The Being & The Doing EPISODE 23:
How to Walk Your Talk to Greater Success
Do you walk your talk? It’s how people decide whether you are credible or not. All of us get out of alignment where our words and actions don’t line up. In this episode we take a look at why it’s important for your ducks to be in a row and how to close the gap between what we say and what we do.
*A full transcript is at the bottom of this page.
How to Create Guiding Principles for Life
It’s easier to walk your talk if you have some personal rules to help guide your choices.
Give this blog a read to get started on your own guiding principles.
Walk your Talk Reflection or Journaling Questions
When our words and choices line up we walk our talk.
Here are some great questions that can help you get clearer about your core values:
Pause periodically in your day and ask “What core value am I honoring right now?”
When you feel frustrated or irritated, ask “What’s the most important value for me to remember in this moment?”
Or “What value is being trampled on that makes me feel irritated?”
How Coaching Helps
Exploring your core values can be a more meaningful experience if you have someone guiding the process. I would love to help you do that, or work with you to stay in better alignment walking your talk. Check out how you and I can start working together.
This Episode’s Homework
Something to think about:
What impact would it have if you as an individual walked your talk?
How would that make a difference to the people that you encounter every day?
Something to try:
Choose a core value and make it the word of the day. Then filter your decisions and choices through that value.
For example, if you choose compassion, look for opportunities to bring it to life throughout the day – from the moment you get up, on your drive to work, at the grocery store etc.
BE compassion for a day.
You can grab your FREE homework Awareness & Action guide HERE
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CREDITS: The Being & The Doing podcast is produced by Neela Bell. Voiceovers by Jason Harris. Music is GoodMorning Sunshine by Yoav Alyagon and Firefly by Scott Buckley.
Full Transcript of the Show
Laurel: Hey, lovely ones. Welcome to Episode 23 of The Being and The Doing. My mother was not a motivational speaker and she wasn’t a life coach, but she could have been because she used to say a lot of things that were pretty wise. She had all these sayings that were repeatedly drilled into me when I was a kid and they were essentially her guiding principles in sort of this down-home kind of way. She would say things like, ‘What goes around comes around’; which was her version of karma. Or sometimes she would say, ‘The chickens always come home to roost’; which was her version of choices always have consequences so look out. But she also used to say to ‘get your ducks in a row’, which meant make sure that things line up right. You know, basically, it was her version of doing what you say and say what you do or walk your talk.
So today we are going to tackle this topic of walking your talk and getting your ducks in a row and why it is so very important and why it can be a real challenge. Now, most kids at one time or another experienced their parents saying, do as I say, and the subtext of that command is usually not what I do. So think back. Do you remember a time when you were told one thing, perhaps ‘never tell a lie’ and then you watched as the truth was fudged? Maybe, you know, I don’t know, to avoid an invitation that they didn’t want to accept, but that creates a little confusion, you know, and it probably got on your nerves a little bit or even made you feel a little bit rebellious. Even my mom sometimes did not have her ducks quite lined up.
Now fast forward to your grownup world. Your friend says, Oh, I really want to spend time with you, but always has some reason for why you can’t get together. And after a while, you’re pretty sure that that’s not really all that important to the friend. So it’s easy to recognize those big in your face infractions of misaligned words and actions or huge violations of values. Well, we have examples of corporations and politicians that are doing that all the time, but it’s often the subtle misalignment, where our ducks are not in a row in our own lives that slowly eats away at our credibility. So things like my health is so important, but I don’t have time to exercise or eat right or I spend too much time at work, but it’s all for my family. Or I can’t really afford to buy this, but I want i anyway.
Because getting your ducks in a row is all about aligning your words and your actions. Doing what you say you were going to do, making sure that your choices actually reflect what is what you say is most important; walking your talk. Now, you know that seems like a pretty straightforward thing, doesn’t it? Walking your talk that your actions should reflect what you say is important. So how come we don’t? Well, I think one of the really big reasons that we don’t walk our talk is that we haven’t spent enough time figuring out what our talk actually is. Because our talk is a reflection of our core values.
So let’s define core values. You know, it’s kind of one of those words that gets thrown around a bit core values, but what does that actually mean? Well, core values are the principles and traits and qualities that are particularly meaningful to you. They are the drivers for our behavior. They reflect what is supposedly our highest priorities. Now there are all different kinds of values. Like there are cultural values, but there are also deeper individual values. Because sometimes we live in a culture that might hold a value that is not quite in alignment with what perhaps our individual values. And you know, if you Google list of core values, you’re going to get a list with like a bazillion words on it, not all of them are going to be deeply meaningful to you. There are gonna be lots that are like, yeah that and that and that.
