If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

One of my all time favorite quotes is from Lewis Grizzard. Grizzard was a southern humorist who put his wit and wisdom to work on the printed page. Much like Mark Twain, he could capture the moment with the turn of a phrase, and sometimes, his comments, titles and writings were just plain laugh out loud funny. For instance, his book, "Don't Bend Over In the Garden, Granny - You Know Them Taters Got Eyes" was one of those titles that captured my mind and had me reflect on my grandmother out in the yard doing what she did everyday. It made me smile, and it made me miss her.

My all time favorite quote of his was, "Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes." That one quote, painted a picture of what it's like to always work for someone else who is making all the decisions, steering the team and leading the way. If you're the third dog back, you have no idea where you're going and or what perils lie ahead. That was the beginning of my journey into entrepreneur-ism. 

I've thought about that quote thousands of times since I originally heard it, and it reminds me of why I work for myself. I love being the lead dog, and like a lead dog, you have to have a sense of where you're going so that everyone behind you gets there too. I hope my sled team is happy following. I haven't lost any in the past decade, so I guess they've adjusted to being a part of the team. 


This is part of Carol Williams' December Challenge 2018: What Inspires You? 


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  1. Peter Mohylsky 12/15/2018 04:45 AM
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Joel Heumann
TBD - Cary, NC
Seeking Social Media, Content, etc. Position

There's a book called 'Blue Ocean Strategy", which suggests you get yourself out of that bloody red ocean surrounded by sharks. Find a way to define yourself as "lead dog" in something.  :-) It's worth a read!

Dec 04, 2018 10:51 AM #1
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I  never heard this quote before, but it's a good one - and so true!

Dec 04, 2018 12:31 PM #2
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

Excellent inspiration Mike Cooper . I remember hearing that phrase before myself and always liked it.

Dec 04, 2018 06:10 PM #3
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I have a couple of this books on my desk and love to re-read them.  I also have a picture in a drawer that depicts that very quote for when I need a reminder.

Dec 04, 2018 07:46 PM #4
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Mike.

I know I've heard that quote before.  It is true, isn't it.   Sorry, that was a statement, not a question. 

Dec 05, 2018 01:12 AM #5
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Mike,
I've heard that quote many times before and it's why I got our of corporate life quite early in life.  There's nothing like being the "lead dog", and find new trails to blaze. 

Dec 05, 2018 06:13 AM #6
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Gotta love your title line, Mike.  Somehow, I am apparently one of those folks who doesn't recall hearing it before.

Dec 05, 2018 10:00 AM #7
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good afternoon Mike. I love the choice of quotes and the way you described it for you. Well done.

Dec 05, 2018 10:32 AM #8
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Being the lead dog in a team is a bit different from being the only dog.  Of course if you are number 3 you really do not have a clue on the sled as to where you are going or why the decision was made to go in any direction, slow down or stop, etc.

The responsibility of being the lead in the team is higher than working only for yourself.  

Just an observation.

Dec 06, 2018 04:39 AM #9
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

Ha...love those quotes. I'd never heard of them.

Dec 06, 2018 09:13 AM #10
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Mike - a memorable quote. So many analogies that come to mind.

Dec 15, 2018 04:55 AM #11
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Love this quote Mike Cooper says so much about trust and being part of a great team --  so glad Carol Williams  featured this on SCS

Dec 15, 2018 06:36 AM #12
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Mike - I love your theme and I am glad that Carol Williams featured it.  I have heard the expression before.

Dec 15, 2018 06:40 AM #13
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Thanks for sharing this Mike Cooper. Quotes such as these really do make great analogies that are easily understood.


Dec 15, 2018 03:14 PM #14
Matthew Klinowski, PA
Downing-Frye - Naples, FL
Golf Community Real Estate Specialist

Morning Mike, well said!  If you believe you can be the top dog you can get there with hard work, determination, positive attitude and perseverance. Have a great day!

Dec 16, 2018 07:10 AM #15
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Prado Real Estate South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Effective teamwork helps to build the foundation of your business strong and you have managed that well Mike. The quote by Thomas Paine, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." comes to mind too! Mush! Mush!

Dec 16, 2018 07:37 AM #16
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hey Mike:

That’s a terrific quote. A new one to me but a pretty powerful message and an excellent analogy.


Dec 16, 2018 03:10 PM #17
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Hello Mike

To become the lead dog you must first learn to follow THEN once that is learned you can become the lead dog so you can encourage those behind you

Dec 16, 2018 06:48 PM #18
Diana Zaccaro
Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

That has always been a favorite quote of mine and reminds me of why it's important to keep moving forward.

Dec 16, 2018 09:17 PM #19
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