Friday, April 24, 2009

The Do-Be-Do (or dooby doo) Dilemma

The crooners like Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. were on to something with their "dooby doo" songs of years gone by. Maybe that was their reminder to keep clear the distinction between DOING and BEING.

Why is it that when we're little kids, no one asks us what we want to DO for a living? They always ask us what we want to BE when we grow up.

Yet when we grow up, we seem to be much more focused on the DOING of our lives than the BEING in them.

Think about what you wanted to be when you grew up. A fireman? A ballerina? A teacher? As a kid you just KNEW what it would be like to actually BE that. You played as if you really were a fireman. You danced around the living room as if you really were a ballerina. You set up classrooms for your dolls and bears and younger siblings and "taught" them everything you knew.

What happened?

In my case, I became more obsessed with the "right" answer than with asking the powerful question. I was scared to death about doing anything "wrong" or "failing" that I was in relentless pursuit of whatever it took to be the one who did things "right." I pursued goals and awards and anything that would give me external validation so I didn't have to THINK. Because when I would just BE, I would THINK and those thoughts were more like questions.

I've always been curious, and the question WHY has always been at the forefront of anything I do. Whether a project at work or directions to a restaurant, I wanted to see the big picture, and see how the pieces fit together. But at work, that question is not always welcomed. I learned to just DO, don't THINK, upon advice from friends and co-workers and anyone else who didn't want to think about the question WHY for him/herself.

I learned that most people are more comfortable (or so they think) in the routine, just doing what they do because they've always done it that way. The more I learn, however, the more I think those people have been DOING things the way I used to DO them ... to avoid the thoughts that come up when we just BE.

I'm learning to welcome those thoughts that come from quiet because I know they are connected to a higher source - or what Napoleon Hill calls "Infinite Intelligence." As we develop our mental muscle of Intuition, we begin to learn that there really are no coincidences ... things really do fit together perfectly (which is the mathematical definition of coincidental angles - those that fit perfectly).

So don't be afraid to just BE once in a while. Think about your mind like a snow globe ... when it's shaken up and frantic and frenzied, it just needs to settle down every once in a while and BE. Then you can enjoy the scene inside the snow globe. Take it from someone who lives in North Dakota - it's not as easy to see the scene when it's snowing!

Some of us are starting to wake up and realize that what we're DOING in our lives doesn't even resemble what we wanted to BE when we grew up. We're not BEING very present in our lives as we run from task to task, from errand to errand and never stop long enough to remember what we knew when we were little.

Maybe it's time to take some time and reflect, take stock, and determine if what you're DOING is leading you to a place where you BE fulfilled.

Here are a couple of things to allow yourself to think about:

1) Determine - for yourself - the distinction between the phrases "HUMAN BEING" and "BEING HUMAN." Discuss with your peeps.

2) Know Yourself. Study the specimen called (insert your name here). What are your strengths? Consider taking the Strengths Finder assessment (I just retook it and found out I'm Maximizer, Strategic, Ideation, Activator, Learner).

3) Get in the Game. Once you've determined WHO you are (sometimes that takes some BEING time), then get on the court. The game is not played from the stands.

Remember that practice makes permanent. What are you practicing? BUSYNESS (doing for the sake of doing) or STILLNESS (being quiet for the sake of being)?

It's about finding the place of harmony between what you BE and what you DO. And it's an experiment.

If not now, when? If not you, who?


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