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Want to Be a Good Example?

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Are you setting a good example for those around you? Maybe you’re not as good as you think you’re being. All the good intentions in the world mean nothing without action!

John Maxwell has said, “It’s easier to teach what’s right than to do what’s right.” So if we want to be a good example for those around us, we need to be as good as we think we are. Intentions alone do not set the example. Setting an example also requires being visible, and interacting with people. If you are the best you can be, but working alone, then who are you an example for?

Those two thoughts deserve some reflection time. We would all like to be good, and set a good example. Review your activity in the last week. Have you had opportunities to be visible, and be engaged, and yet you choose actions that isolated you? Have you chosen actions that were easier, and maybe not shown how good you can be? In my opinion, you can’t start learning these things soon enough. Some schools seem to agree with this train of thought and are starting early with this idea, asking 6th graders to take a vow to do what’s right as they graduate the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. Minnesota Youth DARE Adviser, Will Durie, had some powerful words for the students:

“Be yourself. Don’t do something you know is wrong just to fit in,” he said. “Good decisions will lead to endless opportunities and bad ones will close doors that you might regret in the future.”


© Flickr user McMaster President’s Office

Another man with a wealth of knowledge, Colin Powell, said, “You can issue all the memos and give all the motivational speeches you want, but if the rest of the people in your organization don’t see you putting forth your very best effort every single day, they won’t either.” People around you will only give their best if they see you giving your best. What are you going to do the next week that reflects your best? What are you going to do to make those actions more visible to those around you?

There is a big difference between intentions and actions. How can we cross that gap? Jack Klemeyer took that issue on in an article marking the difference between the two and how you can overcome those obstacles.

  • If you want to learn and develop your thinking and skills, you might read books and articles, take time for webinars and workshops, participate in group studies or a mastermind group.
  • If you want to be a conscious capitalist, you have to develop a way to support, nurture or contribute to a cause or program.
  • If you want to get new customers, you have to find ways to meet and build relationships with those people and businesses that are your ideal customer. You have to put yourself in their path and interact with them.
  • If you want to get a new car, or a new home, or a new whatever, you have to make a plan to consistently save for it or designate certain income or sales toward that goal.

Simply put, good intentions won’t get you anywhere, with coworkers or with customers. Saying you will do something doesn’t automatically give you respect or support. You have to follow through with getting it done in order for people to recognize that you are capable. Only then will you be able to truly set a good example for those around you. You will be able to become an example that people will actually want to follow!

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Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people's lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.
Mark S. Brown


Executive and Business Coach at New Roads Leadership. A founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. We coach for your personal success!
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown

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