A few months ago I watched someone shoot himself in the foot multiple times. Luckily not literally with a gun, but that’s how it felt. He was giving a presentation to a corporate audience and he spoke several times in a way that degrading to his persona. It is one thing to make fun of yourself by narrating a story about you to someone or an audience, but it is something else to just say degrading thing about yourself just because that’s how you feel. Because I was reading the listening (body language) of the audience during that presentation, I could they were insensitive to that, it had no positive impact on them.
After I had witnessed that situation, I went on for several weeks speaking to people about how it was important not to speak in a degrading way about ourselves when addressing a group of people. Here is the irony, yesterday I gave a presentation at the Orange County Speakers Bureau and without realizing, I shot myself in the foot several times. When I was done with the presentation and it came to my awareness that I had shot myself, I began to reflect and felt really bad about not walking my talk.
A leader is someone who has any degree of influence on the action of others. You are a leader. As a leader, it is important to walk your talk, practice what you preach. Here are three reasons why I believe you must practice what you preach:
- Credibility: The best of us are almost exposed to the most criticism. If you are interested in making an impact in your circles of influence, you must be credible. You build credibility by leaving a track record of someone who does what encourages others to do.
- Self-esteem: When no one is watching and you retreat to your little corner by yourself at the end of a long day, nothing beats the feeling of knowing that you practiced what you preach. Your self-esteem is how high you regards yourself. If your actions are not consistent with your words, you will not hold yourself in high regards. That will in turn diminish the quality of your interactions with others.
- Effective communications: most humans learn by observing, by watching, not by listening. Babies don’t know how to speak at the time they develop the ability to walk. They learn how to walk by watching other humans around them walk. As evidence, if you leave a newborn baby among a heard of monkeys and you never expose him to another human being, there are chances that baby will never walk.
Practice what you preach. I am reminded of that today and I hope my reflection helps you. What do you think is the most important reason why we must walk our talk?
Day 2 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 469 words.