It's easy to get caught up in our daily life forgetting that, in the eyes of many, we are actually role models. Our children look to us. They notice everything. They see how we speak and act. Our behaviors impact the way they interact with others. They act as mirrors of all they see and experience.

In the workplace, our interactions with co-workers and customers can mean the difference between a successful, productive day or a stressful day filled with problems and difficulties. It all boils down to the "Golden Rule" of treating others in the same manner that we, ourselves would like to be treated. As coaches, we call this walking our talk.

We take the "Golden Rule" a step further through living by example. Coaches strive to live the coaching strategies, lessons, and coaching exercises we teach. By being an example, we hopefully can also be an inspiration that may motivate another person to make a shift or change in their thinking or focus or way of living.

Recently I received an email from a family member with the subject "Jeopardy Question - Arlington Cemetery". The email revealed that on an episode of Jeopardy, the final question was "How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknown Soldier?" Apparently, all three of the contestants responded incorrectly. I was unsure myself but as I read the email, the answer was revealed to me.

To my wonderful delight, not only did I learn that the guard takes exactly 21 steps during his walk across the tomb of the Unknown, but these 21 steps are representative of the 21 gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary. I also learned that the guards deliberately moisten their gloves to prevent losing their grip on the rifle they carry as they walk, guarding the Unknown.

The guard always carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder. The guard hesitates exactly 21 seconds after his about face before beginning his return walk, again as representation of the 21 gun salute, honoring the Unknown.

The guards are changed every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day during the summer and every hour, 24 hours a day during the winter, 365 days a year. I discovered that for a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 4" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30". After reading the email, I decided to investigate further the requirements of the guard and learned even more about this elite chosen few. I visited and learned the following:

During the trial phase, would-be sentinels memorize seven pages of Arlington National Cemetery history. This information must be recited verbatim in order to earn a "walk." A walk occurs between guard changes. A daytime walk is one-half hour in the summer and one hour in the winter. All night walks are one hour. If a soldier passes the first training phase, "new-soldier" training begins. New sentinels learn the history of Arlington National Cemetery and the grave locations of nearly 300 veterans.

They learn the guard-change ceremony and the manual of arms that takes place during the inspection portion of the Changing of the Guard. Sentinels learn to keep their uniforms and weapons in immaculate condition. The sentinels will be tested to earn the privilege of wearing the silver Tomb Guard Identification Badge after several months of serving.

First, they are tested on their manual of arms, uniform preparation, and their walks. Then, the Badge Test is given. The test is 100 randomly selected questions of the 300 items memorized during training on the history of Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown. The would-be badge holder must get more than 95 percent correct to succeed. Only 400 Tomb Guard Badges have been awarded since it was created in February 1958.

I was so moved to learn that in 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC, even though our US Senate/House took two days off in anticipation of the storm, the guards stood fast. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, 'No way, Sir!' Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

This was such an inspirational story I felt compelled to share it with colleagues, friends, and other family members. Our service men and women give so much for us and these guards show true dedication, love and commitment. To my surprise, one of the coaches I had sent the email to, who also teaches law of attraction, spirituality, and unconditional love, wrote me and asked that I not send such nonsense ever again.

I was stunned at such a reaction coming from someone who has built a practice on teaching others quite the opposite. It so moved me that I felt compelled to write this article. With such hectic lifestyles and all the stress that can come with day to day life, not to mention running multiple businesses, one can easily get distracted. Perhaps this is what happened to my colleague. We are only human. Walking our talk, especially for coaches, is very important. It truly defines who we are.

Since the reply my colleague sent was of a tone that seemed annoyed, I immediately responded with an email of apology. I wanted my colleague to know that my intention was not to annoy, but to inspire and share the moving story about the honor guard. Being the wife of a retired military man, perhaps I feel more strongly about their dedication than others. I find it hard to imagine that anyone, after reading about the dedication and commitment displayed by the guards of the Unknown, especially during the 2003 Hurricane Isabelle weather conditions, would not be moved to some degree emotionally.

Whether my email made any impact on my colleague, I do not know. I like to think that it gave them cause to stop and think. However, it reminded me of a saying we coaches have. We need to walk our talk. This holds true for all professions. Whatever line of work you are in, remember to be genuine. Walk your talk. Live the advice you give to others. Be the example. If you expect your customers to be loyal and ethical, walk your talk. Behave in the same manner.

If you desire honesty and fairness, treat your customers, family, and friends with honesty and fairness. As a parent, if you would like your children to be kind, patient, and understanding, you need to have patience, and be a kind, understanding parent. Whether you own a business, are employed, or a stay at home parent, if you walk your talk, you will find life much more rewarding in the long run.

Author's Bio: 

©2008 Judith A. Wentzel, CTACC, EFT-ADV, owner of EFT Coaching and Consulting LLC, is a certified life coach and advanced EFT practitioner who educates, liberates and empowers people by teaching them EFT, a powerful, easy to learn technique that can literally transform the quality of their life or business, often sky rocketing them to achieving goals and greater business success. Visit her website at or

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