by LAURIE on JANUARY 26, 2010
“Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox
My daughter Claire and I sat together at the kitchen table. She was coloring, and I checking bills and doing other busywork that was more annoying than not. She was 3.
“Mommy”, she said. “Can you draw me a cow?”
“No Claire,” I answered, not looking up as to stick with the task at hand. “I don’t know how to draw a cow.”
Without skipping a beat, she nudged me, crayon in hand, and asked again.
“Please, Mommy, can you draw me a cow? Please? Right here.” She pointed at an open space on her paper and looked at me, waiting patiently.
“Not now, Claire. I’m busy. And I don’t know how to draw a cow.” She stared at me for a few moments.
“PLEASE Mommy”, she insisted. And I stopped what I was doing, looked at her point blank and said “Claire. I would love to help you. But right now I am busy, and I already told you – I have no idea how to draw a cow.”
She shamelessly stared me down, as 3 year olds so often do. I could almost see the wheels turn behind those huge brown eyes, and she said to me…
“Mommy, can you try? You always say that I can do anything if I try.” And she was right. Since the day she was born I whispered in her ear that the world was her oyster… that she could have anything her little heart desired in life if only she would try … if she would go for it and not think about limitations. It was like our own little secret, that whisper, and until today, she had no reason not to believe me.
I looked back at her, knowing at that moment that I could do one of two things. I could keep on with my busywork and ignore what I had been instilling in my daughter for so long. Or I could try to draw, as silly as it sounds, a cow… I could destroy her faith in me and her growing faith in her self by neglecting to live by my own words… Or, I could show her that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I chose the latter.
So, I took the crayon from her tiny hand, and I drew a sorry little cow. I am by no means an artist, but she thought my cow was beautiful. That was 11 years ago. And that was the day that I learned how important it is to walk my talk.
While that lesson was learned in a totally innocent way in an exchange between mother and daughter, I have realized over the years that it was priceless, not only in life but in business as well. Here’s why.
There are thousands of people coming online daily, many of them looking for a way to make extra, or a full time income online. We call them ‘newbies’. Looking at it objectively, Claire was my ‘newbie’ and by my own words, and actions, I could make or break her. (Not to say that newbies are equivalent to 3 year olds, but you get my drift.)
So many people come online with eyes wide open, with expectations, dreams, and hope for the future…. And many times, sad but true, dreams are shattered, and lives destroyed.
If you have been in business online (or off) for any amount of time, think about it…How many times have you encountered people, who do not walk their talk, or worse yet, have no intention of trying? People who are trying to sell or ‘teach’ you something, that have no idea that the concept of walking their talk even exists? Better yet, how many times have you cut the check, thinking that the person you are dealing with will actually do what they said they would, only to have them disappear when it’s time to toe their own line?
I used to roll by the premise to trust until I have a reason not to. Sadly, with some of the characters I’ve encountered, I now have to think the other way around. I’d bet there are a lot of people out there thinking just like me. And unfortunately, this ruins it for the good guys. (And there are a lot of good guys out there as well.) In turn, these good guys have to work double time to defend themselves against crimes they never committed! And the ones that just don’t get it, the ones who take the money and run without giving it a second thought, they ruin whole industries with the flip of a switch.
In my humble opinion, to run a legitimate business, walking your talk is your only real option. You have to know who you are, what you are doing, believe in it, and live by it. These days more than ever, people on the ‘net have their bullshit detectors running overtime. And with good reason…
As the late Michael Jackson said… “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch girl…”
But sadly, maybe sometimes it does. Don’t be the bad apple. Learn your talk. Be your talk. Then, walk it…
As for me, I learned a lot sitting at the kitchen table that one day so many years ago. There’s a lot to be said about what you can learn from kids… and cows?
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