Do Be Do Be Do …Redoux

I have been having a running dialog with colleagues for several years no on the idea of “being” vs. the idea of “doing”.

I have heard things like:

–    “It’s not what you do that defines you.”
–    “We are not our work.”
–    “Be the success you want and it will happen”

I see a bit of truth in all of these statements, BUT I don’t think it is complete. I call it the do be do be do paradox. (It’s a technical term)

I was reminded of this paradox at the end of the movie The Descendants (It is after Oscar Season don’t blame me if you haven’t seen it yet). George and his family are spreading the ashes of his wife over the ocean. As I looked at that pile of ashes I asked, “is this it”? When we no longer inhabit our body, we are dust? What is left?

What’s left is what we have done. The people we have loved, the contributions we’ve made, the smiles we’ve generated, the customers we’ve served. We can visualize who we are all we want, until we act upon those thoughts they are just potential. We can meditate on having millions of dollars but if don’t act they will come and take away our furniture and our house.

When others think of you or me, they are thinking about the actions we have taken in their presence. The words we expressed, the smiles or frowns we generated, the work we have done together.

Many of you may have seen the poem that goes something like this

    Our thoughts create our beliefs
    Our beliefs create our attitudes
    Our attitudes create our actions
    Our actions create our habits
    Our habits create our character

I believe this is a pretty good description of how it works. We can’t be unless we do and we can’t do unless we know who we want to be.

Do Be Do Be Do…

One Comment:

  1. Hi John,

    Coming from a coaching perspective I have a slightly different view of “being vs doing”. To me, “doing” refers to the tasks that need to be accomplished on a regular basis. I “do” my accounting, my marketing, my blog entries. I also “do” workshops for my clients. They are tasks with specific outcomes in mind.

    “Being” for me is quite different. When I am in that being state, I am fully present for my client, without preconceived thoughts, plans, or outcomes. I am fully present for my client, listen to them fully and give them my undivided attention. I become an extension of the client with no specific outcome in mind other than serving their needs. There is no “task” involved, no targeted goal, and no attempt to convince my client of what they should do. My “being” is to become an extension of my client, giving up my own thoughts, values and ideals to be 100% in synch with them.

    Such is the view of “being” from a coaching perspective.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

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