Growth Leadership – Being Before Doing

The way you show up to do something determines
your ability to align your whole body
and emotions to the moment.
Start with the intention for optimal results.

Most people default to — what do I need to DO to have what I want. The DOING is important. And the most important is to be intentional about how you will show up. In other words, focus on who you are BEING first.

Let’s give this some context in conventional thinking.

DO -> HAVE -> BE

This is the sequence that most people think.

Let’s look at an example: You may believe if you DO three actions that eventually you will HAVE the title so you can BE the leader. I get this thinking because it is the way I have operated most of my life. I was an engineer in college (go Ramblin’ Wreck!). I have a very logical brain and have always believed that taking action or DOING is the first step.

What if the first step was different than what do you DO?

Think about the power of putting the BE first. I don’t mean BE the leader. I want you to think beyond the word “leader.” What kind of leader do you want to BE? Get intentional with the traits that you want others to see you for.


What are the words that YOU associate with the type of leader you want to be?

The key to this shift is to think about who you want to BE first. Get that is grounded in who you are. Then take action (the DO in the formula for success) so that you can HAVE what you want.

BE -> DO -> HAVE

That is the order that is most important for your growth.

One metaphor in business that is often tossed about represents this well. Have you heard that you should “dress for the job you want?” This means that you can’t expect to get the job then change the way you dress. You want to dress for it so that those giving you the job can see that you have already shifted to that person. This is a visual shift.

If you want to be a growth leader, you must get clear about the BEING first. It is visual if you think about it. You show up with confidence first, then start to determine the actions you will take.

Who Are You BEING?

I often ask my clients, “Who do you need to BE to have the success you want?” The key word here is “BE.”

Who are you being right now? How does that way of being limit your success and your significance?

In The Trap of Success, I wrote about success and significance from many perspectives. In simple terms, success is what you get, and significance is what you give to others. What you get are your goals and your desires. What you give to others is more than just yourself.

In the book, I’ve put a spotlight on the various ways we get trapped by success so that you can understand what might be holding you back. I hope that by now you are developing a keen awareness of what you want and how you need to shift your mindset and your actions to accept it and make it happen in your life.

My aim is for you to be willing to shift from the inside out, for you to see the inner battles that keep you playing small and staying comfortable, and then to master the inner game, which will free you up so you can operate boldly even when you’re uncomfortable. When you get real and look into the mirror, you can now be honest with yourself about who you are currently being in this world, and how that person has kept you from finding the joy in significance.

Who Do You Need to BE?
The big question that follows is obvious: Who do you need to be to the leader you want?

This isn’t about what you will feel in a single moment in time. I’m talking about creating a life that is filled with a feeling of significance. As you take the journey of significance I’ve explained here, you will feel it more and more.

Passion is critical because the journey is hard. You will be required to do what others will not do. You will face adversity that will make you want to stop, but that’s when you will dig deeper, learn new lessons, and find new resources inside yourself.

Your breakthrough will come from the habits that establish your leadership. Specifically, it will be in how you intentionally decide to show up as a leader. This is all about who you are BEING.

The leader you want to be will emerge over time as you grow. You will more quickly see the gifts that come with every failure. You will think bigger — not because somebody said you should, but because your vision commands you to. At that point, you will become endlessly proactive about creating what you want, no longer waiting for it to develop without your input.

When you reach that state, you will automatically look for the edges of your comfort zone. You’ll embrace your uneasiness as a signal showing you where you need to grow. You’ll lean into your fears and open yourself up to the courage that will guide you on your journey. You will play to win instead of playing not to lose. You will insist on doing only what is essential and perform endless tests to find out what works best. You will thrive on taking new actions and getting new results.

Isn’t that the life you really want?

Remember that you can only control who you are being in this world. You can’t control others. You can’t control the results. But you do get to choose how you show up in the world, how you interpret life, and how you respond to what happens.

Escaping the trap of success and making the shift to the leader that you want to be will come from your new ability to see the choices you have and select the ones that connect to your mission, your vision, your values—and ultimately your soul.

Being a Growth Leader
What words come to mind when you think about being a Growth Leader? Take 10 minutes tomorrow to think about the way of BEING that makes you a growth leader. Your words will be different from mine. If you are serious about what you want, this is a simple exercise.

When you have the 3-4 words that define your way of being that make you a growth leader, you can be intentional each and every day about the way you show.