Impetus Insights – October 2010

Be + Do = Have

BEING is a notion that is often associated with Eastern Mysticism and culture.  In the West we have been addicted to DOING – implementing and action – and HAVING – results and outcomes – and have often ignored or ridden over our feelings, our instinctual self or who we are BEING.

The notion of BEING is gaining currency in self-help literature and in current thinking about motivating people to change.  Stephen Covey, the author of ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ talks about change as an “inside-out” process and that we have to change our paradigm, mind-set or world view about an issue before we can change the way we behave and therefore our results.  Hargrove (Masterful Coaching) has adapted the concepts of cognitive behavioural therapy to coaching and his notion of ‘triple loop coaching’ includes the idea that we need to BE different before we can think in a different way and do different things to achieve intended results.

Daniel Goleman and others have popularised the notion of “emotional intelligence” which includes the idea of being able to connect to our own feelings, the emotional responses of others and to use gut instinct to guide our decision making.  His work looks at the whole brain and points out that analytic, conceptual and rational thinking is only the front part of the brain – the neo-cortex. The mid-brain or limbic system (amygdala) that controls our emotions and feelings is both interwoven with the intellect and more powerful in times of crisis or emergency.  Both are connected to the reptilian brain at the top of our spinal cord which gives us access to intuition and “gut feeling”. The self-aware leader takes time to reflect on and listen to the wisdom of the whole brain – to what “feels” right, before making decisions.

If a person doesn’t have the self awareness to know what they are feeling or who they are BEING, they can not manage their own reactions or understand their impact on others.  If we are oblivious to how we are feeling, we will also not be attuned and sensitive to the feelings of others.

In times of crisis in my own life, I have had to look at who I was BEING about a person or issue before I could attempt to change the result.  For example, if I am feeling negative and resentful toward my partner and I am thinking that they are irresponsible and childish, how am I likely to behave toward them and what is the probable result?

I can not change the other person but I can change who I am BEING about them.  If I am committed to having the relationship I could pause and feel how I felt when I first met them, remember the feeling and excitement of my wedding day or the atmosphere of love and joy when our first child was born.  I could bathe in that feeling until it filled me.  I could think of the things I loved about my partner, the acts of kindness, generosity and sensitivity over the years until I change who I AM BEING about them, if I do not change at this fundamental level of BEING then even if my behaviour is different, it will seem phoney or inauthentic.

As Ghandi said “for things to change, first I must change”.

We have to look inside, to consider “Who am I BEING?” before I Can DO differently and HAVE a new result.


© The Impetus Team 2008

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