Starting at the Foundation - Being vs. Doing

For Evergrowth's second post, we are turning our sights right back to the very foundation of coaching and fulfillment: Being. We've spent most of our lives focused on doing: What are we doing right now?  What are the things that we're not doing?  Why aren't we doing those things?  If only we were doing those things over there, we'd be where we want to be.  Why do so many other people get to do what they want to do, but not me?

These and many other questions make up the bulk of what people have, for aeons, lovingly described as the rat race.  


Since children, we've learned that the formula for success looks like:

  1. Do; in order to:
  2. Have; in order to:
  3. Be.

For example, do work really hard at a job you don't love, in order to have lots of money and early retirement, in order to be content and relaxed when you're older.

Ontological coaches are focused on being as the fundamental factor in how fulfilled and alive someone feels during their day.  The formula that we are always working toward with our clients is:

  1. Be; from that place
  2. Do; and
  3. Have

It sounds simple - why doesn't everyone just forego the process of working with a lifecoach and simply adopt this formula?  This question belies the subtle complexity that underlies the difference between doing and being.  In fact, this approach to life has become so ingrained in us that we are generally not even aware that there is another way to look at life.

Doing is our default.  When we perceive that there is something wrong in our life, we ask ourselves "What must I do in order to change this?"  When someone does something that wronged us, we think, indignantly, "How could they have done that to me?"

A more powerful question would be stopping and asking ourselves "Who am I being right now?", "Does that serve me?  If not, then who and how do I want to be?, and lastly, "how does that place of being inform my actions going forward?"

As an example, consider Joe Bloggs and Bill Gates.  Both Bill and Joe embark on a career in computers, and it turns out they are highly successful.  In order to succeed, they end up working long hours, and spend much of their time in front of a computer screen.  In the end, they are both successful in their markets, and become millionaires.

Does this sound like a successful story to you?  From society's conventional standards, both stories demonstrate great success.  In fact, our culture tells us that this is precisely what we should strive for.  However, so far, the only thing we know at this point is what each of Bill Gates and Joe Bloggs have done.  Let's look at who and how they were being throughout.

While Bill Gates was working many long hours, he was being drive and dedication.  Although he sometimes didn't shower for a few days at a time, that was part of his drive.  The mental challenges that Bill had to overcome allowed him to be brilliant.  And even though some of the people that Bill worked with wouldn't be considered "cool" or "popular" by most people's standards, Bill was being empowerment when he worked with them and created something incredible with their aid.

Joe Bloggs was also working long hours, but while he was doing it, he was being exhausted.  On the days that he didn't shower, he felt filthy, and was being shameful and disgusted with himself.  And while the mental challenges gave Joe Bloggs some pleasure, he actually found that most of the work lacked the type of creativity that he was searching for.  As a result, he often ended up being bored and resigned.  Lastly, although the money was coming in, Joe couldn't help but focus on everything else that wasn't working for him (his friendships, his marriage, his own happiness).  He felt, and was being, defeated.

We all want the same kind of success that Joe and Bill have each enjoyed financially, but as you can see, it is who we are being that really makes the difference.

Making this change is challenging, as we come from doing so automatically that most of us don't even realize it.  A good ontological coach's job is to presence our clients to the ways of being that they are showing up with, and invite them to choose from a difference place.

So, who were you being while you read this article?  Righteous?  Indignant that you're being given advice?  Correct, at least in your own perspective if it doesn't match this one?  Or maybe you're being curious about what might be available.  You might be open to what I'm suggesting.  Above all, recognize that there is no wrong or right way to be - only a choice.  [Tweet "Above all, recognize that there is no wrong or right way to be - only a choice."]

In every moment, you have an opportunity to ask yourself how you are currently being, and to determine whether or not that way of being is empowering for you.  If it isn't, invite yourself to choose a different way of being.

Check in with yourself and see what's happening, and start working on this new muscle.  Focusing on who you are being, rather than what you are doing.