Being Precedes Doing

Do you find yourself at the mercy of a never-ending to-do list each day, or are you able to flow and be present as your calm and relaxed self? Hi, this is Grant Herbert, Emotional Intelligence Speaker and Trainer of the Year and VUCA Performance Coach, and today, I want to continue our conversation around the shifts that we need to make so that we can thrive and survive in this VUCA world by talking about how to make the shift from doing to being.

We are human beings, not human doings. And to sustain a high level of performance in all areas of life, we must remember that this is an important distinction and change the way that we look at our day. For many years, I ran around the planet trying to get things done and that, coupled with my Performance Trap trying to please others, I had a long list of things not just to do for myself, but the things that I needed to do for others, because I said I would so that they would like me. And a lot of us today end up being at the mercy of a never-ending list.

We've talked about this before in my debunking the myth of time management that one of the things that we need to shift from is having a to-do list; a list that has all these things that remind us of what we're not getting done. In those old school teachings that said, "Check your list off and then look at your list at the end of the day and move the ones that you haven't got done into tomorrow." And we all agreed that that list never ever changes. It never gets smaller. So, what I've had to do is make this shift in my mindset first that changed my behaviour. And when I made that shift, it was able to then allow me to focus on my priorities, to control my environment, and to have more energy to be who I want to be in every area of my life, not just in my business, in my career, in that "getting things done mode" that I was operating in.

So, if that's something that you would like to do right now, let me unpack for you three key principles that we must take hold of before we can then employ practical strategies around being rather than doing so that we're able to escape the overwhelm and get into flow and enjoy our life way more than we were before.

The first one is to be then do then have. I remember when I did some coach training many, many years ago, it was a model that we used in our coaching to help people to understand and to get clarity around who do I need to be so that I can do the things that I need to do, to have the results that I want to have. That old-school mentality of just work out what you want to have and then put a list together of all the things you need to do to get there is the reason why most of us get frustrated and we never get down the track as far as we want to go, because the person that is doing the things so that you can get them ticked off on the list is normally the roadblock. It's normally the behaviour, the thoughts, the mindsets, the beliefs, the things that we've been talking about over the last few weeks that actually stop you from doing what it is that you need to do.

So, we recognise what we need to do. When we write a big list out, we've got a great plan and then we are frustrated by the fact that we don't see any results, and that's because of self-sabotage strategies, the ceiling we place on our self with self-doubt and all these things that come in a lack of Personal Power. One of the main reasons why I am so passionate about Emotional Intelligence is because it teaches us and helps us to become more powerful in our own identity. And we've talked about some of that stuff previously as well. So, the first thing we need to do is take that model that we've used in coaching and apply it to our life and ask ourself the question, "Okay, who do I need to be right now rather than what do I need to do?"

So for me, I have many roles in my life, just like you. I get to be a husband. I get to be a father. I get to be a coach. I get to be a business owner. I get to be a speaker, whatever it is. I get to be a friend. I get to be a learner, and there are various roles that we all have in our life. So in applying this first principle of be-do-have, what it does is it says, "Okay, who do I need to be right now when I'm being a dad? Who do I need to be right now when I'm in my business?" And to be able to then know what other skills and attributes, the thought patterns that I'm going to allow to come into that space and time, because I'm being that person right now, not just doing things.

And that allows distractions to be put aside a lot more easily, because, for example, I'm working from home and have been for a long time now and there are many distractions outside this studio where I'm talking to you now. There are many things that I could be doing. Right now, we are in a situation where my children have finished their high school certificates so they're home, and I like to spend time with them and they liked to spend time with me. So, I could quite easily just stop doing this video now and go and have a chat to them, but no, I am being someone who is teaching right now. I am being who I need to be in this moment. So, when I have finished being this, I have it planned in my calendar to be a father in a different part of my day.

Now, some people might think that's a little bit too OCD and too structured, but let me tell you, it is so freeing in being able to be okay with what needs to get done in my day. Because I know when I go to have lunch today with my children, I know that I can be fully present with them because I've already planned when I'm going to get this stuff done, when I'm being that different person when I go back to work. So, principle number one is be before you do, and then you'll have the results that you want.

