Leaderships Lessons Learned in the Ladies' Room

Image courtesy of Keattikorn, freedigitalphotos.net
The line to the ladies room is infamously known for being long.  Most women have opened the door only to have the line meeting us there. So we wait. 

One time I entered a movie theater’s ladies room and had a different response. I entered to find a line of 5 women before me. They were chatting happily with each other and just waiting.

Instead of settling into my place at line, as usual, I had a thought. “There are close to 15 stalls in this room. Surely, they can’t all be occupied.” So I got out  of line, walked past the other ladies and went to see if indeed all the stalls where occupied. 

As my hunch would have it, only the first few stalls were occupied. The stalls further down were empty. Of course, you can’t get out of line and not have eyes on you. So I turned to those eyes and indicated the open stalls. The 5 ladies found their stalls and I found mine. 
I learned three important leadership lessons that day.

Lesson 1: Follow your hunch

We all have hunches that there is a better way to do something. In your everyday life, it might be a new process, a new tool, or just a slight  tweak of something that already exists. 

Why don’t we follow those hunches? One  answer? FEAR! Fear is a very comfortable place. It lulls us into staying in the status quo. 

We agonize over the negative “what ifs”. What if my hunch is wrong?  What if I am embarrassed? What if I get in trouble? Funny how we don’t postulate the positive “what ifs.” What if you are right? What if this is exactly the new  direction you've been looking for? What if this is the next big thing?

If you are wrong, then you were wrong. Period. You then have a choice. 
Learn from it and try again or chastise yourself for going for it. Do the former! 

Congratulate yourself for being BRAVE enough to take a chance on you! Congratulate yourself on doing what it takes to seek out the solution to a problem. By following your hunch, you are validating your own ideas instead of waiting for other to validate them for you. 

You are saying to yourself “I trust you” and “You are worth being trusted”. Trusting yourself, your talents, and your ideas builds confidence, and confidence is the breeding ground for bravery!

Lesson 2: Get out of line

It is time to get out of your head and put ACTION to your thoughts. I am sure someone else had the idea of Spanx before Sara Blakely did. But unless you ACT on your ideas, you won’t get anywhere. 

Am I saying your hunch could lead you to become a billionaire by the time you are 40? Maybe! Maybe not! Only you can discover that. I am saying following your hunch will take you into uncharted territory. 

You will ruffle a few feathers as you act but let them ruffle. My favorite quote from my favorite movie Moneyball says, “The first one through the wall always gets bloody”. 

Some of your actions may actually be big enough and bold enough to actually get you “bloody” as you break through. Others, like finding an open stall, may cause little to no injury. 

I felt the eyes of those 5 ladies when I passed them in line. In this case, they weren't malicious, just curiously asking “what is she doing?” This brings me to the third lesson I learned.

Lesson 3: Don’t be selfish 

I could have just found an open stall, went about my business, and left. But I didn't  I made a point of letting those in line know that what they were waiting for was available. 

In our culture today, so many people are only looking out for themselves. They want to get where they are going with little or no thought of helping others do the same. Real leaders know the value of awakening other people to possibilities not previously seen before. Bring others along. They will remember you for it.

All of this insight because of one trip to the movie theater’s ladies room? Yup! 
Some of the most profound thinkers, movers, and shakers had a simple thought that they stretched, tested, and tweaked until it became grand. You could be one of them.

By encouraging others to follow their hunch, get out of line, and usher others along, you can create a culture that celebrates initiative, that rewards creativity, and that stomps out fear for failing. What a powerful gift 
we can give to those around us…if we are BRAVE enough to first do it ourselves.

Have you ever learned a lesson in an unusual setting?


  1. Haha, I love this ;) totally agree with trusting your gutt! Super awesome insights

  2. Hi Yasmine, I am so glad you liked it. Yes, trusting my gut has become a fun experiment for me ;) Thanks for commenting!

  3. Very interesting.

  4. :) I was thinking though, that yes, you found the stall, and led your female friends in, yet what if you stayed with the conversation they were having, and met some really great people in the process. And what if one of those people helped take your business to the next level?
    I like the lessons, but I'm also thinking about a flip side to this?

  5. Good point! There is always a flip side to a situation. There have been times when just going with a situation proves valuable. I wrote about that in another post. I can post the link if you are interested.

  6. Yea for sure. I'd like to read it

  7. Here ya go! http://bravecommunicationllc.blogspot.com/2013/07/blog4biz-day-14-excuse-me-affect.html

  8. cool I'll check it out