By Latoya Smith

Flying Blind: The Benefits of Being the First


Somewhere in a tall tree as the sun peaks through the clouds a plump baby bird has been nudged by his mother out of the nest. He’s tumbling. His heart and body races passed this quickening new normal.

There is fear and excitement in his station: he is the first. Let’s talk about the benefits and freedom that comes with being a pioneer.


I have never been afraid to be the first. Like never. This was not because I was confident, it wasn’t cocky, and  it wasn’t even because I was particularly talented at whatever task was at hand. It was simply because I didn’t want other people to be “put out”. I wanted to protect them; and I knew if given enough time I would figure it out. I sacrificed myself for them, which is precisely why I became a nurse. This is the first benefit of being the first: courage (even that of mustard seed) and vulnerability. When you are first, you’re kind of out there. Your struggle, success, and failures are visible. Sitting in your truth is powerful, and by doing so publicly you empower others.


When you are the first you are often called upon to teach others. By doing this You become a leader. But not just any leader. A leader with a unique perspective on the task at hand. You have an acute opportunity to effect change and develop policy.  You have voice that rings louder and speaks for all that come after you.


As the key, you will gain confidence not only in yourself, but in others as well. They trust you to lead and you trust them to be a sounding board. It’s a process that will repeat itself, but it is never redundant.


As the baby bird tumbles and twirls in the wind he instinctively begins to flap his wings. Slowly. Then faster. And faster. Now vigorously with all the faith in this world. He was the first. So, next time you have an opportunity to be the Key, remember that you will F L Y!


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