But it’s being able to figure out which ones are deeply meaningful to you. And there’s no kind of A list and B list. There’s no judgment around, Oh, you know, trust is more important than respect or love is more important than justice. No, it’s really what resonates with you, deeply meaningful to you as an individual. And I’ll say that I think most people are not clear at all about what their core values are. Not unless they’ve actually done some values exploration work. So instead of walking their talk, many people go about their days, kind of call it ‘stumbling their mumble’. Because they’re pretty vague about what it is that’s truly important to them. You know, they kind of maybe sort of know in a general sense the values that matter most in their lives.
So if you were to ask them to talk about them or list their core values, their most important values, they’d kind of mumble something about family health and maybe world peace and all good things but core values are more intricate than that. They’re not just these giant all-encompassing words. And we often overlook values, other values that are actually highly motivating to us personally. So when we’re not clear about what these values are, we’re not really clear about what’s driving us. Well then making choices or creating boundaries, this is really difficult. So you stumble about and then you get distracted by things that aren’t really all that important and you quite likely might ignore the things that actually are. Because what happens when you mumble, nobody can really understand what you’re saying. And what happens when you stumble? Well, repeatedly, at some point you are going to fall flat on your face. And what happens to your credibility when you are stumbling your mumble rather than walking your talk? Your credibility gets eroded.
So what? Why does that matter? Well, when you don’t align your words and actions, your credibility is weakened and then, people lose trust in you. Little by little by little. So let’s think about your family. When you say one thing and do another or when there’s a vagueness about what is really important and how we make choices and decisions, credibility as parents weaken. And what happens when your credibility as a parent is weak? While there’s a lot of pushback. Or think about your credibility with your partner, your spouse, mixed messages, all the time, we’re getting mixed messages. Think about your credibility at work with your coworkers and your boss. Yeah, I’ll get that done. I’ll get that done. I’ll get that done; Why didn’t you get that done? I know it’s important. I’ll get that done and I didn’t really get that done. Credibility gets eroded.
And we know that. Leadership research shows us that that credibility piece, that integrity piece ranks really high on the leadership scale. We need to believe that our leaders, whether they are leaders in our families or in our communities or at work, are trustworthy, are worth to be following. But here’s the other thing that maybe you haven’t really thought about: You start to lose credibility with yourself because you know, yeah, yeah, I talk a good talk, but my actions don’t actually back it up. And so we have this inner sense of, there’s a little bit of hypocrisy going on there. Yes, I say that’s important, but really I don’t actually do that. And so over time, you can begin to lose respect and confidence in yourself. And then we often don’t think about that impact, right? We think about, Oh, okay, fine. I need to have credibility with, you know, my family and my coworkers and my boss and my friends. Okay, I get that. But we miss that piece about, I need to have credibility with myself because if I’m not in alignment, if my words and actions don’t line up, if my choices are not primarily driven by those core values, then that creates a real sense of stress.
Because you know what happens when things are out of alignment? Like the ride is a little bumpy. So there’s this sense of dissatisfaction that maybe something is missing. And so we begin to actually lose confidence in ourself. You know, credibility is a critical element in any kind of relationship. And like what isn’t a relationship that you’re in, right? You’re in a relationship not just with your significant other person but you’re in a relationship with everyone in your family and your friends and your community and you’re in a relationship with your coworkers and your work and everything is about a relationship. And if we don’t have credibility in our relationships, we don’t trust. So think about companies, right? Like think about companies who don’t walk their talk. Well we don’t trust them, right? Saying, yeah, I’m not sure how I feel about supporting that company because you know, yeah, the customer is number one, but no, not really. It doesn’t feel that way.
Before you feel too discouraged here because I don’t want you to think like, Oh, no, I have no credibility. I don’t want you to think of it that way. I don’t want you to get too discouraged about it because I want to tell you one really important thing about whether or not your ducks are in a row. We are all out of alignment at one time or another, no one walks their talk perfectly. We have core values that sometimes compete with each other so it’s hard to honor this value and honor that value at the same time. And we are human beings, we have flaws. So let me say that again: No one walks their talk perfectly. We don’t always make the best choices in every moment, we’re human.
But the key, the really important piece is to be conscious of that fact that we get pulled out of alignment all the time. So what we want to do is know what our talk is and then pay attention to when we’re not walking it so that we can be continually pulling ourselves back into alignment or closer into alignment. Not that we all won’t be out of alignment, of course, you will. But are we aware of that? And then making some different choices that pull us back into alignment again.
