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Start by BEING

Clients often seek me out hoping that I can help them DO what they need to do, so that they can HAVE what they want in their lives, and then BE the person they always wanted to be.

But this approach is actually in the wrong order.  If they get help to BE the person they want to be, they’ll DO what they need to do, and then they’ll HAVE what they always wanted to have.

While a lot of authors (including me) have written about this paradigm, my friend and colleague, Elise Holtzman, who coaches attorneys, put it simply and elegantly in her recent newsletter:

“[T]here’s a question I’d like you to ask yourself before you even reach the question of what to DO differently and it’s this: Who or what do you need to BE in order to get what you want? What state of being or thinking can you start adopting now so that changing what you are doing will be easier and more likely to stick?”

To get them started, Elise gives her clients examples of how they might want to BE:

  • Confident about my abilities and the value I provide to clients and colleagues
  • Someone who believes in lifelong learning
  • Willing to accept help from others
  • Kind and patient with myself and those around me 
  • An attentive and genuinely interested listener
  • Accepting of the notion that I don’t have to be perfect
  • Open to trying new things and to being a little bit uncomfortable

I often ask clients who they’d need to BE in order to DO the things they haven’t done, so they can HAVE what they say they want.  We play the “What would the best [advisor] in [your state] do?” Game.  I’m never surprised that they list or talk about things they’re not already doing themselves.

Who we’re being affects everything else—what we do and what we have.  If I’m being a needy salesperson, I’ll do and say needy salesperson things and I’ll have…little to show for my efforts.  If I’m being a sturdy, trustworthy advisor, interested only in serving my clients, I’ll speak powerfully and do powerful things as their advocate.  As a result, I’ll develop fiercely loyal clients.

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Who we’re being is also something we can change.  In Reinventing Yourself, author Steve Chandler teaches us that our personality is something we create:

“Most of us live in a cocoon of personality—the made up story of who we are.[…]  We tell ourselves stories about our personality—but these stories aren’t reality.  Deep down, we know we’re more than this personality.[…]  We could tear open this cocoon if we wanted to.  We could push out and see the light of the world.  We could learn to fly.”

If we accept Chandler’s premise, who we’re being can be changed at any time.  If you don’t have what you want, the right question to ask yourself isn’t “What do I need to do?”.  It’s “Who do I need to be?”.

In 2015, plan on BEING whomever you want, and whatever you want will follow from enacting your plan.  In the meantime, keep REACHING…

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