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Introducing The Be-Do-Have Model

Decades ago, Steven Covey introduced the Be-Do-Have model to the mainstream in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The idea is very simple.

After establishing the desired goal, we successfully achieve it by asking three questions in a specific sequence: Who do I need to be in order to accomplish this goal? What do I need to do in order to accomplish this goal? What do I need to have in order to accomplish this goal? 

The Be question must be asked first because it determines your state of being.  It is who you are, not what you have or what you do, that drives influence. 

Ultimately, this model is about ensuring a different outcome. In one of my earlier podcast episodes, I spoke of the importance of planning. For those of you that have put the plan together, it’s now all about making a change. For many people, this is very difficult because we find our habits or known working practices very hard to break or change.  

Once you’ve established who you need to Be in order to accomplish your goal real change starts with Have. It may be useful at this point to grab a pen and paper and start plotting your Be, Do, Have plan. 

So Have, is an outcome and in order to have an outcome, we need to do stuff. And in order to do stuff, we need to be someone. 


You’ve Got To Have It 

Let’s start with the Have. We’ve all heard someone use phrases like (or maybe we use them ourselves too!) “Well, I want to have a new car.” “I want to have a bigger house.” “I want to have a nicer holiday.” “In fact, maybe I’d like to have a holidayMaybe I would like to have some more time, et cetera.”  

These sentences always reflect an outcome. The question to ask yourself is, how often have you wanted something, but never achieved it? It happens to us all. In fact, it used to happen to me for a number of years. I used to always want this, that and the other, but for some reason, it never seemed to materialise. 

The reality is in order for us to get a different outcome, we really need to do things differently. However, you can’t do things differently if you’re still the same person. So, although it may sound a little harsh, in order to have different outcome, you have to change who you are.  

It’s not as bad as it sounds. I often have conversations with clients where they look at me like I’m absolutely mad. And then they say, “Well, what’s wrong with me? Why do I have to change who I am? I’m absolutely happy with who I am.” That’s not what we mean here. What we mean is we need to change the way we are. 


The Year That Changed The World 

Probably the best parallel I can draw is if we think back to 2003. For those of you that remember their history, from the 1900s to about 2003, it was the period known as the industrial age. During this time t was all around working on machinery, tailorism, and processing raw materials 

The focus was not on how smart you could work, but on how hard you could work. If you could work harder than the next person and keep smiling you got even more credibility. In those days you could work really, really hard, get by and get what you want.  

2003 changed the whole landscape of how we communicate, how we think. Back in the old days, we had to go to the library to get books and then read them to gain knowledge. These days you’ve got smartphones, internet tablets. 2003 was the beginning of that era. 

And it was what we now know is the digital era or the knowledge worker age. Then came 2008, in 2008 was the beginning of the great financial crisis or mini-depression. Many people didn’t know how long the crisis would last and what the outcome would be at the end of it. A lot of people expected us just to bounce back as we did in previous recessions. But the reality is, it’s 2021 and after the last 18 months people are still saying that it’s tough out there. And really this is the heart of the economy. This is as good as it gets. The reason many people struggle is they’re really operating on an old system; an antiquated system, because they’ve not changed who they are and really been in the digital age or the knowledge worker age. 

We need to change now. If we don’t change who we are, the way that we think and the way that we work, we’re going to become obsolete. And you know, those sort of Haves that we want are never going to happen.  


Change the Be 

That is what I mean about changing the Be. Now some of you are going to be saying, “Well, I’ve done all of that. And I’m still not getting the outcome.” Well, there’s a caveat to what I’ve said, because mindset and actually how we see ourselves, how we think about ourselves, plays a really important part. We are what we think we are. 

Now, this is really important for a number of reasons. So what do we mean by you do what you are and you are what you think? Verne Harnish is the author of Scaling Up and Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. When I met Verne about seven years ago, he made a really poignant point, which at the time didn’t quite sink in, but has done over the years. He said, “Really, most people think, okay, let’s save up for children’s university. Let’s save up for our kids going to university and college.” Verne put a different take on it. He said, “Perhaps what we need to do is not save up for their college and university fund, but send them to therapy. Once they come out of full-time education.”.

Think about how much emotional and learned baggage we actually have, and can you imagine carrying around say, two bags of baggage for your entire life. Now it could be baggage from growing up in a dysfunctional family environment. It could be the schooling system. And I cannot begin to tell you the number of clients I’ve picked up over the years that are actually brilliant entrepreneurs, but they’re dyslexic. You can imagine dyslexic kids in an antiquated Victorian education system, it’s a place that’s ill-equipped to deal with them.

You can now see how these people can leave school and actually they feel that they’re a failure. Not a failure as in a total failure, but a failure in terms of they can’t learn. And it’s really sad to see there are actually people that have this negative self-image or they have all this garbage in their head. It actually prevents them from doing the Do get in the outcome. 

And in fact, I’m a great advocate of people going out there seeing psychotherapists and actually getting rid of their baggage. Because unless we get rid of the stuff that holds us back, no matter how much we work on all the Be stuff, if our thinking isn’t right, we are always going to revert back to the way we think about ourselves; which means we’re never going to do it. Therefore, we never can have the outcomes we desire. So it’s about making sure we work both on the Be and the thinking together so that we can execute.  

So, in summary, do not expect different outcomes, if you’re not prepared to do things differently. If you’re not prepared to change who you are, and if you’re not prepared to work on the stuff that’s in your head, that’s holding you back.  

If this article resonates with you, and you want more information, please get in contact.

But remember this, failing to learn is learning to fail. 


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