The stereotypical cowboy is known as the strong silent type. He is a man of few words. The cowboy is a doer not a talker, he gets straight to the point, makes things simple, and says what he means. Characters played by Clint Eastwood and Sam Elliot depict this behavior. When they speak, you listen. They make every word count.

Many years ago, as a beginner roper I was at a practice session, getting an overload of advice from a number of more experienced ropers. Each of them going into detail of what I was doing, and what I should be doing. I appreciated all the help yet was overwhelmed with the information. As I was processing the newly acquired tips, a cowboy rode up to me and said, “Drop your elbow.” This was the only advise I actually remembered. Three simple words.

As I think about this Code of the West and evaluate how I am living up to it, I realized that this is an area I need to work on. I find myself continuing to talk after I have made my point. My words would be much more impactful, if I stopped talking and let others reflect on what was said.

Talk less and say more, is about trust. When we speak, others listen to our words. Yet we earn their trust when our actions, are consistent with our words. This sends a powerful message.

Training was a high priority at the company I worked for. As a manager I expected employees to attend and participate in all trainings. If I told my team how important training is yet did not participate myself, my actions would be telling them it does not really matter what I say. There is great wisdom in the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.”


Live the Code