just to understand the reasons behind the polarization made for very stimulating television.

What stuck with me the most is a comment made by Cheryl Mills, one of Hillary’s advisors. “We are never ready for the person who has to blaze the trail,” she said. “We’re ready for the person who comes after them because they don’t have to shrink to fit – there’s plenty of room now for them to walk in all their glory.”

Take a moment to think of those who forged a path that you eventually followed, probably without realizing the effort and sacrifice that went into those who went before you with the metaphorical machete. Perhaps it was the previous person in your position who fought the political battles to lay down the infrastructure that now allows you to succeed after they were fired for causing “trouble.” Maybe it was an older sibling who set the example by figuring out how to be the first to go to college. It could have been the woman before you who called out harassment and led the fight to change your workplace for future women although she was shunned herself. Or maybe you benefit from the citizen who showed up and spoke up to change a policy, even after many failed attempts.

If you have the opportunity to appreciate someone who blazed a trail, do so, even if it’s well after the fact. Being a change leader is downright hard and the hurt it causes stays in your bones for years. It’s never too late to say thank you to those who went first.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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