So here is a question for you: Do you believe that most people in the world do what they say they are going to do? Do they say what they mean or what they believe others want to hear? What value and trust do you place on the words of others?
I know, those are tough questions! But the reality is most of us probably would not want to hear the answers; especially if they were a reflection of how others view us!
The words we say are more important than most people would seem to believe. The fact is our words create expectations; expectations that are followed by some form of action. The relation of our words and actions equate to our credibility! You either are someone that does what they say or you are not!
So now I ask you a different question, a tougher question; Do YOU do what you say you are going to do? Do people believe you when you begin to speak? Do they count and depend on you? Do they trust you? Do they respect you?
I am finding this to be a very important thing to teach my children; and in fact I have this discussion with young people every chance I get! I found myself being called to work and serve others, be it in my investment business, coaching little league football, my ministries at church or even here on my website. I know that if I am to have any credibility and trust with people, I better damn well do what I say I am going to; without excuses. I have to be honest and say I didn’t always do that, especially in my younger years.
It seems we live in a society where dismissing the truth of someone’s word is becoming more and more a common place. We see it all around us. Whether a politician making empty promises; a couple exchanging life-long vows on their wedding day; a disciplinary threat to our children for misbehaving; a co-worker telling us they got it covered; the list goes on! The painful fact is we are becoming more and more numb to the words people say because frankly we just don’t believe them. But where does that leave us? How can we function in society if in fact we come to a conclusion that all people lie; that the majority of people will not do what they say they are going to? The thing that saddens me the most is not that the majority of people may disappoint me; it’s that they continually disappoint and lie to themselves.
The fact of the matter is we cannot control what others do or say; but we CAN control our words and our actions. True, we could probably never be a very successful politician if we implemented this practice but we could begin setting examples to the next generation; we could begin to build solid relationships built on trust and dependability. Many of us may find ourselves habitually saying things that we believe others want to hear; but don’t forget, at some point in the future you will be expected to come through with whatever it is you spoke. Are you prepared for that? Are you willing to stand up for what you said you believe in? Are you willing to do those “not so easy” things to give yourself the credibility you deserve? It’s tough, but without being a person of character, dignity and trust, our lives become as empty as the words we speak!
Matthew 5:37 states “But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.” In other words, nothing good can ever come from talking out of both sides of your mouth! At some point in time we have to begin to get our actions in line with our promises, not only to others but to ourselves!
Be that person that leads from example; be honest and do the things you say you will do; stand up for those beliefs you hold dear to your heart. Let others know that no matter what, that they can count on you for whatever you say; your YES is a YES and your NO is a NO!
What’s in a word? Whatever value YOU give it!
Way to give appropriate value to the words you speak, Jeff. You may not have the way with words to be a politician (THANK GOD!!!), but you are doing just what you suggest near the end of your post- you lead by example.
I am glad that you serve folks in the many capacities that you do- especially your recent foray into coaching that you didn’t add to your list in the post. Keep up the shining example Mr. Mere. You are a leader in the truest sense of the “word.”
Great post! Words can move mountains. One of my all time favourite sayings is “say what you mean, and mean what you say”
Following that will have others trusting your integrity, and will also have you trusting yourself, which can be just as important.
Thanks for the reminder,
Well, Jeff, the best (in my mind, the only) way to teach your children is to live your life with integrity. As Stephen Covey voiced- honesty is insuring that reality matches your words, but integrity is insuring your words match reality.
And, if you do what you say, if you do the right and moral thing (which is always relative- but you ARE trying to impart your ideals to a relative), then, that’s how they learn to do the same. It’s a hard road- but it’s the one you want your kids to follow- so lead by example!
One of my pet peeves is when people think it is perfectly ok to just not think before saying or doing things. How many times have I silently urged people to stop flapping their jaws and put some energy into achievement?!
You obviously touched a nerve in me this morning, Jeff! Enjoy your thanksgiving!