So here are some ideas, some ways for you to begin getting your ducks in a row. So start by doing a little work to clarify what your personal core values are and remembering there’s no good ones or bad ones. It’s not like you must pick these things and if you don’t pick that well, Oh dear, there’s something wrong there. You want to understand the ones that are most meaningful to you and once you have a better understanding of them, then you can begin to make more conscious choices about how you spend your time and energy. So you really need to know, and if your answer to that question, what are your core values? And you answer family health and maybe world peace, okay, let me tell you, there’s some work to be done there. Because think about it, family, like that’s not really a value. What is it about family that’s important? Is it love or is it connection or is it legacy? I don’t know what. There’s more richness there that can help you to understand what is deeply motivating to you.
Core values work is some of the most impactful time that I spend with coaching clients. It’s a really multilayered conversation that takes a bit of work to actually get to the heart of what is important to you. And not just in those over generalized terms but in a deeply meaningful way. Because then, once you have a better sense of that, then it becomes easier to be able to know which choices, which actions, line up behind that.
Now the second idea is pick one core value because you don’t have to figure them all out all at one time. Begin by getting clear about one value that really rings true for you. So it might be personal excellence or it might be compassion or integrity or respect or joy or I have no idea. Now what you can do is identify that and even if you’re not sure, it’s like you can play with it. Like how does it feel if I kind of take that on? So bring that value with you for the day. Let it be your constant companion and use it to make decisions about how you’re spending your time and how you’re interacting with your family and your coworkers and perhaps your customers or how you’re engaging with strangers.
So think of it this way. Okay, today, I am wearing the coat of this value and I’m going to use it consciously to help me make choices and then see how that feels. Sometimes it’ll be, yeah, okay that was cool. But you know, that wasn’t like the deeply meaningful one to me and maybe you’re going to test a different one out.
Here’s another idea. Another way that you can begin paying attention to your core values is to write a list of guiding principles. I wrote a whole blog on this so I’ll leave the link in the show notes to you. But in general, think of guiding principles as sort of kind of the operational statements of your core values. So they’re sort of your rules to live by and sometimes that’s an easier way to begin to have that core values conversation. So if you were to write down the list of, you know, what are my rules for living or guiding principles, what would they be? That can often give us insight into your values.
And here’s the fourth idea; begin asking yourself some really key questions throughout the day. So you can stop periodically and ask yourself a question like, Hmm, what core value am I honoring right now? Or when you feel frustrated or irritated, you could ask what’s the most important value for me to remember in this moment? Sort of calling on that better part yourself. Or what value is being trampled on that makes me feel irritated? Because often when we feel irritated or angry about things, it’s because we feel that one of our values is being infringed on.
Now here’s the thing. In the beginning, it might seem like getting your ducks in row is a bit like herding cats and like everything, it’s an ongoing process. So, you know, values exploration is a thing that you can engage in. You know, it’s part of the lifelong journey. We all get out of alignment and the key is just to continually deepen our understanding of our values so that we can make more conscious choices that more closely reflect our values as we understand them.
Okay, let me leave you with a little homework, something to think about, something to try. I’ll leave the homework in the show notes. There’s also a link there for you to grab the action and awareness guide that has the note-taking sheet to help you with this activity. Okay, so here it goes. Something to think about. What impact would it have if you as an individual walked your talk? That if you were actually in perfect alignment, how would that make a difference to the people that you encounter every day?
Now something to try. Choose a core value. Don’t obsess about which one, pick something. And if you’re not sure, like Google the list of core values, pick something and make it your word of the day and then filter all your decisions and choices through that value. So, for example, if you chose compassion, you’re going to look for opportunities to bring it to life throughout the day.
So from the moment you get up, on your drive to work, at the grocery store, et cetera, be compassionate for the day. Now, remember, it is a pretty powerful thing to see someone who’s clear about their values and then makes choices driven by what is most important to them. Because I guarantee you this, that when you decide to stop mumbling and stumbling about and choose instead to consistently walk your talk, your credibility is going to grow through the roof.
Now before we wrap up, would you do something for me? I would very much appreciate it if you enjoy the podcast to please head over to iTunes and leave a five-star rating and post a comment. You know, I know it doesn’t seem like it matters that much, but it really does help to get the podcast more visible in a very crowded podcast world. And it would be also be great if you could share the show on any of your social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, or just tell your friends because your help in spreading the word is very much appreciated. So that’s it for today. Be sure to subscribe wherever it is that you get your podcast so that you don’t miss the next episode of The Being and The Doing. Until then, lovely ones, I invite you to pause and to breathe and enjoy each and every day.
Outro: You’ve been listening to The Being and The Doing with your host, Laurel Vespi. If you like this episode and think other people would, please, subscribe, rate and give a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to tune in next week for another conversation about The Being and The Doing. Thanks for listening.