A friend and colleague recently shared a quote she ran across:
“I can’t believe what you say because I see what you do.” – James Baldwin
This quote should haunt every one of us. If we believe this, we must conclude that our integrity… our character… our credibility has little or nothing to do with what we say, but is everything about what we do. Let’s look at a few examples that strike me:
- It matters more with how you treat your spouse than what you say — Doing the little things, day-after-day means more than a good word, here and there. Things you actually are more meaningful than things you promise to do. Talking about your love for your spouse is good, but showing it demonstrates you really mean it. When it comes to your love for your spouse, actions speak infinitely louder than words.
- Being a friend means doing more than you may ever get credit for doing — A true friend doesn’t expect or even want payback. Doing what a friend needs, simply because they are your friend matters infinitely more than claiming you are a friend, but not showing it. A true friend calls when a call is needed; provides a hand when it isn’t expected; and lends an ear when things get desperate.
- How you treat others matters — I’m sure you’ve seen the quote, “I was raised to treat the janitor with the same respect that I treat the CEO.” In my view, the level of kindness you show to strangers is the best measure of your integrity. You can say all day long that you care for others, but the kindness that others experience at your hand demonstrates your true heart.
- Living the right way leaves an indelible mark on those around you — It is true that your kids learn more about life from watching you than by listening to you. This is also true for leadership… it is much more about what you do than what you say. You have seen this quote here before, “Pardon me, but your actions are speaking so loudly that I can’t hear your words.” A life lived right matters.
This leads me to Henson’s Corollary to the Baldwin quote above:
“I believe what you say simply because I see what you do.”
Today might be a good day to consider how well your actions match your words. Have a truly splendid day! Thanks for all you do to make this a better world.