Don’t Just Say It, Show it

It is better to show what you can do than to say you have a skill. Alexander the Great didn’t became the greatest military leader of all time by saying that he had leadership skills. He had the largest empire in history because he showed what we could do which happened to be great leadership.

I’m stunned by the number of people who claim to have a skill but when we investigate a bit further, much substance is missing in the skills that they claim they have.  Those who have skills just show them, I came to learn in my life.

The following people, as long as I can remember, have always shown what they can do rather than just say what they are. It is not surprising that they are (or have been) President of companies, the most well respected and accomplished golfer in the history of Brazil, creativity expert extraordinaire, respected pastor, the longest chair in the history of IUP, and so on. They are in order: My dad Alfredo, Mario Gonzalez, Michael Michalko, Jeff Smead, and Kurt Dudt.

Mario Gonzalez, who happened to have passed yesterday, have always shown what he could do with a golf club. I’ve never witnessed he saying that he had golf skills. If you knew Mario, you knew he had them. It was pretty obvious. He was a man of few words, like my dad. Kurt was the same way. He never claimed to know how to lead people in academic settings but he knew he had leadership skills. I’m not aware of anyone as creative as Michael Michalko. In all my email interactions with him, he has always been a gentleman, clever and willing to share what he knew.

Nowhere in our conversations did Michael stated that he was a creativity guru. We of course knew he was by the way he communicated. The world is full of examples of outstanding people. The vast majority of these outstanding men didn’t say they were excellent in what they did. They simply showed us.

It is better to show what you can do than to say you have a skill. Alexander the Great didn’t became the greatest military leader of all time by saying that he had leadership skills. Sun Tzu didn’t become who he was by saying he knew the art of war. He demonstrated or shall we say — Showed it to us.

Don’t Just Say It, Show it, I say.