I’m a bit of a loud guy from a loud family. I try to catch myself from being inappropriately loud in the wrong place at the wrong time, but hell… I can’t monitor myself that closely all the time. That would be impossible… and really no fun. So screeeeewwww that. Let the decibels ring forth!
However, there are many ways where I am decidedly quiet. Certain things I deem more important to be private or quiet about. If I were to try and give you clear guidelines about what falls onto this list, I think I would come up woefully short of an apt description. Just something about being so out front about these things can just feel… I dunno… unseemly. That’s the word that best captures it.
I think that’s why this image I saw recently (and I wish I could remember which friend posted it to give them proper credit), it struck me so powerfully.
I’m not really one to tout my own praises or merits or great successes, although I have certainly done it a few times in the moment. Lord knows when I finished Tough Mudder in 2012 I was all kinds of fired up and proclaimed that loudly and proudly on my Facebook wall. But that’s very much an exception to the rule for this more retiring cowpoke.
It’s just that this image captures so many great messages, but in sticking with the most obvious, it’s about what you do and not just what you say. Of course what you say can have a positive impact on people – some can inspire others to spectacular feats with their words.
But more often that not? Be more about the doing than the speaking.
I’ve had people come to me for various kinds of career advice and this is usually my #1 piece of feedback. The questions tend to be about networking and who they should set up meetings with and who they need to get to know and what teams and titles they should have. I admire their passion, their desire to advance themselves forward. Passion is a beautiful commodity and if you have it, hold onto it and nurture it (positively).
My response always tends to be the same: “Those things are all good… but you know what gets you noticed most? What gets you furthest in life and work? Consistently kicking ass at what you do.”
Occasionally my remark gets a blank response back as if to say, “Thanks Captain Obvious… I already knew that. I needed something else…”
Except… you didn’t need something else. You really needed to get down to putting boots to backsides. It’s a good reminder for me as well whenever I begin to think about where I want to be going. If I cannot answer… in detail… about what I am trying to do to kick ass for whatever definition of success I am seeking, then I’m clearly not on the right track.
As the bard of our era… Usher, of course… once sang “Don’t talk about it, be about it.” And as horrified as I am to quote Usher, it’s a succinct way of seeing it.
In the end, Mr. Ocean puts it even better. As loud, passionate and eloquent as your voice may be, your methodical daily grind of work will always produce a sweeter song.