2015 is by far one of the most pivotal years in my 20 years as a communications professional. It’s with much gratitude, joy, humility and a touch of sadness that I bid it farewell and set my sights on 2016. I’m optimistic that 2016 will be rewarding in a beautiful yet different way and I owe this intention to a choice: The choice to shift my focus from the ‘doing’ self to the ‘being’ self.
This time of year it’s common to create goals and New Year’s resolutions to push the reset button for a fresh start. Do you realize that a majority of the time, goals are focused on what we need to be ‘doing’? We either vow to resume ‘doing’ what we’ve lost interest in or start ‘doing’ what we haven’t been ‘doing’. In a world driven by ‘busy’ and getting things done, we’re conditioned and awarded for the belief that the more we ‘do’ to attain our goals, the better our chances of success.
I disagree. And one of the best examples is apparent in the marketing communications industry.The goal of raising awareness and increasing visibility among target audiences in a market is a common communications objective. Typically, tactics are outlined and completed with the intention of achieving the goals. Company leaders may decide to sponsor a community event, attend more networking functions or spend more advertising dollars. All tactics focus on ‘doing’ more. The perception exists that the act of ‘doing’ creates the most impact. Varied experiences in 2015 - some beautiful, some painful - taught me just the opposite.
As counterintuitive as that sounds, I can say with complete conviction that the times I considered my ‘being’ self (how I showed up) more than my ‘doing’ self, the results were surreal. Among them:
- Conversations, whether on the phone or in person, were more engaging because more thought was given to how I was saying something versus what was said.
- Communication was more synergistic because I focused more on the other person than I did my own agenda or judgements.
- The art of listening became an active experience rather than a passive activity because I was fully present.
- My learning skyrocketed as a result of ‘being’ more mindful.
- I experienced greater connectivity with what was in my space be it people, animals or nature.
- Awareness of my ‘being’ self allowed the nurturing of authentic self so I could return to and live from center.
- Consideration for how others are impacted by the way I show up increased exponentially.
- With a mind free from the constant barrage of ‘to-do’ lists, my memory is able to recall thoughts and ideas to guide me toward that which needs my attention.
- I experienced ‘flow’ - the ability to lose my sense of self and move forward on instinct.
The first time my mentor and coach challenged me to think about my ‘being’ self versus my ‘doing’ self is forever etched in my mind. She was disinterested in and unimpressed about all I had been ‘doing’ in an effort to rack up lists of accomplishments and successes. Instead, her curiosity about my ‘being’ self and how I showed up while ‘doing’ was the focus of numerous conversations. As time passed, the more I contemplated the concept, the more clarity I gained. More clarity led to choices of honoring my ‘being’ self. Eventually, it became easier to ‘be’ my authentic self. And although it’s a daily choice, it’s empowering and fulfilling in ways difficult to describe.
Back to the example of communications tactics. Imagine the possibilities if those responsible for ‘doing’ the tactics also considered their ‘being’ selves (both personally and as a brand) - the way they show up - at the golf outings, community events or in the ads they create. Think of the communications impact that exists by making our interactions about our ‘being’ selves and not our ‘doing’ selves.
I believe our ‘being’ selves have the capacity to inspire and energize others far more than our ‘doing’ selves. By focusing on ‘being’, mindfulness increases, intentions are present and the chance of creating our intended impact increases. Do you have examples to share about times you chose ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’? I’d love to hear them!