Do you have a “to do” list? I know that I do. I am so busy that if a task is not on my list, chances are that I will forget to do it. Yet, I do not have a “to be” list, a list of those traits and qualities that I would like to guide my actions and reactions…kind, tolerant, patient, calm.
Several events over the last days have led me to think about how maybe we should focus more on who we want to “be” rather than what we have to “do.” The hatred driven Charleston shooting made me again ask why can we not just be respectful and tolerant as human beings to one another. Then, my Facebook feed overflowed with thankful messages from of all my friends to their fathers, reminding me to be thankful everyday and not just on Father’s Day. And finally, I had a meeting with a couple divorcing and they have been struggling with a great deal of animosity. In a turning point, one of the parties stated that if they want to ease the transition for their children, the two of them would need to be more “gracious” towards one another. For a moment, they were able to stop focusing on what they needed to “do” to create a parenting plan and rather focus on who they needed to “be” to be better co-parents for their children.
I recognize that who I am and how I am, is just as important, and even more so, than what I have done in any given day. In fact, who I am impacts what I do. It impacts my productivity, creativity, and how others respond to me.
Having a “to be” list helps you to slow down, think about, and be more intentional in your actions and reactions. These qualities may change from day to day depending on your activities. If you have a particularly stressful meeting tomorrow your “to be” list may include “calm.” If you are having dinner with your critical mother tomorrow your “to be” list may include being patient and kind.
I now have a “to be” list for tomorrow, in addition to my “to do” list. Do you?