Here are some thoughts from E. Thomas Behr, Ph.D. in THE TAO OF SALES: The Easy Way To Sell In Tough Times.  First published in 1997, it attracted a lot of interest until it went out of print.  It’s since been re-issued.  (A great book.)

The major thought Behr had was this:  if you lead by following your principles and your own authenticity, then it makes room for good things to happen….

1.     DON’T JUST DO SOMETHING, STAND THERE.  If you take a stand on values and principles, perhaps others will develop the courage to do the same. Sometimes it leads to you being street pizza, when you try to face down assorted steamrollers, but I notice it does tend to be true that you can get a lot of the pettiness out of your life by doing this one.

This leaves a lot more room for creativity and for beauty, so what’s a little flatness here and there?


This one works really well.  Mostly, if you always follow a few basic principles that mean a lot to you, then people know where you are standing and they tend to allow you that space.

Maybe they are just being kind about not wanting to disillusion you and all or maybe they just don’t have the time to start shoving your head into other spaces, but who cares?  It works.

3.     TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MEASURING YOUR OWN INTEGRITY YOURSELF.  You are not the only one who knows whether you’re walking your talk.  It shows.  It’s a good idea to pay attention.

4.     CONFRONT YOUR OWN CONCERNS AND FEARS ABOUT AUTHORITY IN AN OPEN, CARING WAY.  I do have major “issues” with authority.  However, I have figured out that scorched-earth war tactics really don’t leave much for anybody to work with.

It’s a lot easier on everybody if I can be gentle.  This is a lot harder for me than coming out swinging so I have to be really gentle with my own self as well.

5.     MEASURE WHAT MATTERS.  That’s a problem I have with bean-counters:  They are so busy counting beans when other things matter so much more to me and I often cannot get my head around their concerns.  I do try because it is important, I suppose.

I just prefer measuring things like room to move and heart-space and stuff like that.  (I probably drive the bean-counters crazy.)

6.      IF IT AIN’T BROKE, BREAK IT.  The best thing about this one is that it helps me forgive my own klutziness.  Calling the stumbling around I do “re-inventing the world” is a lot cooler than saying, “Oops!”.

7.     REPLACE “CONTROL” WITH “ORDER.”  The neat thing about this one is that there are all kinds of order.  Some of them are quite lovely and meaningful to the people who are in them.

It’s a very cool thing to be able to see other people’s “order” as wonderments rather than as them being wrong because you are so right, right, right….

In this YouTube video, Art – Life Made Me Do It, Simon Birch, an artist who has gained some renown in Hong Kong, tells about his life and how his art grew out of it.

That is the thing, isn’t it?  Following your life, letting your days lead you to your best place, is often the best way to get to authenticity and gives your life its own meaning and mana.

So, hey…what are you doing to get back to you?

Here’s a poem:


Getting back to grace is Job One.

(It says so right here.)


What happens when you’ve run out of cheek to turn,

And your back is to the wall,

And you’re looking at yet another transgression,

Another incursion, another this or that?


Getting back to grace is gonna be tough

When you’re bucking the gale-force winds

Of somebody else’s stubborn,

Of somebody else’s stupid

And somebody else’s something-or-other.


It gets even rougher when you’re leaning into

The tropical storms of your own blindness.



Let’s do it step-by-step.

If Grace is a place where I can stand,

Then, probably, it doesn’t need ME to make it real, right?

It’s just there.

I mean…I didn’t invent it.

It’s THERE already…

Like, say, Haleakala, maybe, or Pu’u Kuku’i.


And if that’s so,

Then all I have to do is find it again.


Maybe I just have to take off this stupid bandana

That’s worked itself down over my eyes….



Got it!


Wouldja look at that:

I’ve been standing in Grace all this time!

by Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Follow the Leader by ehpien via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you….)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

24 thoughts on “LEADING BY FOLLOWING

  1. I found this a great read as I find myself sharing a lot of these principles that (I’ll admit) I gathered after realising I needed to take a stand. A lot of it related as well to ‘looking inward’ which I thought was great as I feel it is something everyone must do and I often encourage people to do so. Would you agree?

    1. Hey Ryan:

      Thanks for your visit and your comments. I do agree that the only way to get more meaning and gather more mana into your life is to look inward at who is standing there in front of the mirror. It is a process, isn’t it? You do have to separate out what your heart tells you from all the other stuff. And sometimes your heart mumbles. (Sigh!)

