This post describes a simple mind shift that helped me change my life.

After three years of training, study and practice, with certificates lining the wall of my home office, I was more than ready to start seeing clients. But I didn’t open my doors and invite them in. Why?

Because a part of me felt that I needed to HAVE more skills and experience before I could DO coaching. And only then would I BE the successful coach I wanted to be.

And so the months passed. I read lots of books and did more training and even more certificates. Yet I felt I still wasn’t ready to open my doors to clients.

Then the phone rang. It was a prospective client. They wanted help with an issue, which despite all my training I knew little about. I booked the person in for a session and immediately gave a friend, who’s a fellow coach, a call. I knew he’d be able to give me some tools and techniques that I could use to help my new client overcome their problem.

My friend’s response to my request surprised me. Rather than give me guidance on how to help my client, he told me to BE the coach I wanted to be even if that meant acting ‘as if.’ He said that by BEING the coach I would know what to DO to help my client and as a result I (and the client) would HAVE a successful outcome.

That piece of advice changed my life, because on reflection I realised that I was applying the HAVE – DO – BE strategy in many areas of my life and that it was holding me back from achieving my goals.

In my work I encounter many people who live according to a HAVE – DO – BE strategy. They select “Having” goals. They think that once they “Have” they’ll then be able to “Do” and then “Be.” Here are a few examples:

“Once I have enough experience ….. then I’ll apply for that management position I’ve always wanted… then I’ll be happy.”

“Once I’ve lost a bit of weight …. then I’ll be able to exercise more ….then I’ll be fit and healthy.”

“Once I get my pay rise. …. then I’ll save the extra cash and in time I’ll have saved enough for a deposit on a house …. then I’ll be financially secure.”

As I discovered, this kind of thinking can actually stop you from achieving your goals and realising your dreams. I wonder how many times have you let great opportunities drift away because you perceived you didn’t have the skills, knowledge, and experience, to take advantage of them?

Let’s take another look at the three examples above but using the strategy my friend told me to use
– the BE – DO – HAVE strategy.

BE (tell yourself, ‘I am a manager)’ then DO something about it (start applying for managerial roles. Use the feedback from interviews to develop your skills ) and that means you’ll eventually HAVE (a managerial role).

BE (tell yourself, ‘I am a fit and active person)’ then DO something about it (start doing some exercise everyday even if it’s just a 10 minute walk around the block ) and that means you’ll soon HAVE (more energy and sense of well-being).

BE (tell yourself, ‘I am good at managing money’) then DO something about it (actively find ways to cut back on spending or find a better paying job to generate excess cash which can be saved) and that means you’ll eventually HAVE (deposit for a house).

Once you change your mindset from a HAVE –DO – BE strategy to a BE – DO – HAVE things really start to change for the better.

In my case, once I told myself “I’m a coach. That’s who I am being” then I found myself thinking like a coach, behaving like a coach and guess what happened? People started coming to me for coaching because I was being a coach. Then I started to experience the joy that success brings.

Following my moment of insight I started BEING in other areas of my life. For example I am BEING the author, I am BEING the improviser, I am BEING the musician.

In each of these roles I am comfortable taking imperfect action because by DOING (writing, performing, playing), I gain so many rewards – pleasure, friendships, self-confidence, pride. The list goes on.

When DOING, be brave. Do not be afraid of taking imperfect action. Perfectionism will also keep the brakes on your life. For example as an author I know and accept that my first drafts will be S#*T.

Here’s an exercise to help you shift your HAVE – DO – BE strategy:

To begin, pick an area of your life that’s important to you e.g. family, work, health.

Find a quiet space and spend as much time as you need to think about who you want to become in person, spirit and in character in this area of your life.

This can be a challenging question to answer as it’s one we don’t often (if ever) ask ourselves. The answer might require some time and deep thinking.

Use your imagination to visualise who you want to BE. What would you focus on? What’s important to you? What are your goals? How would you carry yourself? How would you treat yourself? How would you treat other people? What would your relationships be like? How would you look at finances? What would you be doing to be healthy?

You may need to return to this question a few times and that’s fine.

When you are clear about who and what you want to be, you are better able to consciously make choices (“do”) and produce outcomes (“have”) that are in alignment with this identity.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is … is what you do.”
~ Anon

Once you have an answer to who you are BEING, the next step is to give some thought to what you need to DO to fully express yourself in that role.

DOING involves making decisions, choices and taking action.

Write down how the person you are being acts, dresses, behaves, talks, etc. Capture all your ideas on paper so you have a list of the things you need to DO to consistently BE the person you want to be.

You are now ready to start doing those things, to begin acting in a way that’s consistent and in alignment with who you are being and your goal(s). Start with one of the activities on your list. Once you take the first step the rest will follow.

The results of your actions will bring you ever closer to HAVING the success you want.

Once you make this mind shift, and start using the BE – DO – HAVE strategy you’ll be amazed at how your life will change for the better.