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Human beings versus Human doings!

Did you know that the Chinese symbol for crisis means both danger and opportunity?

Danger Opportunity in Chinese

If we take the time to look at the glass half full maybe we can see plenty of opportunities that have been taken either by us or those around us during this global pandemic?


Article Human beings versus Human doings cover

I for one feel very energised to be able to acknowledge that many individuals and organisations decided to invest in their personal and professional growth over the last 18 months.


When reflecting on the different Leadership and Coaching programs that I have delivered this year I noticed however a pattern that I was intrigued to share.


At the start of any training session, I always ask participants to share their expectations for the day or session ahead which allows me to adapt the content and session plan to the group’s needs and wants. Over the last year especially I’ve noted that most expectations have been related to requests for tools, techniques, models, procedures, structures, or frameworks toward guiding participants to better coaching or leadership skills.


Now what’s wrong with that I can hear you saying? And you are right, the desire to learn is essential, or as Robin Sharma says, “A day without learning is like a day without breathing!” Indeed, it’s learning that keeps our purpose alive, that helps us in moving forward and that supports us in navigating through the only constant that is change.


So, what is it in these requests that has intrigued me?


I’ve simply been pondering if we are trying to learn the right things.


After a few open questions and a bit of digging, I understood that the real desire behind these requests for tools and techniques was quite simple: “I want to be a good leader” or “I want to have the confidence to be a good coach” for example.


So, if we put two and two together, the assumption being made is that in order to be good at what we do we need to have the right panoply of credentials, tools, etc. And I concur, these are important for raising the collective conscious on new improved ways of doing things. Yet the word that jumps out to me in both of those sentences is “be”: “I want to be a good leader” or “I want to have the confidence to be a good coach”. This indicates to me that deep down the participants requests, even subconsciously, are more about being a better leader or coach rather than doing good leadership or coaching.


Am I nit-picking? Maybe! Though I would argue that learning to be is essential to everything and anything we do. After all we are called human beings and not human doings are we not?

I fear that many aspects of the society we live in today are inciting us to act as human doings and hence why to feel confident in a new role the requests I’m often seeing are for skills that will support more or better doing. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we pulled together to build a world where we come back to focusing on being, on our behaviours, our presence, on our capacity to show up with authenticity and vulnerability!


What would it change?


Each of us would be sharing our most powerful gift with others; that of being our true unique selves. By being present, by letting go of expectations of how we think we should be showing up and simply showing up as we are we create a wonderful safe space for open, honest, and real conversations to take place.


The question is: can we learn how to be just as we can learn how to do?


I believe so and would be happy to share more thoughts on the matter 😉 For the time being my invitation for 2022 is that we seize the opportunity to listen and observe ourselves more. As you go into your different interactions at work or at home simply ask yourself are you doing or are you being? Recognising, acknowledging where we are at is a great place to start before looking at where we would like to be!

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