Walk the Talk

The first time I spoke to Mark I asked him what he did.  Like, for a living.

He answered, “I’m a songwriter.”  And he said it with the same honesty that I use when I say things like “I have brown hair” or “I cry at jewelry commercials”, those things that are just at the heart of who you are.

Looking back, the odd thing about his answer was that he wasn’t really doing the songwriting thing.  He was actually managing a flooring company.  He wasn’t writing or actively pursuing the dream.  More than that, a few months later, when I asked him if he had any regrets about life in general he said, “No, not really.  I tried the songwriting thing and it didn’t work out.  But I don’t regret giving up.”

Bull $#*^!” I thought, but didn’t say (because that would be rude, and we were only on, like, Date #3. And he was my Sunday School teacher.  I did not want to fail Sunday School.).  Everyone regrets giving up on dreams.  Everyone. 

Mark’s a musician.  It’s just who he is.  The difficulty was that his heart (“I’m a songwriter”) didn’t match his life (“I’ve given up.  I sell flooring now.”)  And I would say that matching your heart to your life is probably the most wonderful gift you can give to yourself and the people around you.

Funny thing is that people who hide from their heart usually attract others in a similar situation.  In Mark’s case, he attracted his best friend Ben, a saxophonist too afraid to go after the music dream.  There are lots of music dreams in Nashville.

Mark used to rag Ben all the time for giving up, for not chasing his dream of being the next great saxophone player.  And Ben would get mad.  And Mark would get confused.  He was just telling Ben the truth, right?

When Mark and I got married, I told him I’d rather be married to a poor person with a dream than a rich guy with no heart.  And he took me seriously.  He started playing the organ at church, and writing songs any chance he got.  His dream is being revived, and I think it’s, honestly, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

The other night Mark hung out with Ben.  They talked about life, and Mark began to rag on Ben for not chasing the dream.  Same words, same message.

“It was so weird,” Mark told me the next day.  “Ben didn’t get mad at me.  He actually listened.  He never listens when we talk about music.”

“Maybe he listened because this is the first time you were following your own advice,” I suggested.

“Maybe.”

Mark says “Maybe”, but I know I’m right. 

It’s why we don’t take marriage advice from Donald Trump, or money management advice from M.C. Hammer.  If they aren’t following the advice, why should you?

And all of a sudden it makes sense to me why Rebecca has the power to advise people to job-hop.  She has power because she does what she says.  Or how Jamie has earned the right to have an opinion worth listening to because she didn’t simply give tips on how to get noticed by the company you love, she actually got noticed by the company she loves (and pretty much everyone else on the internet, too).

Do your advice.  It matters.

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11 thoughts on “Walk the Talk

  1. Michelle Ziegler Ashburn says:

    Excellent advice! And, you do follow your own advice. I am proud of the way you know your own heart and follow it.

    You also have a talent for helping others to see what is in their hearts.
    Mark is a very lucky guy to have you!

    • Marie says:

      Michelle, thanks, you’re so sweet! I always tell Mark what I think other people “should” be doing (behind their backs, of course), and he’ll ask why I don’t just tell them, and I say “I can’t tell someone to do something I’m not willing to do! That’s crazy!” If anything doing your advice keeps you accountable. If I want to tell someone to follow a dream I really truly feel like I should be doing the same thing.

      Anytime my mom talks about you she says, “Remember how Michelle wanted to be a missionary, and now she is lawyer? Isn’t it crazy how God changes our path?” And it’s true that they seem like they are on completely different ends of a spectrum, but I have a feeling that your spirit is going to figure out how to make those two lives come together in a very unique way. (And saying this does not mean that I think you’re going to simply become an evangelizing lawyer… Life is way more creative than that :D)

  2. I’m so glad you found my blog, so I could find yours! I love your writing style—how you seem to let who you are shine through—and your insight. This is brilliant:

    “It’s why we don’t take marriage advice from Donald Trump, or money management advice from M.C. Hammer. If they aren’t following the advice, why should you?”

    Keeping thinking and writing, praying and listening. I’ll be back!

    • Marie says:

      Kristin, thanks so much for the comment! Advice is just so much more powerful when you’ve lived it out, which is another reason I’m excited about the book you are a part of.

  3. Rebecca says:

    This is such a fabulous story and I love the theme to keep pushing yourself and find some sort of fit to your dream. And I agree on the advice thing as well. There’s a difference between either experiencing a situation yourself and/or researching an article and uh, complete BS 🙂

    • Marie says:

      Rebecca, thanks! And that’s such a good point that it’s about pushing ourselves to find a fit to our dream. We need to get creative with how we define success.

      Jun, I don’t even know what an H3 tag is 😀 I’d actually read about how you had encouraged your girlfriend to start a fashion blog, and thought it was so sweet. She’s lucky to have someone encouraging her to pursue her dreams. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Jun Loayza says:

    You’re writing style rocks my world. I usually just jump around and search for the H3 tags so that I can quickly skim through a post. This post captivated me and made me read from start to finish.

    Follow your heart, but more importantly, follow your own advice. It’s such a simple but yet so important concept. If you don’t do what you preach, then you have no credibility and no one will listen to you.

    You guys have a real cute story and I’m trying to do the same thing with my girlfriend. She loves fashion, so I have helped her start he own fashion blog. Now she writes on it like 3 times a week and is having the time of her life.

    – Jun Loayza

  5. Jamie says:

    Marie – your last part about me totally just made me tear up. I was sitting here with my younger brother and started getting all, “Awwww!” and he made fun of me. But, that’s ok.

    I love this post. And, this line is amazing:

    “Funny thing is that people who hide from their heart usually attract others in a similar situation. ”

    That definitely expands even further. People find themselves attracted to each other for certain reasons. Your attraction to Mark may have had something to do with his not following his dreams and your ability to remind people to follow theirs.

    Another thing you hit on is clout. And, the internet is full of people without reason giving advice they probably aren’t following. Career advice, especially. I noticed that a lot this past couple of weeks.

    Your blog is so consistently amazing. It’s the first thing I read on my RSS Reader (if there are new items, of course). =)

    • Marie says:

      Jamie, you are so sweet. And you’re so right about career advice on the internet. Especially in comment sections.

      Heh, and I was thinking the same thing about Mark being attracted to me (and vice versa) because I was good at encouraging dreams, but didn’t want to say it outloud. Thanks for the ego stroke, my blog celebrity friend 😀

  6. […] past. Do they have a lot to say, but not a lot of action? Those aren’t your bold friends. Do they talk the talk, then walk the walk? Yeah, talk to those […]

  7. […] the past. Do they have a lot to say, but not a lot of action? Those aren’t your bold friends. Do they talk the talk, then walk the walk? Yeah, talk to those […]

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