“Actions speak louder than words.” You’ve heard that one before, right?
Here are a few other quotes that I’d like you to take a moment and think on before you read on:
“Tell the world what you intend to do, but first show it.” – Napoleon Hill
“Great speech is impassioned; small speech cantankerous.” – Chuang Tzu
“Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know.” – Lao Tzu
“See what a man does. Mark his motives. Examine in what things he rests. How can a man conceal his character?’ – Confucius
“The fear of loss leads to the dark side… Train yourself to let go of everything that you fear to lose.” – Yoda
Before you run off, I am not going to get preachy on you, so don’t worry. I refuse to write like a father speaks to a child. Instead, I am going to break each one of those quotes down and share what they mean for my life and my business–and how I feel that I have been out of balance with them.
The words that follow are rough for me to share, but perhaps you can learn from my flaws–and perhaps journaling them here will help make them more real for me.
Without further ado…
“Tell the world what you intend to do, but first show it.”
We all set out on projects with the best of intentions. Heck, look at everything that I’ve started since I started this blog in September. I set about writing a manifesto (which I promptly abandoned because I was not yet ready). I started The Lifestyle MBA (which is currently on the back burner as I work with my awesome beta program participants to totally redesign the course).
Both of these things seemed like wonderful ideas at the time, but seeds of altruism were quickly tainted with traces of selfishness. When I planned my manifesto, I had hoped that millions of people would read it and be inspired to break free from their uninspiring nine to five jobs, but a deeply rooted desire for popularity twisted my words somewhere between my heart and my fingertips as they danced across my keyboard. The Lifestyle MBA was rooted in service to help people become better at business, but its format was shaped by business goals, not actual results.
And so neither of them came to fruition. It weighs heavily on my shoulders the fact that I have made such public promises and I have not been able to see them through, but it is a great relief that I recognized my transgressions and corrected them before my selfishness took over.
And so, rather than telling the world how great I am at helping people build businesses and live better lives, I am going to spend my time doing it and letting my work speak for itself. I believe that I do a fair job here on The Tao of Rob, but it’s back to the drawing board for The Lifestyle MBA. Loyal readers like Angel, Julie, and others have stepped up to help build the program, and I’m indebted to them for their service–thanks, guys.
“Great speech is impassioned; small speech is cantankerous.”
Impassioned: (n.) ardent: characterized by intense emotion.
Simon Sinek, a speaker from whom I draw a great deal of inspiration, says that there are two ways to create business. You can either manipulate people into buying–through sales, promotions, marketing, and such–or you can inspire them to take action.
I believe it to be no coincidence that impassioned and inspirational feel much the same as they roll off the tongue and escape the lips. Say them out loud, one after the other, and you’ll see what I mean.
I’d like to think I do a good job of this in the posts that I share on the blog. What you don’t see, however, are the dozens of posts that I write and trash because they’re uninspired. I begin writing a “how to” post or a “ten easy steps to whatever” post and, after I get halfway through, I think to myself, “Would I want to read this crap?”
I believe that the state of blogging would be much different if every blogger had to write with passion, letting words flow from his or her heart. I believe that the world would be different if every single person on Earth would stop and consider his or her motivations before speaking and think, “Is this something that will help my fellow man grow? Or is it something that will contribute to the negativity that runs rampant among us?”
“Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know.”
Oh, my… What to say about lip service? This sort of ties in to the last one… Of the posts that I choose not to publish, many come from a place of conjecture or theory. I find myself in a position where I feel that I have to publish something and I just pick a topic that’s been on my mind.
Like I said… Those posts never get published. To write about something that I have not lived is to do, my fair reader, a disservice, and I will have no part in it.
As Lao Tzu also says, “Teaching without words and working without doing are understood by very few.” I choose to teach didactically, though stories and metaphor. Those who read my blog regularly, I believe, do so because they can read between the lines and they glean the lessons therein. I refuse to be a blogger who shares petty information. I refuse to be a coach who claims to know it all. I refuse to give advice on problems that I have not dealt with in my own life.
From time to time, ever, I find myself slipping away from virtue and share petty words. Help keep me accountable. Call me on my bullshit. I can usually tell when I’m on the right track; my web traffic goes up, you guys leave comments… I can also usually tell when I’ve missed the mark. You spend less time on my site. You breeze through the posts. I fail to draw you in.
By the way, are you hooked yet?
“See what a man does. Mark his motives. Examine in what things he rests. How can a man conceal his character?”
This goes back to the first quote. Tell the world what you intend to do, but first show it. Actions speak louder than words.
Nearly everything that I have learned about business I have learned by watching. Seldom can you learn from a book what you can learn from watching a successful business person. What he says? Worthless. Watch how he carries himself. Listen to the words he uses. See how he treats people. Then you will see his true character.
This is one of the reasons that I have taken my business from the office to the web. Not only can I reach more people, but I can rely on the public to keep me accountable.
“The fear of loss leads to the Dark Side… Train yourself to let go of everything that you fear to lose.”
Clinging to an outcome will inevitably lead to your demise. I learned this lesson the hard way with The Lifestyle MBA. As I created the marketing materials, and as I built the content for the course, I became more and more invested in the outcome–a solid course with a gazillion subscribers. The more I worked, the more that I had to lose, and I pushed hard to get it out there.
Coincidentally, only the most loyal of my readers joined, for they, I believe, were seizing the opportunity to work with me. The product is unimportant. The result is all that matters. Those who have chosen to work with me have put their faith in me to be committed to their success–and I will not let them down.
By creating a product that stood a chance to failing, I found myself weak. I pushed. I tried to sell a product that had no clear purpose, no clear target market. I did everything that I advise my clients not to do, because I feared my work would be in vain.
But alas, it wasn’t too late to let go. And next time The Lifestyle MBA comes around, it will be a program that I am proud to offer my readers.
What are you doing to identify where you’re weak? How are you working on those areas to help you grow?
Leave a comment below or shoot me an email. I’d really like to know what’s on your mind.