The other day a colleague and I were having a discussion which reminded me of a great lesson in how we are perceived by others. Frank Butterfield is a very popular and successful personal trainer and public speaker out of Las Vegas, Nevada. His message; which in no way was limited to personal training; was that "you're selling even when you're not selling".
What he was referring to was what we already know about communication: you communicate way more than just what you say. His speech was about presentation, professionalism, and advocacy, but it can easily be extended to our attitudes, and living what we say.
In effect; if we say one thing, and do another, we are not 'selling' what we want to through our actions. Take parenting: we can tell our kids about the dangers of smoking, but if you light up around friends; why should they buy what you're selling?
If you read swim upstream, and talk about what attitude you want to embrace, but then act like a victim at the first sign of adversity; your actions are not selling the same image to those around you that your speech does.
The real crux of Frank's message was that you can never know who is watching or when; but you can know what YOU are doing. If you are always (or at least, as consistently as possible) acting in accordance with what you say; then people will buy what you are selling... they will know that you mean what you say, and they will be far more open to hear it because they see you do it.
The real take home message here is that it is not about 'selling' anything; if you want to get more out of life; you can't just talk a lot about having a better attitude - you just have to live that attitude through your actions because it is what you truly believe. Do this, and more positive results will follow, and as an added bonus, people you didn't know were watching will 'buy' what you have been 'selling' without even knowing it and more opportunity and acceptance to a better way of thinking will open up to you.
So what are your actions selling right now? Would you buy it?