“Don’t do as I do, do as I say!”. That message never works. If you want to inspire others to embrace a new approach, you have to model it, you have to show how it works in your life, in different situations. You have to model your message.
You have to show, not tell
If you don’t want your children to answer their cell phones when you are in a conversation with them, make certain you do not answer your phone. If you want to encourage others to partake in more conscious eating, make certain you are modeling mindful food consumption in your life. What are you telling that you should be showing?
Your responses model your beliefs
Every smile, every frown, every sharp response or kind gesture expresses what you are modeling, what you are telling others that you believe. Become conscious of how you respond. Notice intimate things like the tone of your voice or how you treat others in stressful situations. Encouragement is a powerful quality to model, as are kindness and patience. Model leadership. Model peacemaker. Model dedicated creative. How you interact with others models your beliefs. Live what you believe
How do you recognize what you are modeling?
I love to learn. I’m forever excited about some idea I want to explore. So imagine my surprise when I found myself modeling “not receptive” to nearly everything my friend suggested. We were looking for ideas I could explore. As he spoke, I was thinking things like “I already know that.” “I’ve written about that.” It’s possible the ideas were simply not aligned with my personal “next”, but I was certainly modeling someone who was not open to considering what was being offered. At the very least I could look for the possible kernel of truth I might use in my work. What are you modeling with your responses?
How to choose what you model
What you choose to model depends on how you want people to know you.
Perhaps you can choose some qualities that are important to you. Based on that recent interaction of resisting while listening, I have to figure out how to change that. First I need to change my own willingness. I need to learn to not reject things so quickly or at the very least, so obviously. I can model genuine interest in others. I can model helpfulness. I can model someone who does not spread gossip, or speak unkindly about another.
How to learn to model
I went to a modeling school once. I have no idea why. I think it had something to do with my interest in theatre. We learned the walk. But I couldn’t learn the self confidence it takes to think you are attractive, that makes you think you can compare well with other accepted model types. So am I still modeling “lack of confidence”in my physical appearance? I now say I’m old and I don’t care. I really don’t know how I appear to others and yet I have chosen to do some talking head webcam videos. What I think I see is warmth, compassion, sincerity, intelligence, and a desire to share. That will work. What are you modeling even as you simply show up?
When do you need to model in order to teach?
My granddaughter is a security guard. On her team is one guard that speaks no English, only Spanish. She has a hard time communicating with him and he, too, has a hard time communicating with the drivers who pass his station. Part of that exchange is about gate numbers. I suggested she make a handout with the gate numbers written in both English and Spanish. But here‘s the modeling part—she has to learn to say the numbers in Spanish just as she is encouraging the guard to learn to say the numbers in English. She can’t just tell him to learn it; she can model her willingness to learn to communicate with him. See how powerful that is? If they make a running game out of it, their relationship will change. The guard will do a better job and my granddaughter will have a stronger team, which means she is doing her job better too.
What are you are modeling?
Look closely to see what you are modeling. Observe how you respond in different situations. Are you reacting or responding? What happens with the other person?
As I move away from my physical plane community into my online relationships I need to make certain that I am still mindfully present when I interact with others in person. When I am in my online communities, I want to make certain I am modeling helpfulness and connection. I walk every day with my orange walking sticks and people notice my posture improving. I don’t say anything. I simply show up and model an older person seeking to stay strong by walking. Who do you purposely want to model for? What do you want to model?
I want to model being encouraging, therefore I also have to learn to accept encouragement.
I want to model love of learning, therefore I also have to model learning from others.
I want to model spiritual exploration, therefore I very much have to model the results of my own spiritual exploration.
So, don’t teach. Model.
To Sing a Deeper Song consider:
Why You Need To Learn to Change
There is No Striving in being
if I Were a Person Who…
Are You An Introvert Island?
If You Are A Rock – Who Supports You?
How To Move Forward When You’d Rather Stay Stuck
How To Identify and Release Your Restrictive Ways
04–How to Redefine Yourself and the 30 Year Plan (podcast, 20 minutes)
05-Do You Have the Courage to Stand Alone (podcast, 20 minutes)
07- How to Find and Express Your Distinctive Voice (podcast, 20 minutes)