Influence is earned through the story you are living. It comes from the life that you have lived to date, and what you are consistently modeling right now. It comes from the fortitude you show in the midst of resistance and struggle.” -Jamie Gilbert
Moved to Action
Last year, a close friend and coworker of mine set out on the challenge of completing an Iron Man.
I always thought he might be a little crazy.
Then he told me everything an Iron Man entailed, and I knew he was crazy!
2.4 mile swim.
112 mile bike.
26.2 mile run.
I really enjoy fitness and nutrition, but his training and diet plan looked like insanity.
The craziest part of it was when he said the training, “gave him energy and helped him to be a better person.”
I don’t know many people who believe that completing a 2 hour workout before they go to work would make them anything but a zombie.
Well on race day I showed up to cheer him across the finish line.
Even though it was September, it was still Tennessee and in the 90s that day.
Over 12 hours after the race started, I witnessed not only my friend, but people of all ages and sizes cross that finish line.
Seeing the display of mental toughness those individuals needed to finish one of the hardest races in the world was moving to say the least.
Overcome with emotion I pledged that I would complete an Ironman someday.
The Way We Live Our Lives is Our Greatest Message to Others
In his book Inside Out Coaching, Joe Ehrmann’s number one principle for communication is modeling!
“Modeling is the most important part of coaching. If you can’t model civil, empathic, reflective, effective communication, why should you expect your players to be able to?”
The reality is that nothing my friend could have ever said would have motivated me to start training for an Ironman.
Only by watching him live everyday with an incredible energy and passion was I motivated and inspired.
His example moved me to action.
It wasn’t just about him completing the race.
It was about who he was becoming and the impact he was having on others around him.
He did all of that training, while pouring his heart into his students and athletes.
I witnessed the transformational experience the training and race had on him.
I observed the impact he was able to have on others with his positive energy.
And then I became a believer.
What is our example telling others?
Too often in coaching, leadership, and parenting we try to help move others to action with what we say.
The power of our own example is far greater than anything we could ever say.
If people see us living out our principles with joy and positively influencing others around us, they are more likely to want that for themselves.
“We should become models for others to follow rather than experts who fix people.” -James Richards
My friend was so committed to being the best version of himself, that he trained for half a year to do what most people would describe as 12 hours of torture.
He wasn’t focused on changing me or others.
He didn’t preach.
He didn’t ever tell anyone they should do an Iron Man or exercise for a couple hours in the morning because it will change their life.
He just lived it.
People need to see you live what you know in your heart if they are ever going believe you.
We need to constantly ask ourselves: What message is my example sending?
Because our example is way louder than anything we will ever say.