Today I’m going to share a simple, yet powerful, mind-set shift that helped me to be more successful in my life.
After a 25 year accounting career I decided it was time for a change. I had a burning desire to become a life coach. After three years of training, study and practice to become a coach, and with my new certificates lining the wall of my home office, I was more than ready to start seeing clients. But I didn’t open my doors and invite them in. Why?
Because a part of me felt that I needed to HAVE more skills and experience before I could DO coaching. And only then would I BE the successful coach I wanted to be.
And so the months passed. I read lots more books on coaching and did more training and hung more certificates on the wall. Yet I still felt I wasn’t quite ready to open my doors to clients.
Then the phone rang. It was someone seeking some coaching! The person wanted help with an issue, which despite all my training I knew little about. I booked the person in for a session and immediately gave a friend, who’s also a coach, a call. I knew he’d be able to give me some advice and hopefully the right tools and techniques to help my new client overcome their problem.
My friend’s response to my request surprised me. Rather than give me guidance on how to help my client, he told me to just BE the coach I wanted to be even if that meant acting ‘as if.’ He said that by BEING the coach I would automatically access the depth of knowledge I possessed and that would allow me to DO the coaching that would help my client and as a result I (and the client) would HAVE a successful outcome.
That piece of advice changed my life, because on reflection I realised that I was applying a different strategy - a HAVE – DO – BE strategy and it was holding me back from taking action and achieving my goal to help people achieve the results they desired.
In my work I encounter many people who are stuck because they too are running a HAVE – DO – BE strategy. They select “Having” goals. They think that once they “Have” they’ll then be able to “Do” and then “Be.” Here are a few examples:
“Once I have enough experience ….. then I’ll apply for that management position I’ve always wanted… then I’ll be happy.”
“Once I’ve lost a bit of weight …. then I’ll be able to exercise more ….then I’ll be fit and healthy.”
“Once I get my pay rise. …. then I’ll save the extra cash and in time I’ll have saved enough for a deposit on a house …. then I’ll be financially secure.”
As I discovered, this kind of thinking can actually stop you from achieving your goals and realising your dreams. I wonder how many times you’ve let great opportunities drift by because you perceived you didn’t have the skills, knowledge, and experience, to take advantage of them?
Let’s take another look at the three examples above but using a BE – DO – HAVE strategy.
BE (tell yourself, ‘I am a manager)’ then DO something about it (start applying for managerial roles. Use the feedback from interviews to develop your skills ) and that means you’ll eventually HAVE (a managerial role).
BE (tell yourself, ‘I am a fit and active person)’ then DO something about it (start doing some exercise everyday even if it’s just a 10 minute walk around the block ) and that means you’ll soon HAVE (more energy and sense of well-being).
BE (tell yourself, ‘I am good at managing money’) then DO something about it (actively find ways to cut back on spending or find a better paying job to generate excess cash which can be saved) and that means you’ll eventually HAVE (deposit for a house).
Once you change your mind-set from HAVE –DO – BE to a BE – DO – HAVE things really start to change for the better.
In my case, once I told myself “I’m a coach. That’s who I’m being” then I found myself thinking like a coach, behaving like a coach and guess what happened? People started coming to me for coaching because I was being a coach. Then I started to experience the satisfaction that helping people change for the better brings.
I started BEING in other areas of my life. For example BEING the author, BEING the improviser, BEING the musician. In each of these roles I became comfortable taking imperfect action because by DOING (writing, performing, playing), I gain so many rewards – pleasure, friendships, self-confidence, pride. The list goes on.
When DOING, be brave. Do not be afraid of taking imperfect action. Perfectionism will also keep the brakes on your life. For example as an author I know and accept that my first drafts will be rubbish.
Here’s an exercise to help you shift your HAVE – DO – BE strategy:
To begin, pick an area of your life that’s important to you e.g. family, work, health.
Find a quiet space and spend as much time as you need to think about who you want to become in person, spirit and in character in this area of your life.
This can be a challenging question to answer as it’s one we don’t often (if ever) ask ourselves. The answer might require some time and deep thinking.
Use your imagination to visualise who you want to BE. What would you focus on? What’s important to you? What are your goals? How would you carry yourself? How would you treat yourself? How would you treat other people? What would your relationships be like? How would you look at finances? What would you be doing to be healthy?
You may need to return to this question a few times and that’s fine.
When you are clear about who and what you want to be, you are better able to consciously make choices (“do”) and produce outcomes (“have”) that are in alignment with this identity.
“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is … is what you do.”
Once you have an answer to who you are BEING, the next step is to give some thought to what you need to DO to fully express yourself in that role. DOING involves making decisions, choices and taking action.
Write down how the person you are BEING acts, dresses, behaves, talks, etc. Capture all your ideas on paper so you have a list of the things you need to DO to consistently BE the person you want to be.
You are now ready to start doing those things, to begin acting in a way that’s consistent and in alignment with who you are being and your goal(s). Start with one of the activities on your list. Once you take the first step the rest will follow.
The results of your actions will bring you ever closer to HAVING the success you want.
Once you make this mind shift, and start using the BE – DO – HAVE strategy you’ll be amazed at how your life will begin to change for the better.
If you’d like to explore how you can create your own mind-set shift and start moving closer to having the life you want, get in contact and let’s schedule a 30 minute no-obligation, discovery conversation. It could be first step towards achieving the things you want in life.
Have a great week,
Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise lies in helping people to 'change their minds' and overcome unhelpful habits and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, clinical hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).