Getting clarity on who you are and what you are striving to achieve is vital if you are going to be more effective and successful.
Many people, however, don’t have that clarity. They have mind fog, which settles like a thick mist and clouds their vision of who they want to be, what they want to do, as well as which direction they want to be heading.
In short, they are lost. They constantly feel as if they are groping their way through the fog and yearning for a way out. They feel frustrated at the lack of direction in their life. They feel powerless at being unable to change things for the better.
One way to lift the mind fog and get clarity, find direction, and build confidence is to understand who you are being in each area of your life.
Every day you fulfil many roles, many times without realising it: at home, at work, with friends, with family, as a member of your community.
You shift seamlessly between your different roles throughout the day, often fulfilling more than one role at a time and most often unconsciously because you’ve done it so often over the years you don’t even have to think about it.
But think about it you must if you truly want to be more effective and successful.
Being & Doing: the 7 life segments
As a general rule, the many things you do and the many roles you have on a day-to-day basis can be divided into 7 Life Segments:
- Family & Relationships
- Career & Work
- Money & Finances
- Health & Wellbeing
- Learning & Education
- Fun & Adventure
- Spirituality & Ethics (or Morals & Religion)
Although there are others, these 7 Life Segments encompass the main areas on which you can focus and set goals to achieve throughout your life.
Q: Rate each of your 7 Life Segments on a scale of 0-10 (where 0 is lowest and 10 is highest).
For instance, you might rate Career & Work as 8, Learning & Education as 6, Family & Relationships as 10, and so forth. You might even rate each Life Segment equally. You might discover that one Life Segment rates well above all the others. Another might rate well below all the others.
There is no right or wrong in this exercise. What’s important isn’t the value of each Life Segment per se, rather the importance lies in the value of each Life Segment in relation to the other Life Segments.
Q: Now rank each of your 7 Life Segments in order of importance 1-7 and state your reasons.
Identifying Your Roles
Ranking your Life Segments assigns their level of importance to you, and the rating value you assigned to each Life Segment will help you to rank them in order of importance.
Generally speaking, the higher the rating the higher the ranking.
For instance, Money & Finances might rank No. 1, Fun & Adventure No. 2, Health & Wellbeing No. 3, and so forth. If you have rated two or more Life Segments equally, you will need to make a subjective decision as to which one ranks higher in importance and value to you.
Q: Consider what you currently do or want to do in each of your 7 Life Segments. What is essential or central to what you are doing in each segment?
For instance, in the Life Segment of Family & Relationships you probably have multiple roles, such as brother/sister/sibling, mother/father/parent, husband/wife/partner, grandparent/uncle/aunt/cousin, friend/colleague/teammate, and so forth.
Now consider what is central to what you do in your roles within this Life Segment? For example, as a friend your central role is to be supportive, to be a shoulder to cry on, to help out, to be there for your friends in times of need.
If you are a parent, your central role is to provide and protect. You provide for the needs of your children, and you provide shelter and protection for them.
You also heal and teach your children. You heal them when they hurt themselves, and you care for them when they are unwell. You also teach them family values and your cultural history.
You teach them about money, proper behaviour and respect, and the importance of being kind to others. You teach them to love themselves.
Being vs Doing
Yet although doing is different from being, they are often confused as the same thing. For instance, how often have you heard someone say, “You are what you do!”?
Which is nonesense, of course:
You cannot do without being, but you can be without doing.
Just because you might ‘do’ some teaching of your children doesn’t mean you are a teacher. Rather, you are being a parent who is doing some teaching.
Likewise, when younger siblings are left in the care of their older sister while their parents return home from work, the older sister doesn’t suddenly become her younger siblings’ parent because she’s temporarily taken the responsibility of looking after the children. She remains the older sister albeit ‘doing’ some parenting.
The parent doing some teaching, and the older sister doing some parenting, are not confusing their current actions with who they are. They are able to differentiate what they are doing from who they are being.
Those who confuse doing with being, however, simply have a case of mistaken identity: they think they are human doings, not human beings.
But to think this way is severely self-limiting, which this guidebook aims to address. To identify only with what you are doing externalises yourself to that thing you are doing.
Being is Primary
The problem, and self-limiting aspect of this externalisation of identity, is that when you stop doing that thing you are doing, your identity dies with it.
This would be extremely disconcerting if it were true. But can you really stop being who you are at any point during this lifetime? Is your beingness that fragile and dependent on external factors?
Of course not. If, for some reason, as a parent you are unable to provide for your children or protect them, it would be nonsensical to say that you are no longer a parent.
If you are unable for whatever reason to be supportive to your friends, it doesn’t mean that you are no longer a friend.
You are not a parent or friend because of what you do, you are a parent and friend because of who you are in your heart, who you are in spirit.
First you are a parent or friend, then you act as a parent or friend. You don’t act as a parent or friend and then become a parent or friend.
Being a parent or friend precedes doing anything that a parent or friend does.
Who you are is primary. What you do is secondary.
Who you are being is the cause, and what you are doing is the effect.
This is why ‘You’ are the hub of your Life Leadership Compass and not what you do.
Q: Now consider your roles and who you are being in each of your 7 Life Segments. What is essential or central to who you are being in each segment?
Who You Are is How You Act
In other words, what is the core value that underpins who you are in each Life Segment? What is the essence of who you are (or want to be) that you are expressing?
As a friend, your core value or essence is loyalty and fidelity, which is expressed through faithfulness and continuing support to your friends. It implies trust, honesty, reliability.
As a parent, your core value or essence is most probably love and nurture. Love and nurture is expressed through your desire for your children to be healthy and to grow into the adult they are capable of becoming.
Your loving and nurturing essence is expressed through loving and nurturing actions. It is imbued in everything you think, say, feel, and do for the benefit of your children.
Which is the important distinction between being and doing, cause and effect:
What you do is imbued with the essence of your being—who you are is how you act.
When you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice. When you squeeze a lemon, you get lemon juice.
The essence in sweetness and sourness, therefore, is not in the juice itself but in where it has come from.
If you are being angry, you will think angry thoughts, and you will ultimately act with anger. If you are being hateful, you will think hateful thoughts, and you will ultimately act with hatred.
If you are being resentful, you will think resentful thoughts, and you will ultimately act with resentment.
However, if you are being kind, you will think kind thoughts, and you will ultimately act with kindness. If you are being truthful, you will think truthful thoughts, and you will ultimately act with honesty. If you are being loving, you will think loving thoughts, and you will ultimately act with love.
This, then, is the essence of high effectiveness:
Elevate who you are being and you elevate what you do.
In other words, how effective you are in this moment is a direct result of who you are being in this moment. So, if becoming more effective is a priority for you, then who you are being must become your top priority.
Prioritising being before doing must become your focus.