      Please do come again.

  2. Hello Netta,

    These meaningful thoughts are not just powerful, but the words which are being used are well constructed. I’d like to use them to give advice to people, in particular, stick to few principles. I think we are vulnerable to influences but in truth, we have the position whether to accept them and not. Too many principles isn’t a good thing as it causes conflict and hence, confusion, making out lives in a mess. By the way, I just want to add that the poetry is so beautiful. Thank you! – Tar

    1. Hey Tar: Thanks for the visit and the comments. Please do come again…

  3. I had a lovely feeling of being lifted up and gently carried along through your story.
    I work with children at times and it is amazing how many times they respond well when a “space” is created that they can move into. Stepping back and asking myself: “what is actually happening here and what are my moral responsibilities?”
    We spend so much time pushing and demanding instead of just being.
    I have found that most “Authority” comes from insecurity and being aware of my own morality, claiming it as my own and explaining politely what it is, can often achieve better results than attacking and provoking.
    Being “right.” We are al right, there are just a few different ways to get there. This can lead to conflict or change, depending on how we interpret it.
    A great article which I have now read twice. Thank you.
    I feel you have possibly held back and have more to say. Is that right?

    1. Hey HappyB: Thanks for your visit and your comments.

      Of course, I ALWAYS have more to say. The thing is, with values and meaning and mana, each person has to find their own way. I’m not aiming to be a wise guy who speaks with the VOICE. You know: DO THIS, OR ELSE…. li’ dat. I can only point out stuff that seem to make sense, stuff that I’ve tried that helped make things better.

      Please do come again….

  4. This really cool. These are some great tips that give you that little push to make it through adversity.
    I started an online business and it’s been really tough to get traffic to my site, so I been thinking about just closing down the site and just quitting all together.
    But these tips help me to see that I can’t be the only one struggling and I have to just weather the storm. Great article, definitely going to post this on my website.

    1. Hey Garrett:

      Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  It’s a truth…if you keep on going you get further than if you just stop or go off in some other unrelated direction.  This website-building thing’s hard, man.  So is trying to learn all the everything about marketing online.  

      Whenever I get to the place where I want to throw in the towel, I remind myself of a truth that my hero Seth Godin reiterates…there’s no rescue comin’.  If you want out of a tricky situation, you have to do it your own self.  And, that, too, is a hard one.  

      It does work, however.

      Please do come again….

  5. Todd Matthews says:

    I love these tips, especially the first one about taking a stand on values and principles, something we see too little of in this world where most people are followers, either out of fear of judgment for taking a stand or just to keep things quiet and orderly for the leaders, regardless of corruption. At least that’s the message I got out of Principle I. Either way, I’d love to see those in life follow the courageous few willing to take such stands and be open with their own values; maybe it’ll create some positive change the world needs. 

    1. Todd, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  

      I agree with you.  It certainly would be a very different world if more people were able to take a stand on the values and principles that have meaning for them.  

      The way they take that stand would determine whether the changes we’d see in the world are positive or not, I suppose.  

      Tolerance for differing viewpoints is also a biggie, isn’t it?  Balancing tolerance with personal authenticity does take a lot of mindfulness and work, it seems to me.

      Please do come again.

  6. Twack Romero says:

    The first time I visited your site, I had no idea what to expect. I came away better for the experience (having been introduced to ‘Mana’), although slightly taken aback at the depth to which the words had touched me. 

    So, forearmed, I came prepared to do battle with prose and verse that would try to beguile me but at the same time impart a message that I was unprepared for. 

    ‘Not this time’ I thought,’This time I’m ready for you.’ 

    Yet, here I am, sat, a little more knowledgeable but in a way that I already knew but was not aware of. 

    The seven ‘thoughts’ you cite, with your ‘take’ on them, are a perfect fit. Kind of makes you want to go out tomorrow with a placard. 

    Not sure what I would write on it but maybe that doesn’t matter. Is it more to do with being willing to stand there with it held high ? 

    1. Hee!  Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Twack.  I’m glad the post moved you.  

      [‘Kay…I can go now.  My job here is done….]

      Please do come again.

  7. Kaytee208 says:

    Hi Netta,

    This is so what I needed to read today. I think it’s so good to do  a bit of self-reflection like this. It not only reminds us to be humble, but also reminds us that we need to be accountable to ourselves. That is something that I’ve been struggling with lately. 

