Be Do Have

To download this exercise to do it for yourself, click here. Recently our team have been discussing the need to ‘be’ instead of being so caught up in ‘doing’. We all know people who are trying to get a different outcome for themselves, and they are ìtrying everything they knowî to get change. The problem however, is that being precedes doing.

Setting new goals is not really going to help when we are not in a position to even see clearly where we are going. The problem is, from where they are standing right now, they cannot see better goals to go after. Most of the things they can think of do not examine who they need to be, what hat they need to wear, what attitude of mind they need to adopt in order to have resourceful strategies and go after meaningful goals.

It feels like we often put the horse before the cart. We set the wrong goals to go after the wrong things. Instead, we need to back up a bit and ask, ‘Who do I need to be in order to see things differently?’ We rarely find our positioning in life matches our desires… who we are (how we are) often makes the outcomes we desire impossible. No matter how hard we work to achieve the desired outcome, we end up sabotaging the process and working against ourselves so we end up frustrated and with a feeling of hopelessness.

The question is, what makes different outcomes possible? The first step is to get a new perspective. That person I was speaking about before, is not in a position to see any differently. It’s like they’re stuck down a well. When you are down the well, you can only see water below, stone walls beside and a glimpse of the blue sky. You do not see many options. This is your state of mind. The goals you set, and the outcomes that follow are like a plane wreck. They just don’t work.

But there is another state of mind – when you are up high on a balcony. From there, you can see the well below, the fields and mountains around and the sky above. You see so many options! Out of these new possibilities, our outcomes almost take care of themselves. You can see the fireworks, and shoot for the stars. Now the question becomes… how do I move from being in the well to being on the balcony?

Disciplines (rituals) precede our state (of being) which gives rise to possibilities (the things we can do) which produce outcomes (the things we can have). To put it simply: be – do – have.

We make choices day by day – to love the unlovely, to forgive the undeserving, the walk with people who are distasteful to us. These are our daily choices, practices, and they put us in a certain state. They either put us in a resourceful state – rising above our circumstance, serving others, dying to self, which put us on the balcony. Or they put us in an unresourceful state – falling, being selfish, growing in our human struggle, which puts us down the well.

So our state makes possibilities possible, and possibilities make new outcomes possible. What makes state possible? Well as we’ve already mentioned, it is disciplines (rituals). There are a whole bunch of disciplines or rhythms, that when applied, have the net result of leading us into a higher state.


Bellingham, G. “Who’s at your Table?” exercise. The Tarrodale Institute, 2012.
Frazer, J. “State is King: the power of be-do-have”. The Tarrodale Institute, 2012.