Actions in alignment: Louder than words

How well do your words align with your actions?

I got a new Twitter follower last week, a company that will write your organization’s blog for you if you like. I visited their own blog, on the company’s own website. The most recent post? December 2015.

Actions need to align with your words. The shoemaker's children shouldn't go barefoot

It’s like the old saying, “the shoemaker’s children go barefoot.” They’ll blog for you but they don’t blog for themselves?

This behavior is not new—and the English-speaking world doesn’t have a lock on it, either. A thread on this page about etymology includes examples from:

Spanish: “There are only wooden spoons at the blacksmith’s house”
Chinese (sorry, I don’t know what dialect): “The lady who sells fans fans herself with her hands”
Arabic: “At the potter’s house, water is served in a broken jug”
French: “The shoemakers always wear the worst shoes.” [My translation of Les cordonniers sont les plus mal chaussés.]

The oldest similar reference appears to be from 1546:

But who is wurs shod, than the shoemakers wyfe, With shops full of newe shapen shoes all hir lyfe?

One person who commented on the thread put a very positive spin on the proverbial shoemaker’s actions:

I have seen interpretations of this proverb that focus on a possible altruistic or industrious dimension to its meaning. That, for example, the shoemaker is too busy to attend to his children. perhaps overworked to make even more basic ends meet.

Integrity = actions + commitment

The professional blog-writers may be too busy to blog for themselves. In one sense, I guess that’s good: their plates must be full. But if you’re selling your ability to make a product, shouldn’t you be out there making it? It’s like a car manufacturer airing a commercial without showing a single image of those shiny things they want you to drive.

Whether you’re a shoemaker, a blacksmith, or a writer—actions speak louder than words.


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