Most of us have probably heard the phrase, “do as I say, not as I do” at some point in our lives. Often times, this phrase is associated with parents who want their kids to do or not do something, while at the same time excusing themselves to do or not do that exact thing.
The phrase, “do as I say, not as I do” is really just saying, “follow my advice, not my example.” On the positive side, advice is great when given in the right context, with the right intentions (granted, I know people can mistakenly give bad advice even with the right intentions, but for the sake of this article, we’ll assume we are referring to good, sound advice here). As a Digital Problem Solver, my job is to help people use the right technology the right way. This role comes with a lot of advice. Because the people I’m helping, the people like you, are busy doing what you do best. You’re not spending your time figuring out the technology you need to do what you do, you’re just doing what you do.
For me, I love helping my clients. I love learning about your heart, goals and dreams with your projects. I love doing what I do behind the scenes so that people like you can go from idea/vision to practical steps of actually making that happen with technology. So that’s what I do. I give you advice. I tell you what the right technology is for your project, and then I teach you how to use it the right way. Now, this might sound good at first blush. I mean, I want to help my clients and give them good advice, what’s wrong with that? Right? But if we look a little deeper, I’m actually making a crucial mistake here.
I was talking with a friend recently, and we were talking about writing. We were talking about sharing your voice, your advice and expertise, and how what you have to say can help people. At one point, she looked at me and kindly, but sternly said, “You know, you tell all your clients to do this stuff, but you never do. Write it. Publish it. Tell people about it.” This was one of those mic drop moments. She called me out, and I’m really glad she did because it got me thinking. Helping people with my advice is a good thing, but I don’t want to serve people with a glass that’s half full. I want to serve people with a glass that’s overflowing.
I’ve had good intentions when working with any of my clients. I’ve helped a lot of people start businesses, organizations and passion projects. I’ve helped a lot of people learn how to use technology effectively. But, even the best intentions can miss the mark. I missed the mark by giving my clients a glass that was only half full, instead of overflowing. I’ve been asking everyone I’ve worked with to “follow my advice, not my example.”
Remember how I said I would rather focus on your digital strategy, than work on my own? That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve been focusing on your projects and not showing up on my own. I’ve been giving you good advice, and not taking that advice for myself. I’m always happy to answer the questions my clients have brought to the table over the years, but what about when you don’t ask? What about when you don’t know what to ask? What if instead, I answered questions before they were asked? What if I provided resources that helped to answer questions you didn’t even realize you had?
I’ve helped a lot of people, but maybe I could help more people by enabling them to follow my example, not just my advice.
So to all of my clients whom I have asked to listen to my advice, thank you. Thank you for listening to my advice. Thank you for believing in your dream enough, and believing in me enough to show up and allow me to help you help other people. But also, I want to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for only giving you a glass half full and not a glass overflowing. I’m sorry that I asked you to only follow my advice without giving you a good example to follow as well.
To my friend, thank you. Thank you for telling me what I need to hear even when I don’t like it.
And to everyone I’ve helped and everyone I haven’t had a chance to help yet, this is my commitment to you: I won’t ask you to “do as I say, not as I do.” I won’t ask you to “follow my advice, not my example.” I won’t give you a glass that’s only half full. I will give you good advice AND a good example. I will give you a glass overflowing.
I’ll still be behind the scenes doing what I love to do, helping you bring your vision to reality, but I’m also going to take a more proactive role with the things I coach you to do. I’m going to put out more content and resources to help you navigate using the right technology the right way for your businesses, organizations and passion projects. I’m going to be in your inbox more regularly teaching, asking questions, answering questions and providing useful information to you.
To make the biggest impact, we have to ask the tough questions. Have you been showing up with a glass half full instead of overflowing? Have you been asking people to “do as you say, not as you do?”