Many years ago one of my goals for public speaking was to design and deliver my own three-day workshop on the Las Vegas Strip. I first achieved that goal in 2009. That was a goal of doing.
Another goal I had for public speaking was to develop such strong comfort with public speaking that I could feel fully present in front of an audience, so I could be spontaneous and in the moment and not feel anxiety or nervousness – just enjoyment, fun, playfulness, and connection. I achieved that goal somewhere along the way. I demonstrated it at the three-day 2015 Conscious Heart Workshop, delivered spontaneously with lots of fun, playfulness, and inspiration in the moment – and no nervousness or anxiety. There was no plan or content preparation for that workshop. I facilitated it from the flow of inspiration and audience suggestion moment by moment. That was a goal of being.
At another time I had a goal of writing a book and getting it published. That was achieved in 2008. More doing.
But I also had a goal of writing that book in a way that I could always feel really good about it, and I wouldn’t feel like I’d outgrown it a decade or two later. I wanted to have a timeless relationship with that book and its principles throughout my life. More being. I still feel such a connection to that book, now 12 years after it was published.
The culture that I find myself within gives a lot of weight to doing and not enough to being. Pursuing goals “at all costs” is lauded by many. But we pay a price for this focus – a loss of connection to being.
When you set goals for the New Year (or anytime really), give some attention to the beingness aspects, not just to your activities and results.
Beingness is surprisingly powerful. A lot of doingness takes care of itself if you invest in the right experience of beingness.
Results of Beingness
Here are some examples of goals that I’ve achieved that have enhanced my life greatly, which have more to do with being than doing.
- I’m in a long-term relationship with a woman who makes me smile when I see her. We laugh together every day. Even after spending so much time together, especially this year, I still look forward to more time with her.
- My vegan diet forever changed the way I relate to animals. I look upon them with a sense of fellowship and reverence, not as objects to be bought and consumed.
- I have written millions of words of published content, but for me the more important goal was learning to write from inspiration. I never get writer’s block. That’s due to trust, not because of self-discipline. I don’t have to force anything. I’ve learned how to invite, tune into, and trust the flow. With the right beingness, the doingness is relatively easy. Most of the content I’ve written, including all of my blog articles and YouTube videos, are donated to the public domain, so anyone is free to republish, repurpose, or translate them.
- I’m happy. I like my life. I look forward to each day. I often feel appreciative and grateful and lucky, not as some kind of deliberate practice but just as an automatic inner response. I’ve made it a priority to live my life in such a way that these feelings naturally arise. I say no to a lot of doing-based projects that would predictably reduce my happiness. I say yes to invitations and activities that will predictably increase my happiness. And I test that predictability now and then to see if my predictions are still accurate.
- I get up at 5am each morning. This doesn’t require any force. I’m simply in love with the early morning hours. I seem to have a special relationship with that time of day. It’s that relationship that makes it easy to get out of bed – no force or discipline needed.
- I feel that I have a healthy and positive relationship with money. I enjoy earning it and find it fairly easy to earn plenty of it when I want. I like spending it too. I like saving it. I invested a lot of thought and experimentation into improving my relationship with money – to drive out the fears and worries about it and to replace those fears and worries with play, trust, creativity, appreciation, inspiration, and other positive aspects of beingness. I used to struggle with money during my 20s, and that struggle didn’t occur during my 30s and 40s. This was solved not with more doing but with better being.
- I have friends who inspire me to be a better person. I find that such people naturally flow into my life and stick around, not from working on my action-based social skills but from deepening my connection to the person I really want to be in each moment. When I express my beingness in the moment, people who are aligned with me seem naturally attracted to me. I also find it beautiful, remarkable, and empowering when someone else really expresses their beingness. It makes me feel in awe of that person. I tend to feel more awe from a person’s beingness rather than from their actions and accomplishments.
I tend to value my gains in beingness more than my gains in doingness. That’s because the right beingness makes the doing part easier and more fun.
Setting Goals of Being
I encourage you to actually set some goals of being. They may look like doing-based goals on the surface, but how you experience them is at least as important as the doing part. So the goal is really about the presence you bring to the experience.
Here are some examples:
- Deliver a one-hour presentation with zero nervousness or anxiety.
- Learn to enjoy doing your taxes that you file them at least a few weeks ahead of the due date. Find a way to fully enjoy the process with little or no resistance.
- Earn $10K in one day, in a playful and inspired way. Form the intention, and then act on the flow of inspiration moment by moment. This seems like it’s about the doing, but it’s really about working through self-limiting beliefs and creating a more playful and inspired relationship with reality. You have to stop the self-censoring and self-doubt and learn to “yes, and” the ideas that flow through. This goal is nearly impossible if your relationship with inspiration is weak. It can be fun to do it if that relationship is strong. You might even set such a goal and then find that you’re getting redirected towards an even better or bigger goal.
- Prepare and eat a meal that’s super healthy, super delicious, and feels delightful to prepare it, eat it, and digest it. This requires that you really listen to how you’re connecting with the food during each step. And then you must be present to how your body is experiencing the food after you’ve eaten it.
- Become a hugger. Become a person who gives and receives willing hugs, maybe even every day. Create a life rich in consensual touch. Oh, this was an amazing one to achieve, given my starting point. It took years to get there, but it was so worth it.
- If you start a blog, YouTube channel, podcast, or something similar, define what kind of relationship you want to have with the many loops of creating and publishing new material that you’ll experience. What I’ve found helpful is that the process must be a growth experience for me; otherwise I’ll get bored and resist it. I also have to write for people I care about helping. This is more important than traffic or numbers. I need to love the process of creation. If I don’t love it, it means the beingness is wrong, and I need to approach it differently.
- Make a really good, new friend. Good luck with turning this into a step-by-step action plan. With the right beingness though, this one is a lot easier. What makes you a good friend? Are you being that kind of person consistently?
So don’t just consider the what aspect of your goals. Pay great attention to the how and the why. Consider what kind of life you’re creating. Look at the inner experience of what it will be like to achieve your goals one way versus another way. There are so many ways to achieve results externally, but many approaches won’t feel very aligned or pleasant on the inside.
When you ignore the beingness aspect of a goal, you’ll likely sabotage the doingness part as well. It’s hard to take action when you’d rather procrastinate. If you’d rather play video games, how can you bring the beingness aspect that you enjoy while gaming into your other goals? What kind of player are you being in those game worlds? Are you being that player in other areas of life?
One sign that I have the beingness right is that I smile warmly when I think about my goals. It makes me happy to think about doing them. I look forward to working on them day by day. I’m not just motivated by the end result. I can savor the journey as well.