Jul 30

Do You Practice What You Preach?

practice what you preach

Do you practice what you preach all the time?

Don’t you just hate it when someone you know evangelizes about something that everyone should avoid doing but end up doing it himself anyway?  This is one of my pet peeves and I’m pretty sure that it is one of yours too but do you have the presence of mind to realize that maybe, you’re also breaking your own code?

It’s not easy to always practice what you preach because sometimes we get too caught up with our emotions that we act without thinking if what we’re doing aligns with what we’re saying and I’ve been guilty of this a couple of times.

Let’s take work environment as an example.  Most of us condemn office gossip because we all know that this is where all the trouble begins.  Someone tells somebody about everything that’s bad about another person until the idea becomes word-of-mouth and soon, everyone in the office knows about it.  What if the person being back-stabbed is you?  How would you react? My best guess is you’re going to look for the person who started it all or your primary suspect and when you finally determine who it is, you’ll talk to a friend or a colleague about how bad an attitude this person has and how awful a human being he or she is.  Isn’t that how this whole thing started?

Practicing what you preach is no simple task.  It takes a considerable amount of self-consciousness and self-awareness because without these, you can easily be breaking the laws you yourself have already established among the people you know.

Here are some insights you may want to keep in mind:


Be careful about the things you say

One of the easiest ways to break your own rules is by being tactless.  It is usually our own words that gets us into trouble especially when we say things this way and do it another way.  If you’re going to say something, do make sure that you believe in what you say and that you do what you say.

People who fail at this are those who we can consider arrogant and all-knowing.  He or she will say anything and everything to impress people, sometimes to the point of lying and exaggerating but cannot deliver come crunch time.

NBA hall of fame and former Boston Celtic Larry Bird wasn’t only famous for his ability to shoot the ball, he was also known for his trash-talking skills.  In the 1986 All-Star Weekend where he was one of the participants for the 3-point shootout, he went to the room where all of the participants waited before the game starts, looked around and said one of the most memorable trash-talk lines I’ve ever heard of:

“I want all of you to know I’m winning this thing.  I’m just looking around to see who’s going to finish up second.”

He went on to win the contest as he predicted.  Call it arrogance but he did exactly what he said he would.

If you know how to “talk the talk”, be sure that you can back your words up and “walk-the-walk.”


Stick to what’s right and just

If you’re always looking to do the right thing, you are less likely to break your own rules.  If you’re the kind of person who always looks to his values and moral code before deciding on something, I don’t see any reason why you should not be practicing what you preach anytime soon.

Those who elect to do good things have a lesser risk of becoming a hypocrite compared to those who doesn’t.

As an example, if someone keeps saying bad things about you, you are less likely to break your own rules if you take the higher ground and pay no attention to it compared to retaliating and not backing down from the enemy.


You will lose people’s trust

Perhaps the best example to make us understand this point is the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  In the story, the boy tricked everyone twice by telling them that the wolf is coming even if it wasn’t and by the time he was already telling the truth, no one believed him.

Not doing what you say amounts for the same thing.  Your inability to align what you say and do will eventually cause you more harm than you have ever expected.  People will stop trusting you and worse, stop believing anything you say because you’ve proven time and again that you’re not a man of action and all you have is a big mouth and a large ego.


Your credibility is on the line

People will lose confidence in you and even refuse to believe you if you don’t practice what you preach.  This is one of the more crucial aspects of doing what you say because failing to do so will not only tarnish your reputation, it will also make people lose their respect towards you.

If you are a boss who have strict guidelines when it comes to punctuality and absenteeism, you better make sure that you apply the same restrictions to yourself too.  If you’ve been telling people to always come on time and be always present at work, you should do your best to be always on time and present as well.

Lead by example so others may follow.


Practicing what you preach is very important especially for people who are in leadership positions because being on top puts you in a microscope.  Everyone’s eyes are on you and on your every action.  People are keenly waiting for you to make a mistake and one of the fatal mistakes you can commit is failing to abide by your own policies.

Have you ever broken your own rules or standards before that made people see you as someone who doesn’t practice what he or she preaches?

I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below.


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Noel Rosos

About Noel Rosos

Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions

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