Do People Talk the Talk and Walk the Talk?

By Roger Wolkoff, All About Authenticity and Stephanie Angelo, High Stakes Mastermind Groups

Picture this scenario. Someone writes a book extolling the virtues of fidelity. Shortly after publication, we learn that the author had an affair while writing the book. Or think about the expert who writes about how to raise responsible kids, citing her children as examples. The police arrest one of her children for selling drugs at school. How do we react? We might be quick to judge. We may think, “Oh, the irony.” We may feel betrayed.
How often do we come across people who talk the talk and fail to walk the talk? Put another way, how is it that some people write about topics such as empathy, love, and compassion and fail to exhibit any of the qualities for which they claim to be experts?

Imagine you have a friend who writes about empathy. Now, assume that you and your friend find yourselves in a situation where he causes you emotional harm. The situation calls for understanding from him. Knowing that he is an expert on empathy, you expect him to behave towards you with empathy. You both know you need to talk. He tells you that he will call and be in touch.

You wait. And you wait some more. Weeks and months pass, and you don’t hear from him. How would you feel? Betrayed, perhaps? Yes, you can call him, but it’s not up to you. The responsibility is on him.

You’re left waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it never drops. Instead, you hang onto false hope that he will call and ruminate about how he has not only wronged you, you question his integrity and authenticity. After all, he is the expert on empathy, right?
How do we process this situation? Both sides have choices to consider.

In this case, being on the receiving end of such behavior, you desire closure and resolution. You may expect that your friend will come clean and own up to the conversation they owe you. It’s likely that it will never happen if they’ve avoided reaching out after so much time has passed. For your well-being, consider your options to resolve the situation.

You can continue in limbo, although that choice doesn’t serve you well in the long run. Second, you can make your peace with the situation and put it behind you. Lastly, you can initiate communication with your friend and ask for what you want and need to fix the situation between you.
What about your friend? Are they aware of the difference between their publicly consumed words and their private actions? You probably feel like holding up a mirror to them and saying, “Don’t you see how your actions contradict your words and beliefs?!” It may be painfully obvious to you, but not to them.

If we assume that your friend acts knowingly and with awareness, then that’s another story. You may choose to confront them with your perceptions of their actions. Alternatively, you can let time run its course, knowing that their behavior will ultimately catch up with them.

It is irritating to experience such dissonance – dealing with someone who says one thing and acts in the opposite. We may even label it as false and amoral. Take a step back and reflect on the people whom you have in your life. You have a choice to be around people who nurture and support you. Find more of them. And spend less time around the people who deplete your soul.

In the second part of our three-part series, we explore the idea of accountability.

Roger Wolkoff will help you discover how emotional intelligence paired with authenticity improves communication, ups productivity, and positively influences culture. Visit to connect with Roger and work with him to help you deliver results and grow your bottom line. Roger is a keynote motivational speaker and author from Madison, Wisconsin.

Stephanie Angelo keynotes and facilitates workshops on Cultures of Learning, Strategic Thinking and Collaborative Accountability, in addition, she facilitates Mastermind Groups for entrepreneurs. Imagine what it’s like to be a business owner with a hunger for collaboration with other business owners who experience the same challenges you do. Stephanie will help you take the Silo out of Solo. Contact her at