Deb Sofield


You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do

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You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

I don’t know about you, but one thing in life that really chips me off is when people tell me they are going to do something and then never get around to it.

Now I’m also preaching to myself today because a while back I made of list of things I had promised other people but never got around to. I had to go and make things right. Now some folks had moved on and when I didn’t keep my word they did other things, at that point I could just apologize and move on myself. If someone won’t let me make it right when I offer I am not going to beat myself up over it. I made a mistake and then tried to rectify it. It comes down to simply making time, taking time and creating a space in time to do what I said I would do.

You might have the same issues in your life. We mean well but goodness, life getting in the way crowds out our good intentions and that is my thought for today. I gave this statement a while back in one of my other shows but it keeps popping up in inbox. It must mean that I still have more work to do and the phrase is this: “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

For being so simple it is profound. What I find so interesting is the type of people who hold on to the promise of what we say we’ll do versus others who just chalk it up to life getting in the way if we never get around to doing it. It is good for all of us when our friends don’t hold us accountable for our lapses of commitment.

Children actually hold us accountable to this saying. If you say to your kids with good grades we’ll go eat a cheeseburger and then go to the zoo. A year or two later you will be reminded of what you offered when the report card has good grades. Kids remember our promises as truths—we said it, we promised it – we must deliver or according to them we’ll break their little heart. I even discovered  there are websites dedicated to Lies Our Parents Told Us. Ouch!

And is it is not just kids who keep score. I have found that many of my parents’ generation also expect us to do what we say we’ll do (imagine that). For many, it’s not about a promise but about a honest measure of a man or woman’s worth by keeping their word.

Now here is what I find so interesting. Rarely does someone ask you to make the promise. You make it whether in haste or with the best intentions. You made a commitment, so now you must deliver. Promises made should be promises kept – even the little ones.

I have learned some hard lessons about curbing my tongue on making promises I cannot keep. It’s so easy to be generous until you’ve got to pay the bill, it’s so easy to offer other people’s time until they tell you they cannot help you out. And it’s easy to throw out a big idea but then not have the wherewithal to make it happen. And what is so interesting to me is we all do it with the best intentions but then many of us fail because we never make a start.

So what promises have you made that you have not kept?

  • Did you promise to fix something for somebody?
  • Did you remember to return things your borrowed?
  • Did you repay a loan or pay for a repair?
  • Did you promise to clean out the car, attic, garage, closet, storage unit … that’s costing you a boat load of money monthly – and its full of stuff you can’t remember that you even own?
  • Did you promise to spend more time with the kids, wife, husband, relatives, in-laws, and out-laws?
  • Did you promise to bring flowers home occasionally or a box of hot and now Krispy crème doughnuts?

Because friends – You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do…

The good news is I know there are some listening today who do keep their word in small ways and big ones…and that is great – you have my admiration…

And doesn’t it feel good to do what you say you’ll do or accomplish what you planned to do or finish the job you started. There is no better feeling than of accomplishment.

So, in thinking about You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do…how can I encourage you to get going again, to start or finish.

I’ll do my part weekly to encourage you – BUT you have to step up and do your part… please know I am here cheering you on to do the things you’ve promised to be an encouragement to your amazing life.

We all need to do what we said we’d do. Make the call, send the email, and write the letter to finish what we committed to so many years, months, and days ago.

A while back I was speaking, and a young lady asked me to be her mentor… and I should have had the courage to politely say that I don’t mentor anyone because I can barely keep myself together… but what did I do – I was the bold brash speaker who frankly was too weak to be honest with her and myself… I knew as I was saying that I could probably work with her that I would not have the time due to my travel and speaking schedule… so weeks went by and then a month and another and I finally wrote her an email apologizing for not keeping my end of the bargain… and then I offered a few dates that could meet on Skype. She was going through a transition and was very kind about my apology and offer to connect… but she had found someone closer to her hometown.

I was lucky – she was forgiving – but I made a mistake, and I knew it and I had to make it right… Because I think it is important that my word is my bond…

I’m not asking you to do anything I am not doing myself – so maybe together we can hold each other accountable and keep our word or better yet – here is something I have learned the hard way – I try not to Make A Promise I cannot keep.

Believe or not I have pulled back on my over generous offers so I can be real and reasonable for those times I do offer something to make sure I can keep my word… because if we are judged by what we do, not what we say we’ll do…I have a responsibility to my friends and family and so do you…

So, we’re in a new year with a new month with a world of new opportunity to make right that which we promised, to do what we said we’d do, to go where we said we’d go and to be whom we claimed to be to make our world a better place…

I love the thought for the day – You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do…

So today – let’s get started…

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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