TGIF: Are you a Lone Nut or a Leader?


On Derek Sivers, being gutsy and how to start a movement.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had more than one person refer to me as “leader.” The l-word often induces a severe panic attack that can only be treated by taking deep cleansing breaths into a family-sized bag of Cheetos.

Apparently, I now live in a parallel universe where 65 women are willing to run a half-marathon to raise $50,000 with me.

(Image credit: Jump)

I lay awake at night tormented by the following thoughts:
– How am I going to run 21 km?
– Are my thighs ever going to get smaller?
– How are we going to raise $50,000?
– No seriously, I think my thighs are getting bigger…

My terribly unimpressive life, that mostly involved binge-eating bread and browsing the Internet, radically transformed overnight. I’m suddenly an email-answering ninja who runs at night. How did I become this unlikely cocktail of Anderson Cooper and Lance Armstrong?

The best part? It’s contagious.

The 65 women who said yes are experiencing a similar phenomenon.

I’m witnessing first-hand, a small but significant underground movement. Women are waking up from a deep slumber. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are no longer lounging in their 300 thread-count Egyptian Cotton sheets, waiting for Prince Charming to come rescue them. They are going to tag-team with Cinderella, Belle and Jasmine to kick some serious booty.

How To Start a Movement?

I got some interesting responses when I posted the question on my Facebook Wall:

Some of my faves:

– “One compellingly worthy, passionate, adoptable idea that breeds its own momentum through people moved upon to act.” -Doug

– “Start a conversation about something that matters… and keep inviting people into that space.” -Kelley

– “Just move” -Andy

I’m pretty sure that last one was meant to be a joke but it still packs a punch. How many times have we wanted to do something but have been too paralyzed by the fear of failure to “move.” It is reminiscent of Nike’s slogan, “Just do it.”

Since all of life’s big questions are answered on Google I did a search on “How to start a movement?” That is when I found a fascinating TED talk by Derek Sivers best known for being the founder and former president of CD Baby.

You have to watch this 3-minute video. It’ short, sweet and resulted in a huge paradigm shift for me.

‘How to Start a Movement’ according to Derek  Sivers:

    1. A leader needs the guts to stand out and be ridiculed.
    2. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader.
    3. Now it’s not a lone nut, it’s not two nuts, three is a crowd, and a crowd is news.
    4. A movement must be public.
    5. It’s important to not just show the leader, but the followers because new followers emulate the followers, NOT the leader.
    6. The biggest lesson– leadership is over-glorified. Yes, the shirtless guy was first, and he’ll get all the credit, but it was really the first follower that transformed the lone nut into a leader. <- This rocked my world
    7. We’re told that we should all be leaders, but that would be really ineffective.
    8. If you really care about starting a movement, have the courage to follow and show others how to follow.
    9. When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first one to stand up and join in.


I love Derek’s take on leadership.

According to his definition I’m just the shirtless “lone nut” shaking my groove thang on the grass. It was only when my first follower (Idelette) joined me that I suddenly became a “leader.”

All the “new followers” emulate the followers. NOT the leader. NOT the original lone nut. NOT me.

If you’re doing something captivating, people will follow, validate and endorse you.

The large scale adoption of the “leader-follower” combo committed to one goal, idea or cause starts a movement.

That’s how a video goes viral on YouTube, a movie like Slumdog Millionaire wins 8 Academy Awards and millions of Egyptian protesters from different socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak’s powerful regime.

There was one shirtless lone nut that got the ball rolling.

I encourage you to either:
– Be that lone nut, or
– Support that lone nut and make him (her) a leader.

Huzzah… I can breathe again!

Lone Nut

Here are 5 things that made me smile this week!

Joggers ‘Before & After’ + Inspiring NY Apartment + English Problems + Potato DIY Project + Rachel Platten= TGIF!

1. Joggers Before and After: Sacha Goldberger created an outdoor studio at a park near Paris and stopped joggers to ask them, if they would sprint for him, and then pose right after for his camera. Strangely enough many out of breath, joggers obliged. A week later he shot the same people at his professional studio recreating the pose from the park.

“I wanted to show the difference between our natural and brute side versus how we represent ourselves to society,” says Goldberger.

I find this series fascinating. To see the more images click: here.

2. I’m tickled pink by designer and style icon Iris Apfel’s in-your-face eclectic style. Her bold use of colour and patterns are inspiring. Her New York apartment would make a killer location for a photoshoot or music video. To see more pictures of her home click here.

3. English Problems: Here’s some YouTube goofiness for ya. My favourite is the “em-pha-sis” guy.

4. Potato Print DIY project: I love how this simple project that involves 5 potatoes and acrylic paints in rainbow colors, completely transforms a room. I’m tempted to experiment over the long weekend. For the DIY tutorial click here.

5. New York City singer-songwriter, pianist and beatboxer Rachel Platten’s album ‘Be Here’ is getting a lot of playtime on my runs. The album is full of head-bobbing music perfect for your morning commute to work.


So … my global SheLoves sisters:
– Is there a lone nut in your world that you need to be supporting?
– Are you the lone nut stalling for time, because you are afraid of putting yourself out there?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, fears and inspirations!

Dear half-marathon Bravehearts,
– I would love to hear what your friends and family have been saying to you, since you said yes.
– Are they using the word “inspiring” or “leader” to describe you?

I’d love to hear about what this experience has looked like for you! :)

Love you more than refreshing summer fruit Papillotes with a scoop of lavender ice cream,(<- Recipe)

To read more TGIFs from Tina: Click here.

