You’ve probably read or heard this expression quite often.
To walk the talk is an idiomatic expression meaning to do what we say, to align our actions with our words.
For more info about the meaning and origin of this expression, check out The Phrase Finder.
This post is a confession. Yes, I’m guilty of not walking my talk.
I’ve been talking about the importance of finding our own rhythm, about creating space to rest and recover, on how vital it is to take care of our energy. Particularly now, that this lockdown has disrupted our rhythm.
And yet, here I am. Stretching myself to finish stuff that would take me half the time if I was fully present. Skipping the time to recover to keep up and in doing so, depleting my energy and my focus even more.
This morning my rituals feel like a chore.
And I’m grateful for it. It reminds me that even the things we love and enjoy the most can become a burden if we are not aware and present.
To walk the talk, we must be present. So our walk becomes our talk.
How often do I allow my talk to go where I’m not ready to walk?
My country is on full lockdown. People are confined within their houses, most businesses are closed or operating at reduced speed, kids are home from school. All the things with which we were used to filling up our days are no more available. I heard many friends talking about boredom and the struggle to find something to keep them and their loved ones, in particular children, engaged.
“The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom.”
This quote comes from one of my favourite book of the last year; Atomic Habits by James Clear.
I think we all agree that practice is the way to achieve mastery in anything. A lot of practice.
The problem is that the more you practice something, the more it becomes boring. What was exciting at the beginning, after a while becomes a tedious routine. Our interest fades away, and we become easy prey for distractions.
Learning to deal with boredom can make the difference in becoming who we want to become.
That is why, as Clear says, “you have to fall in love with boredom.”
Now we have this unique opportunity to practice boredom and learn to love it. Something that will probably make a significant difference in the new normality in which we will all live after this extraordinary situation.
From the way this virus is spreading, I feel we can learn some lessons on how we can create change in any system.
Homeostasis is the natural tendency of an organism to keep its stable condition and environment. It’s a tendency that applies to any system in our lives. Our inner beliefs, habits and environment, they all work together to create and keep our life stable and steady. Any time we try to change a system, those same forces that have established the current equilibrium will fight back to keep as it is.
The more we push to change the system, the more those forces will pull in the opposite direction.
It’s similar to what happens when we pull an elastic band. If we use a lot of force to pull it quickly, we will meet a lot of resistance, and it will be hard to keep the new shape. We will likely have to are to release the band and let it slide back to its natural status.
This virus is showing us a different approach to change. It is not so aggressive to trigger all our defences. At the contrary, in the beginning, it went mostly unnoticed. Our systems didn’t react immediately, so it had the time to spread and compound. When we became aware of it, it was already everywhere.
If we want to change something in our lives, in our organisations or communities, rather than go head-on, we may try a more subtle approach. One based on small but consistent daily improvement that compounds to create the change we want.
We are all living, without doubts, a challenging situation. What is happening is shaking the foundations of our world at all levels; personal, professional, individual, social, economical. Our habits, routines and rituals have been disrupted. Most of the cues and frames through which we were able to read the reality around us, are useless now.
At least, this is what is happening to me.
And I’ll be honest.
There are moments, during the day in which I feel lost and powerless. It looks like no matter what we do, things keep getting worse. The flood of news and messages is not helping for sure.
This morning I woke and realised that this tension is getting under my skin. I slept with my jaw tight, not a good sign.
So, this morning I enter my meditation with the only aim to relax, let go of the stress and find peace.
And some words came up.
“I am the one who’s asked to change and evolve.”
When I opened my eyes, I remember one of my all-time favourite books, “Man’s search for meaning” by Viktor Frankl.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
So, my question for today is “How can I change to thrive in this challenging time?“
“First is an intention.
Then a behaviour.
Then a habit.
Then a practice.
Then second nature.
Then it is simply who you are.” – Brendon Burchard
I love this recipe for transformation. It is not even a recipe, to be honest. In my experience, this is how life works. How we grow, and we become who we are. The things we love and the one we don’t.
They all started with an intention. One that too often, we are not fully aware. And that intention triggers a behaviour that, through habit and repetition, becomes who we are. It’s a long and slow process, like a drop on a rock. When an apparently harmless and insignificant behaviour, becomes a habit, its power multiply and its effects compound.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is self-awareness. Having clarity of your intentions, observing your behaviours and deliberately choose the habits you want to cultivate. Creating the discipline to transform those habits into practices. The rest will be a natural outcome. And this is the beauty of this recipe for transformation. It’s not about making big things or incredibly disruptive actions. It’s about paying attention and being aware of the tiny things that count, and then let time do its magic.