I’ve been on the receiving end of some hollow words lately.
I won’t go into detail, but my experience included significant work and follow-through on my end—work and time and even an investment in collateral that ultimately went unpaid and, most notably, devalued. It was so disappointing, and it made me second-guess the integrity of the person who asked for the work in the first place.
It got me thinking about the importance of showing it, of backing up our words with actions.
Talking about how we’ll show up for others is the easy part. All we have to do is say it.
Actually showing up for them is harder. It requires a sacrifice of resources, most notably of our time and maybe even of our money. But the sacrifice is where the proof is—proof that your words mean something, that you’re a person of character.
So when it comes to supporting our words with actions, here are a few ways you can really show it.
Open doors if you can.
If you say you want to help others professionally or personally, show it by creating opportunities for them. Consider bringing lower level people into meetings so they can learn. Make beneficial introductions on behalf of clients, colleagues, friends, and connections.
For example, a friend and fellow coach of mine recently mentioned that she’d like to pick up a few more speaking engagements. So when I got a lead on a speaking gig that wasn’t a good fit for me, I asked her if she was interested, and she thanked me for the support.
Lend a hand (without being asked).
It’s not always easy to ask for help, but it is easy to notice when others need it. Tune in to what your colleagues, friends, and family members are struggling with. Can you lighten their load without them having to ask?
Years ago, I was going through a divorce and feeling overwhelmed. The leaves in my back yard were piling up, and I just didn’t have it in me to rake them. I mentioned it in passing to a friend, and the next thing I knew, he was there with rakes, a leaf blower, and bags so we could tackle it together. I’ll never forget it.
Invest your time, talent, and/or treasure.
What matters to you? Do you care deeply about extreme poverty? Education? Supporting a friend who just started a business? Think about the causes, businesses, and people you want to pour into, and consider what resources you can expend to show it.
I have a client who is really focused on sustainability and being good to the earth. I recently saw her out to lunch, and she had brought a cloth napkin, reusable utensils, and a glass water bottle. THAT is walking the talk, friends.
What you do will always be more important than what you say. So say it, yes. But, more importantly, show it.
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