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Practice what you preach

Clarice Bouwer

Software Engineering Team Lead and Director of Cloudsure

Friday, 19 May 2017 · Estimated 3 minute read

"Your beliefs don't make you a better person, our behavior does."

I have a far way to go on my journey. My journey of self-discovery and healing. It's a life-long journey and sometimes it's a real battle. Yes, it becomes absolutely exhausting. I struggle - so many times, yet I push through as best I can. I try.

Often I find myself in conversation giving insights or advice that could actually be benefiting me directly. I have WOAH! moments of epiphanies where I realize that I have so many of the answers to challenges that I face yet struggle to incorporate them into my own life. Why? Maybe it's because:

  • I am not yet ready myself
  • Probably because it's not that simple
  • I don't fully understand how I can implement it
  • I am scared or too tired to try
  • I give up or give in too easily to old ways

So if that is the case, is it really fair that I share my insights, opinions, beliefs and perspectives if I don't fully practice what I preach?

The saying

Firstly, that saying bothers me. I don't like it: practice what you preach. I don't feel like I am really preaching. Rather, I share. I share what I believe in a particular point in time. So maybe, practice what you believe?

My beliefs are also variable. They change, evolve and adapt over time as I learn new ways and discover things that are new to me. So maybe, practice your present beliefs?

What happens if I know something? It's good advice. I trust it but I am not yet ready to apply it to my own life. It's knowledge but not something I yet believe. How about practice the knowledge you trust in today?


Whatever you decide to call it, talking to someone experiencing similar challenges positively impacts me and may you:

  • I don't feel so alone in the circumstances or situation anymore
  • I can relate and empathize with the person
  • The more I talk about possibilities, the more it reinforces personally over time
  • I get exposed to alternate options, thought patterns, perspectives and possibilities
  • I get inspired, motivated and can learn to apply it
  • I have a sense of worth in helping someone else

Winging it

We're all living this thing called life. It doesn't come with a handbook instead it has tons of philosophies, religions, spiritual beliefs, inspirational and self-help books, motivational quotes, perspectives, you name it. It all comes from people over decades of trying to figure this shit out.

I feel like we are winging it. Some people are further along in their journey than others. Some fall back decades because of some traumatic event or whatever the case. Some leap beyond because something just clicked.

I think the best we can do is just talk about what we learn to others. Share.


Sometimes we speak with such conviction. Someone has a crisis and we climb straight into our skin tight super-hero outfit with cape, external undies and mask to save the catastrophic day by offering our solution-mode super-power capabilities.

The worst thing we can do is to instill information on deaf ears who just want to be heard or vent. WOAH! a bit on trying to save their world for a moment. Before going into solution-mode it is probably best to ask:

Are you seeking advice for your situation or do you just want to be heard?

You should know. Sometimes you just want to shout, vent, rant, anything to get whatever is bothering you off your chest. If the person starts offering all sorts of advice it could just aggravate the situation... right? Well it doesn't harm anyone in asking that question as far as I can see.

Manipulate and intimidate

Has anyone ever given you advice in which you turned down and the reaction was that they try to manipulate or intimidate you into taking their advice?

"If you don't do xyz then I can't give you abc because that is not acceptable. You are only going to end up in Hell."

There are scenarios where this form of behavior could be acceptable but I can't think any. I also don't advocate it although I do fall victim to doing this myself to get my way. I am actively trying to stop this behavior.

For the purposes of sharing life-coaching information, insights and advice, it is most advisable to avoid getting frustrated when someone doesn't take it.

People should choose to listen and believe what they want and in no way should you ever take this personally. Your advice is most likely great; you just need to remember that everyone is on a different path / journey and therefore have different perspectives. Your advice may or may not work for them but who cares?

My final thoughts

Your life is the most important of all.

Don't feel bad when people don't take your advice. Don't feel compelled to give advice and don't force advice on others.

If you can get yourself to believe and trust the knowledge you share so that you can fully integrate and implement it into your own life then you have done good.

Try to practice the knowledge you trust in today. And share it.