Three Essential Rules To Ensure That You Always Walk Your Talk
“People may doubt or question what you say. . . but will believe what you do.”
I remember when I first read the above statement, and how it immediately made me think “do my actions align with my words?”
Or to put it another way, do I “walk my talk?”
It is one of those questions that is simple, and for which there is an obvious answer.
While it would at this point be easy to fall into an “actions speak louder than words” commentary – which of course is true – it is much more important to take a personal inventory of what we do and how it aligns with what we say.
In this regard, there are three definitive rules for being able to walk your talk.
Rule No. 1 – Choose The True You Over The Expectations Of Others
What do people expect of you?
This is an important question in that more often than not you get defined and confined (or boxed in), by the expectations that others place on you based on theirperception of who you are.
Problems occur when you buy into someone else’s perception of who you are and/or what you can do.
You are in essence walking someone else’s talk.
If you are indeed letting others define you, then you have to find your own voice, no matter the risk.
When I talk about risk, I am referring to how people may react when you step forward to assert your real self. Some might be fully supportive, while others will resist changing their long-held beliefs as to who they think you are.
In this latter instance, you must stand firm, because anyone who does not support the real you, is doing so for their own purposes and best interests – not yours.
In the end, when you embrace the real you, you will not only become free to accomplish more within the framework of your own abilities and expectations, you will achieve a true alignment between what you say and what you do.
Rule No. 2 – Speak Your Mind
How many times have you remained silent against your better judgement?
How did it make you feel?
A long time ago, a dear friend’s father offered the following advice that has stayed with me to this day . . . say what you mean, and mean what you say.
Within these simple words is a powerful truth. You cannot walk your talk, if you do not talk your talk.
The fact is, it takes courage to speak your mind. It is like telling the emperor they are not wearing any clothes. You might be criticized for breaking from the pack of bobble-head consensus. Depending on the culture of your organization, you might be ostracized or, in the worst case scenario, fired.
However, and this is a possibility as well, you might also be applauded for your willingness to stand by your convictions, and state your beliefs in a sincere and confident manner. I have seen people gain a promotion through expressing their honest opinion.
Think about this last point for just a moment. I can only wonder what the emperor in the classic tale said to his “trusted,” high level advisers back at the castle, when he returned from his public humiliation. What do you think he said?
The point is, whatever the outcome, being known as a person who tells it like it is with both humility and integrity, will inevitably make you a valued member of any organization committed to excellence and success.
Of even greater importance, it will ensure the continuous alignment of your actions with your words, and with it your creditability.
Rule No. 3 – Embrace Your Own Version Of Gump
Have you ever seen the movie Forest Gump?
The premise is wonderfully simple and sentimental.
Gump is a man who goes through life riding the waves of the changing fortunes of a chaotic world, in complete innocence. He is oblivious to his presence and impact on history’s greatest events. His success in life is based on his surrendering to circumstances as opposed to managing them.
In today’s fast-paced, hard driving business world, such sentiments are not only frowned upon, but usually subject to derision. After all, you make your own luck through hard work and intense planning. You don’t get to where you want to go, based on being a feather in the wind.
But here is the thing . . . Gump was being true to who he was.
He wasn’t trying to manipulate situations or for that matter himself, to fit a particular event.
Gump was just . . . Gump.
Often times, your talk and or walk can be challenged by circumstances. While I am not suggesting that you become inflexible in the face of needed change, you should also never compromise in terms of being your authentic self.
To walk your talk – to really walk your talk, you must always remain true to who you are , and for what you stand.