Walking the Talk

A few weeks back, I was talking to my students about “living in congruence.” We were covering the Social Change Model of Leadership which is the idea that we can positively impact those around us whether we have the positional title of “leader” or not. The theory is that a leader is anyone who makes a difference in their environment. One of the tenets of the theory is congruence – behaving consistent with one’s values and beliefs. Essentially, it’s the idea of talking the talk and walking the walk. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about congruence as I work on this blog. I value prioritizing and balance. I value calm. I value being positive. This past week was a tough week and I found myself getting pulled into negativity and doing a lot of venting. I’m finding the balance between venting and then bouncing back into a positive mindset. We can all benefit from some healthy venting in a safe space and with people we trust. In fact, sometimes it’s necessary. I worry when I find myself lost in the negativity and have trouble finding my way back to a positive mindset (my preferred habitat when possible). 

It is so easy to get caught up in frustration or feeling overwhelmed when there is a lot going on (…when isn’t there a lot going on?). If I plan ahead and intentionally decide how I’m going to handle the tough moments, it will be easier to put my ‘positive pants’ on and move onto a more productive mindset. 

This is important for each of us and our own state of mind but from a community perspective, it’s important to remember that we impact those around us very quickly. We set the tone with one look or comment. Whether with my family or at work, I want to leave the environment better than I found it. 

I teach my students about “everyday leadership” – making an impact on those around them in small ways. I tell them that they are a part of a community and are responsible for their role in it. It’s a nice reminder that this is the case for all of us in all of our roles – at work, at home, with friends, even at the store with strangers. 

Most of us would agree that we value responsible citizenship, but we may not always think about what that means and if we are living  consistently with our values. Does being responsible mean being mindful of how we impact those around us? We can all be leaders in our environments by leaving it better than we found it. If enough of us make this a priority, I bet we can start changing the world around us. 

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