I'm walking through the Athens CBD as I begin to write this post and I'm sipping on a coffee with one hand, whilst I type away on the other.
You know the saying .. 'When in Athens — do as the Athenians do."
Or something like that.
As I sip on my coffee and type away on this article I think to myself that it's not a manic picture I am painting (multi-tasking is shit) — I'm actually quite composed because this topic means a lot to me.
The coffee is from a new cafe I only discovered this morning and I'm hesitating to take the first sip because as most coffee lovers would attest, a bad coffee means a bad day.
I'm half way through the coffee and I can't quite put my finger on it but it's just not right. Not strong enough? Too milky?
I just can't put my finger on it.
I throw it away. Disappointed. 😔
I sometimes feel this way after a days work in the office. I know I've done my best, I've delivered to my clients and my team. I've helped people, I've coached those that need to be coached and some days I've had the difficult conversations that simply needed to be had — and I have churned through my tasks for the day.
Anyone else would feel a sense of accomplishment.
But on some days there is a nagging feeling inside me that leads me to walk home feeling a sense of disappointment. An overwhelming feeling that assures me that not everything that I was meant to achieve, was achieved.
That something wasn't quite right.
As most of my readers now know, I'm addicted to Crossfit. It keeps me healthy, fit and mentally strong. I train with a group of remarkable men and (mostly) women, who consistently prove that they are there for me when I need them most, and sometimes when I least expect it.
There have been knocks on my door in the morning when I've felt sick, with smiling friends handing me my favourite coffee simply because they know it would make me feel that little bit better. There has been support when I've needed it and simply because... just because.
Surprises, celebratory birthday photos and an embrace that can only be enveloped in trust.
This is in stark contrast to those days when I walk home from work and think to myself "what the fuck was that day a work all about? — what was it for?"
So, as I dodged another grumpy Athenian motorcyclist and weaved through a throng of Police in riot gear walking towards Parliament Square (I wonder if it's all for show or if something is going down), I realise something ...
I believe we are most disappointed and let down when those people whom we expect and need support from, don't return it.
When someone says "I'm there for you" and never actually turns up when you need them.
When they say that they will "have your back" but never actually catch you when you fall.
Actions speak louder than words.
If you're a young person in your career, you will come across many people who will make these false promises.
If you're a mature person well into your career, I share your pain as you, like me, have well-worn skin from those people who — as kind as they are — never really step up to the plate.
We will all come across people in our career who will over promise and continually under deliver.
We'll also come across people who are full of 'great ideas' yet never execute on them.
And this was at the core of my realisation this morning.
Actions do speak louder than words.
Those that execute are the ones who should be celebrated. Those people who have ideas (not always necessarily great ideas) and put them out into the world are the ones who should be celebrated.
Those people who say "I have your back" and when, you're traveling through a swap of shit are there on the other side calling you, holding a life line.
Those people who say "I have an idea" and before you know it, have something out into the world. Unpolished. Unrefined. Imperfect. Real.
An idea that is now a living and breathing thing.
My friend Nick Hallam spoke to me about Tiller years ago — he had now launched it.
Another friend, Jack Musset put Word—Form into the world.
Gabby Lord's blog is real, tangible, authentic.
My old friend Nguyen's side-hustle Source launched yesterday.
These are people whose actions speak louder than their words.
So as I walk through the crowded Athenian Parliament Square and I see that the geared up riot police are now leaning up against a wall, sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes.
Helmet rolling on concrete, leg up on wall.
I think to myself that some people dress up to go to work, say a lot of things and ultimately are just leaning up against a wall.
Whilst others are in full riot gear, ready to give anything a go.
And they do.