Number two is to be more intentional. So, we understand now that we need to be various people in any given day, in a week, in a month, in a year. Now, I'm not talking about having different personalities and changing our behaviour and being fake and those sorts of things. What I'm clearly talking about is I need to be a certain way when I'm coaching a client that I wouldn't be like when I was having a conversation with my wife. I need to be different in my approach when I'm the learner than I am when I'm the leader. So, what I'm talking about here is being more intentional and setting a focus and a plan that allows me to be that person in that particular timeframe.

So, how do we play that out? Well, what I do is I make sure that I have my calendar set up so that that tells me when I need to be which person, when I need to be a husband, a father. So, I've got family time. When I need to be the business owner, who's a coach and a trainer and a speaker, and I've got that blocked away. When I need to be just me and have some me time. And when I need to be the business owner who has to do the admin or the strategy and all those other things that I need to do so I then know that I need to be fully present in doing that, and it allows me to put those other distractions aside. So now that we know we need to be before we do, we need to be more intentional so that we can stay present in that particular period of time to be that person without brain-switching and thinking about things that are outside being that.

Number three is to change hats strategically. When I'm doing a training in an organisation, whether it be online or face-to-face, which I'm not doing a lot of face-to-face right now, what I like to do is instead of coming in just being a trainer, I also like to bring my coach's hat along. Then, what I do is get permission to when I see a mindset or a behaviour that's not serving that individual or the room to change my hat from being a trainer to being a coach so that I can remove that roadblock with them and everybody can go forward. So, I like to look at the metaphor of wearing a hat. I don't physically have a hat to be a father, to be a husband, to be a trainer or speaker, whatever. I have a metaphorical one. So, I know that when I leave my studio and go to be someone else, I need to make that change.

And for me, I like to use the metaphor of a hat. So to do that strategically, we need to have structures, ways of doing things so that we can then transition from being whoever we are now to who we need to be in that next period of time. I remember one of the things that I did practically years ago that I don't do now, but it really helped me because working from home is something that can create a lot of issues here, where you can, if you stop your task and go and do something else in your house or something like that. So, the other thing that I've found is that you can work really, really long hours because you're home and the commute is gone. So, what I did was made sure that I put a different lock on my office than the one that was on my house.

And when it was time to stop being the owner of the business and go home, what I did was lock up my office, went and got in my car, drove down to the post office, collected my mail from my postbox, came home and opened the door with the key to my house and allowed myself to step into being a husband and a father. So, what we need to do as we shift our hats is then set a new intention to be who it is that we need to be right now. To do that, we need to leave stuff behind. So for me, that closing that door of the office and locking it was a trigger for me, an anchor for me to go, "That's finished. It's there and I'll open that again tomorrow.", and then to go and do another activity where I can lose those thoughts and start focusing on who do I need to be next, and then come home and be that person.

I remember in my corporate career many years ago coming home one night and my little twins were then only 15 months old, they're now 18, so it's a quite a while ago, and I remember the phone was going off all the way home, and the constant need to get stuff from me, and I got home and I still was carrying all that, as you can hear it in my voice right now. And I opened the door and my twins are running towards me going, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!", and I went, "Can you let me get inside the door?", and their little faces just dropped. And the face that I saw on my wife was one of confusion and not understanding why I would speak to them that way, knowing how much love I had for them and what they meant for me. The reason it happened wasn't anything to do with my relationship with them. It's because I did not transition from being the corporate executive to being a dad. So, number three is to make sure that we change hats strategically, rather than just go from one to the other without setting that intention.

So when you make this shift from doing all the time to being, not only will you get more things done, the truly important things in your life, but you'll enjoy the journey a lot more as well. Well, that's it for me for another week. Join me again next week, when we continue this conversation by helping us to understand how to remove that unhealthy dialogue that goes on in our head that stops us from doing these things that we're talking about and taking your thoughts captive. I'll see you then.

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