I write a lot about internal transformation and I truly believe that to experience the life, freedom and outcomes you want in life, it all starts within. That’s why I personally focus on the BE-DO-HAVE concept, because it’s starting point is internal. The majority of our culture focuses more on a HAVE-DO-BE concept: when I HAVE more time, I will DO more with the kids and then I will BE a great dad. For me, my focus starts with the BE. If I want to be a great dad, what do I need to do to create that outcome. Who you want to be needs to be the first question you ask. If you want be grateful, generous, courageous, or truly free, then create action and goals around who you want to become. If you want to be a great dad, a successful business person or infectiously happy, then ask yourself who you need to become to be that. Creating your unique to-be-list.
Setting goals and taking action around DOING is something talked and written about a lot, but what about setting goals and taking action around becoming? One of my passions is leadership development, and it’s a great example to look at in this context. If you want to be a great leader then you can DO lots of things to help achieve this outcome. You can set goals and take action in a variety of areas to achieve this outcome: knowledge acquisition and learning, skills development, profiling, courses and training, time management and so on. This investment is of course brilliant and highly encouraged, but I believe to become a great leader there is a step that is often missed in this process. Setting BE goals.
Who do I need to BE to become a great leader? The list is possibly endless, but each of us would have few things that we believe would be critical in becoming a great leader, beyond position, title, skills and knowledge. Here’s a few I believe could be on that BE (internal) list: compassionate, empathetic, courageous, calm, confident, secure, empowering, reflective, generous, grateful, positive, embracing and loyal.
What I have noticed in leaders over the last 20 years, is that unhealthy, unhelpful and un-resourceful behaviour flows out of the internal core of the person. Things like control, undermining, glory seekers, intimidation, manipulation, feeling threatened, withdrawal, yelling, tantrums, silent treatment, secrecy, attention seeking, rescuing, favouritism, mood swings, vagueness and emotional blackmail. All of these, and more, in a variety of levels are behaviours that come from within a person, and creating awareness, transformation and freedom internally is critical to truly becoming a great leader. Leadership is my example here, but you could replace that with a number of things from being a great dad, wife, daughter, employee, friend, sports person, business owner, teacher and so on.
Once you have established a few BE objectives, the next step (and often the unfamiliar step) is to create goals and action steps around the BE objectives. For example, if I want to become a great leader and I believe that for this to happen I need to become a compassionate, secure, confident, empowering and positive person, then I have to ask myself how. I need to set goals and action steps focused on my becoming those things because transformation doesn’t happen accidentally, it happens intentionally.
Creating an understanding around what this looks like is great next step. If I want to become confident, what would that mean to me internally, remembering to always keep the focus on the BE, and it will mean something different to everyone. To become internally confident could mean that you don’t withdraw or shut down in conflict situations, or that you don’t become defensive when challenged or that you embrace feedback instead of avoiding it or that you believe in yourself more. Confidence isn’t arrogance, because internal confidence would mean I don’t have to prove myself all the time, but it also means I will stand up for myself and my values in an empowering way. So bringing clarity around the elements of who you want to become is an important part of the process.
Finally, you can now set some goals, some action steps that will help you achieve the outcome of who you want to be. Make these clear, specific and measurable, like you would any goals.
I trust this is helpful to you and your journey of becoming who you really desire to be. Brett