These words are a familiar sight to those who pass by huge community billboards scattered across Mandaluyong City. Whenever I take the Boni Avenue underpass, I am welcomed by the big bold letters of the city’s motto, which in English translates to “Deeds, not words.” It’s a good guiding principle that we can all incorporate into our lives–better to act in silence than make a lot of noise and not accomplish anything.
This made me think about how easy it is to impress people with the spoken word. More so, in the age of social media, lofty declarations and “action plans” can be posted online without really acting on them offline. For a moment you may impress an audience with your words but you can’t fool them for long once they see that you can’t follow through with the words you speak.
In my field of work, I come across a lot of practitioners who are so excellent with the way they communicate but fail in the implementation and application part. When it’s showtime, expect a display of knowledge, pomp and charm but when the lights go out and an audience isn’t listening or watching, you would see how they barely even work on the things they were saying earlier.
Allow me to be honest with you—a few years after graduating from college, I was also more of a SPEAKER than a DOER. Back then I thought that that behavior was acceptable, that people would learn to accept that about me but I realized that NOT DOING what I SPOKE ABOUT OR PROMISED put a dent on my integrity. If I were to get ready for leadership, I had to make sure that I acted on the words I spoke.
Two friends called my attention about that kind of behavior and I realized that when my ACTIONS DO NOT MATCH MY LOFTY WORDS, I am in a way deceiving people—making promises but not fulfilling them. I have then committed to change my ways and I’m grateful because the Lord continues to help me in the process.
Below are some tips on how you can be more of a DOER than just a mere SPEAKER:
1. Don’t make lofty declarations (both spoken and online) unless you have the actions to back it up. Are you saying/posting these things just to garner people’s approval? Are you doing it so that more people would press the LIKE button? Better not to post anything unless you are committed to following through.
2. Just do it! Yes, it’s an overused phrase. When you plan to do something, unless you’re seeking counsel and direction, you don’t have to make a “press release” of what you plan to do. Say for instance, you’re always late and it’s already affecting your work. Your attention has been called about it. Saying “I plan to come earlier” would just be an empty declaration unless you really do it!
3. Discipline yourself. Adapting the habits of a DOER won’t happen overnight but if you are committed to changing yourself, you have to learn discipline.
Borrowing these words from a Chinese proverb:
4. Ask God for help. We have to admit that we cannot fully change ourselves but in our weakness, the Lord will be our strength. He can transform lives, so He can definitely help us change habits that need to be done away with.