I’m an incredibly organized person – it’s literally in my DNA. I always have been and I probably always will be. In fact, one of the key areas I help many of my clients with is organization, task management, prioritizing, project management etc. so that they can accomplish what they want and need to, not just within the timelines they desire but without burning themselves out and experiencing unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Personally, I never start my day without a prioritized ‘to do’ list. My lists ensure that I get the important things done, as well as everything else and they not only keep my stress levels down and me more sane but they provide my brain with a greater capacity to perform at its best.
However, as much important as my ‘to do’ lists are, there is another list that is far more important and impactful, one that I get all my clients to create as well – and that is your ‘to be’ list. This ‘list’ provides the foundation, depth and quality to how you get things done. You see because who you are, is as, if not more important than what you get done. Yet is something very, very few people intentionally spend time not only contemplating and creating but then actually putting into practice.
So what exactly is a ‘to be’ list? It’s quite simple actually… It’s a list of words that embody the qualities of your absolute best self. It’s the words that if I told you all your closest and dearest friends and family described you as you would feel incredibly proud. It’s the words that navigate how you show up in your life every day. It’s the words that guide how you handle yourself regardless of circumstance.
So…what words would you use to describe your absolute best self? Present, Open-minded, organized, kind, courageous, resilient, generous, light-hearted, happy, grateful, focused, calm… Currently, my 3 words are energetic, patient and disciplined.
To create your best and most effective ‘to be’ list, make sure you follow all of the steps below:
Selecting Your Words
1. If something is important for you ‘to be’ – let’s say organization for arguments sake – but you have that handled and dialed in – in fact you probably couldn’t not be organized then that is not a word you need to choose. It’s already how you naturally show up. But if patience is important to you and a quality you want to embody more and know you haven’t mastered it, then that would be a perfect word to choose for your ‘to be’ list.
2. If you know there is a particular quality, say focus for example, that if you truly lived from and into, it would help you move forward in your life more quickly and effectively, then that would be an ideal word for your ‘to be’ list. It’s something that will require you to stretch and grow as a person.
3. Once you’ve made your list, pick just 3 words! Yes, just 3! I know you may be tempted to pick more but this isn’t about quantity – it’s about quality and mastery! So limit yourself to the 3 words you feel would best serve you right now and that embody the absolute best of who you want to be. Then go and be those every single day until you have them handled and they are ingrained in your DNA. Then choose 3 more…
Emotionalizing Your Words
1. Think of a time when you absolutely embodied your 3 words like never before. What was happening? Who were you with? How did you feel? Now relive those situations. Then when you are living into your words and being them every day – you can draw on those memories to inspire you and help you connect to them even more.
2. Also consider why the particular words you have chosen are important to you? Why are those words meaningful to you now?
Living Your Words
1. Now that you’ve selected and emotionalized your ‘to be’ list you need to live from and into them every day. You need ‘to be’ them every day, regardless of circumstance.
2. To do that you need to regularly remind yourself what your words are. The more often you see them, the more you will be them. Have your words on your phone, the fridge, next to your computer etc. But especially review them first thing in the morning. This will help you set your intention for the day of how you want to be and show up.
3. Then regularly assess the extent to which you are being your words. What would you rank yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 in any given moment during the day? Consider how you could do better – be more patient, more organized, more focused or whatever your words may be. This is how you direct your mind and actions in a much more positive way.
4. And use them to inspire you when you need a lift or boost. Ask yourself: “what would a focused or patient or organized person do in this situation?” How can I be more kind this afternoon? Your answers will direct your thoughts to a better, more effective place. Then the choice is yours to act on them or not. But at least now you will have options that you may have previously not considered.
“Breaking” Your Words
1. None of us are perfect so there will be days when no matter how top of mind your words are, circumstance will get the better of you and will not be patient or light-hearted or happy. And that’s ok – you’re human. However, the fact that you even have a ‘to be’ list will cause you be at least be a little more patient, light-hearted or happier than you would have been had you not had a ‘to be’ list to start with and this, I promise, will make all the difference.
Reviewing Your Words
1. Every couple of months reassesses your words. Are they still serving you? Have they become second nature to you or are they still stretching you as a person? Do you need to change them?
2. Keep in mind this is about growth so your ‘to be’ list is not set in stone. It needs to grow and change in relation to your growth and change.
The bottom line is – if you take the time to create your ‘to be’ list and you are consistently intentional about being them, it will help you grow into the person you most want to be.
And now, think about how much better that ‘to do’ list will unfold! It will be a different ball game completely because when the quality of the “ingredients” doing the tasks is different and better, then the outcome will also be different and better.
So the goal is really to focus on being before doing because our identity will always determine your choices and habits and these determine the results you get in life. And as you show up as the best possible person you will also attract the best possible people into your life.
What are your 3 words? Share them below, own them and confidently be them!
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ABOUT THE COACH...
Lauren Jawno is one of less than 300 elite internationally Certified High Performance Coaches™ in the world.
She's built a thriving practice around living a whole and high performance life – based on relevant, cutting-edge research and information. I love to coach my clients to success, to achieve the life they truly want, through programs which not only match their goals and personalities but also educate and empower them to reach their highest potential, to be high performers.
A highly sought after keynote speaker for hundreds of public and private events across North America and the UK, Lauren is also the author of Change4Good - The Ten Essentials for Food, Fitness and the Good Life