SheLoves Half-Marathon for Living Hope
– How it all got started? Read the story: HERE
– Donate: HERE
– Facebook Event Page: HERE

Tina Francis
My name is Tina. Loved ones call me: Teen. Words are my chocolate. Music, my caramel. Photography, my bread. Girlfriends, my butter. Confession: Some girls dream about Manolo Blahniks or their next Hermes bag. Not me. I dream of freshly baked bread, perfectly barbecued meat & steaming bowls of Pho. My dream lover *cue Mariah Carey song* is someone who would read out a menu to me in Barry White’s baritone voice. I celebrate food, ask for help, interrupt conversations, laugh and cry hard, acknowledge the elephant in most rooms, fight for the underdog and believe in the power of storytelling. I was born and raised in Dubai and currently live in the beautiful city of Vancouver, known for some of the best sushi in the world.
Tina Francis
Tina Francis


  1. Being a leader is not easy because you need to be responsible!

  2. Love this blog. I have so much to say about it..but my charge light is blinking…I´m on the hotél´s comp..for some reason this website does not work on my lappy.

    I´m so excited to come back home and train with you guys and get this party started. I feel kinda outta the loop…but i have to say its been exhilirating to run in different towns and cities between baby strollers and fruit stands. I´ve felt extra challenged every day of training and I love that I have to try harder. Yeah, sometimes I start the whole pity party about how I´m on holiday and then..I tell myself to suck it up and fight the fight. G helps my cause BIG time. You know its hard when he looks at me somedays and says..¨do we have to run?¨with his puppy dog eyes. Lol. Best experience ever. We track our runs and write ourselves notes about what he hated and loved about them. It´s wonderful.

    Rememeber when ma used to make us do potato paintings during summer holidays? How come ours didn´t look as good as hers?

    ps..I can´t watch any of the videos. They don´t work on here. You need to download adobe flash and the hotel feels very strongly about it. Poo.

    Miss you cuttlefish, xoxox

  3. Wow!! I love the way Derek describes a movement. As a follower I really found this post encouraging. #7 is so true – we have it drilled into our brains that we have to be leaders, but we can’t all be leaders. I also loved how he pointed out that following also requires courage. Very inspiring post.

    Will be keeping my eyes and heart open for any lone nuts in my world.



    • P.S. Loved the before and after shots of joggers. Great concept.

    • Hiya Stephy!

      Derek is fantastic. I just finished his book ‘Say Anything.’ It’s short and to the point. I think you would really enjoy it! So many nuggets of wisdom without having to toil through 330 pages to find it.

      His version of leadership is a lot more forgiving and palatable. If you have a great idea you believe in, go for it. Go “nuts.” And if it’s worth it, you will have followers. And if you don;t have an idea brewing then follow someone who does! It’s refreshing to take the approach of switching between those roles depending on the season.


  4. Hi Lovely … I am so happy to be your first follower. Go, Tina, go!! I am looking forward to many more LONE NUT crazy-but-fabulous ideas.

    Love you.
    from Serbia


    • I’m so glad you were willing to be the lone nut casting a vision for what She Loves Magazine is today. I’m thrilled to be a dedicated follower who gets to have popcorn brainstorming moments with her leader.

      Thank you for providing a platform for change.

      She Loves Magazine had to be sent in place, before She Loves Half-Marathon could be executed.

      Thank you for going before all the women and tilling the hard soil so that the seed could be planted. This couldn’t have happened without you!

      Love you from good ol’ Vancity,
      P.S. I’m still thinking about that ridiculous pie! So good.

  5. Sue-Ann says:

    Tina, WOW, how EXCITING is THAT. I don’t know which is more inspiring, finding your voice and singing out loud, or finding your legs to promote change. Seems to me your voice is being heard loudly and clearly right here and the movement is going to make it that much louder and that much more powerful. I’m quietly watching and listening… You always have and continue to inspire me. GO NUT, GO!

    • Oh Sue-Ann! I have amazing women like you to thank for singing out loud, finding my voice and my legs. It took long seasons of grieving and solitude and searching before this season of being a lone nut. I couldn’t have done it without the reassurance from women who have gone before me.

      Thank you for always watching over me, even if it is in silence, from a distance. I love that you are always in my corner.

      Thank you for always making me feel cherished.


  6. This is a wonderful article Tina. It’s educational, insightful, engaging, inspiring, enjoyable and super fun! Thanks for sharing and for all your words of encouragement through this process.
    I haven’t heard many inspiring things from family and friends on deciding to take this leap and run but I think that’s because they expect it from me.
    I am the “lone nut” almost all of the time, always waiting for someone to join me. I’m happy being the lone nut and I don’t mind but I often don’t have confidence in my ability to get people to join me. I am in need of my first follower. I’m not afraid of standing out but more afraid of being left alone with a great idea.
    I am also the follower. I LOVE the lone nuts and I will always join them. xox

    • Aww..thank you for your kind words Kat! It’s been tricky writing and training for the half-marathon. I can’t even begin to imagine what your life looks like with the BIG move coming up! 🙂

      Coming back to your thought, I think we have season where we are leaders and followers. Sometimes they overlap and sometimes they don’t. I think mothers are born leaders because you have to try and get your kids on the same page as you, don’t you think?

      Sure they think you’re a lone nut at first, but they do eventually follow. 🙂

      Thank you for your comment and for saying yes to this journey!


  7. Great article! I wish that I lived closer to you so I could be your running buddy. xx

    • Aww. Thanks Christina! I do believe this is your first official comment on SheLoves! YAY! How exciting. 🙂

      Congratulations on your engagement! WOW. When is the big day?! You guys looks so happy together. *love*


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