Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Do as I Do!

I have a personal belief that if you're going to position yourself as a subject matter expert on a topic then you might want to set an excellent example in regards to what you're talking about. This premise applies to your professionalism and field of expertise, too.

I recently posted a Facebook statement that went like this: it's risky to live in a glass house and throw stones. What did I mean by that concept? The real statement is "those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." I switched it up to emphasize the risk involved of shattering one's house when involved in the proverbial stone toss.

I'm sure you're all now wondering where those two paragraphs are supposed to lead. Now I'm going to story tell so you understand the professional meaning behind these ideas. I've seen this a lot in those who position themselves in the self-help or counseling industries. I happen to know several people who work in these industries. I've often brought this up, and a post on social media triggered the thought. This professional who does some kind of self-help books, is very single, and even someone who might be labeled as not having good social skills posted this article that offered relationship advice. What I found ironic is this individual from what I've seen has never had an actual relationship. In fact, he might even be called reclusive.

Do I want to take relationship advice from a reclusive guy who has never had a relationship? Now take this one step further: he wrote a book on the subject. He is outwardly preaching "how to have a good relationship" -- and he's never been in one. I realized probably 90 percent of his readers might not realize he was actually reclusive writer guy who lacked social skills and never dated. I'm sure he's read all about the subject. Maybe he's even gone on a few dates, but his qualifications are spotty when he's never been in an actual relationship -- married or otherwise.

My other least favorite expert are the marriage and family counselors whose personal lives look blighted by failure and loss. It's close to the writer guy! Multiple failed marriages and relationships and this is the person who has positioned him- or herself to advise others on the subject. Now most counselors don't tell people their own lives might be slightly messy. I usually hear about the behind-the-scenes messiness through the grapevine of networking. But I have to scratch my head. Why do I want advice from someone whose own glass house has a lot cracks in the walls and is nearly shattering?

I've heard lots of arguments (almost always from those who are in this position) that their advice and guidance is valid. They are trained professionals, and they can be unbiased. I don't agree. Trained or not if you can't practically apply what you're preaching to make your own life better then you are not the person I want to seek advice from. Someone who has never had a successful relationship or marriage, in my opinion, has obviously not used their own suggested tools, strategies or advice. Someone's whose spouse abuses them is in no position to tell someone else, "Don't be abused..."

What I do WANT is advice from someone's whose lives and professional businesses are shining lights of wonderful examples. The man or woman who has succeeded in having a loving relationship (not just for a couple of years), but over the long term -- that is who I want to hear from. The man or woman whose business has made a million dollars -- that is the person who I want to know how. A man or woman who writes a book or offers counseling to others while not managing to make their own lives an example to follow should not advise others. And if your own life isn't an example to follow, pick another subject to write a book or sell a business model. Authentic guidance and leadership from people who really walk their own talk is way more beneficial than a lot of so-called "training" from someone who needs to right their situations before dolling out opinions and guidance. Remember the ole "do as I say not as I do"? I like, "do as I do" way, way better.


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