    I definitely relate to the idea of narrowing down the principles that you want to live by. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed by all of the tasks and responsibilities that each day requires, but if you just focus on a few basic ideas of the person you want to be then those stresses become a lot more manageable. 

    It’s easier to hold myself accountable to a few set principles instead of all of the chores that do or do not get done. I’m sure I will be much less annoyed as well (just thinking about my husband and his lack of putting dishes in the dishwasher…which just happened. Now I need to hold myself accountable to the fact that I want to be a good, non-naggy wife…)

    Where did you hear about E Thomas Behr? I’d be interested in both the book you mentioned and possibly his other writings, if any.

    Thanks so much for the thought-provoking poetry as well!

    1. Kaytee, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I agree.  Knowing WHO you want to be helps tremendously in making the moves that will get you there and it also helps you figure out when you’re wasting time stressing over less-important things.

      I read hundreds of books every year (a lot of them are borrowed from our very good public library system) and I buy and hold onto the good ones for a long time.  

      E. Thomas Behr’s THE TAO OF SALES is one of the books on the shelves of what I call my “meta-library” — books, old and new, that have influenced my thinking and helped me deal with all of the endless conundrums that life seems to present at various times.  

      Click on the title of the book.  There’s a link there that will take you to where you can get it.  Public libraries often have a copy of the book as well.  The back stacks are a wonder, I think.

      Since retiring as a consultant to global corporations in 2010, Behr has apparently been busy writing historical novels, it seems. 

      Thanks for the question.  I’m also glad you liked the poem.  

      Please do come again….

  8. I love this site and the content therein. It’s impossible not to learn something that you probably knew already but maybe not consciously. 

    The Tao Sales quotes, many of which I have encountered before, are very relevant and immensely thought-provoking. I relate to Numbers 1 and 3 particularly. 

    The Simon Birch video, which I watched in its entirety, was an eye-opener and reminded me that I can still create and implement my own mythology. 

    Finally, although I don’t know any of the Hawaiian language, I felt a good connection with the author’s poem ‘Getting Back To Grace’ and look forward to more of the same.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Robert.  I am so glad the post was engaging for you and appreciate the time you took to experience and respond to it.

      Please do come again.

  9. Yes, I get it. Taking a stance and truly committing to it is the message of this book. I haven’t read it yet, but I already agree with E. Thomas Behr, Ph.D.

    There are several ways people view those that commit to their principles. But I do know that very few dare to go against them. Probably because they haven’t given their own principles very much thought themselves. 

    This is a very interesting topic. I’ll read the book to see what’s the authors full view.

    1. Paolo, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do recommend Behr’s book.  It is an eye-opener, for sure.

      I do agree that the Universe will move for one who is truly committed to his or her own principles.  I’m not sure why that’s so, but I’ve found that it does seem to work that way.

      I’m glad you found the post helpful.

      Please do come again.

  10. I thank you for this article! I have known for a while that I had lost “me” and was no longer in grace with myself. I love the video and to me it shows courage and confidence with humbleness. 

    Everyone should step back and let their past guide them to the top of their own world. I did before and I now realize I can do it again. 

    Thank you, Ken

    1. Ken, thank you for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am so pleased the video resonated with you and that you are hearing (again) your own heartsong.  I hope you will choose to dance to it.

      Good fortune to you.

      Please do come again.

  11. Jenni Elliott says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post – Leading by Following. It provides one with some thoughtful ways of getting back to being oneself. 

    So often we try to be so many things to so many people that we lose our true selves along the way. 

    I found the Ted Talk by Simon Birch absolutely fascinating and loved the “Getting Back to Grace” poem. 

    Thank you so much for this thought-provoking post.

    1. Jenni, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am pleased that the post resonated with you.

      I agree that, often, we confuse our roles and our accomplishments for who we actually are.  Paying attention to the values and things you hold most dear really cuts through the confusion, I say.

      Please come again.

  12. You can garner powerful life lessons from these words. ” TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MEASURING YOUR OWN INTEGRITY YOURSELF.” 

    I like this one because often many of us are guilty of saying but not doing what we say.  Indeed, you are not the only one who knows whether you’re walking your talk.  

    I like your website. It is one that I know many will find useful and will derive benefits that will fit for life.

    1. I do agree with you shevonne.  I am so glad you found the site helpful.

      Please do come again.

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