What's On Your "To-Be" List?
Posted on March 25, 2010 by Michael Felberbaum, One of Thousands of Life Coaches on Noomii.
Your "to-be" list is a great way to life coach yourself by staying on top of your goals and intentions.
Most of us keep a written to-do list filled with items like: “Call Joe about the meeting next week” and “buy a new set of tires for the car.” We use the to-do list consciously and intelligently in order to move forward in our lives.
However, lesser known, and rarely kept, is the “to-be” list. Your to-be list might be filled with items like: “be an effective businessperson” and “be an excellent golfer” and “be a loving, caring mother.” If you write down your list, you may be surprised that there are dozens of people you wish to be.
Most of us are so unaccustomed to keeping a to-be list that it might seem like just wishful thinking and a waste of time — more work to add into our already overstuffed lives. However, consider the cost of not keeping one. We don’t remember who we want to be when we’re feeling great about our life and our work. We remember when we encounter people we envy and admire — the all-star mom, the rich businessman, etc. We see them and we might feel we’re wasting our precious time. We might even feel stuck, resentful and unfulfilled.
As children, we’re encouraged to say what we want to be when we grow up. Skies the limit! But as adults, these questions are often shoved under because of responsibilities and commitments, bills and mortgages. Life gets serious, right? However, there is a part of us that hangs on to the possibilities — the to-be list is still there in the background causing second-guessing and anxiety. Anyone I know who has created an actual list – no matter how busy they were – has experienced enormous relief along with a sense that it might be possible to move in a direction they actually want.
But the to-be list is important even beyond avoiding pangs of jealousy and a sense of wasting our precious time. It allows us to claim direction of our life and view it creatively. Often when I talk with clients about career or business direction, they have many, many ideas of what they might do, but are more hesitant about expressing who they want to be. It often feels like bragging or selfishness to say, unabashadely, I see myself as the best ballet dancer ever, or a millionaire 5 times over by the time I’m 30.
Viewing direction questions (i.e. where am I headed with my career or business?) creatively is different than our typical view. Initially, when we approach direction questions they’re viewed through a decision-making lens, as though we are going to 1) narrow down the options of what to do with our career or business, 2) do a cost-benefit analysis and 3) pick the best one. How about viewing it as a design process, in which the major design elements are what’s on that to-be list. What’s more important to you than what’s on that list?
One last point (for me to moralize a bit). Remember that Monster.com advertisement in which the kid says: “I want to be a middle-manager when I grow up?” It’s funny because we’re supposed to believe that no one in his right mind could have “be a middle manager” on his to-be list. Don’t we all want to be firefighters, astronauts, teachers and artists? However, actually being a middle manager – having that experience – might be very worthwhile and fun to someone who has written on their to-be list something like the following: 1) be a facilitator of teams; 2) be in a position where I have increasing responsibility, etc. Not to mention all the other elements of the job and practicalities of life that the person might be addressing. There really is no room for judgment about job titles or roles until we discover the connection between who someone is, who they want to be and what they like to do.
So, what’s on your to-be list?