Are You a Human Being or a Human Doing?

Updated: Feb 11

In the work I do as a Co-Active Coach I work with clients with their “be” as well as their “do” and all the magic that happens in between.

And I have to confess, I grapple with my own “be” a lot!

The irony that it’s taken me six months to write this article about “being” is not lost on me….. it’s so hard to do being!!!


What is “Being?”……..

I started to mull this over, quite possibly too deeply, when a question was posed in my coaching community, by a Coach starting their Co-Active learning. They were struggling to consider who their client was “being”.


Too often in life we focus on the situation and what’s going on, rather than focusing on the person in the situation and who they truly are.

It’s this “be” part, who we are, the “being” qualities that impact how people relate to us


Invisible Values…

So much of who we are is inexplicit, its invisible, unspoken. And of course, we feel it, it’s our inner compass to deciding what feels right or wrong.

It’s in our values, the things that matter most to us, that when honoured, make us feel alive, fulfilled and able to be fiercely courageous.

And when, those values are not honoured or trampled on, it can make us feel devoid of joy, furious, sad, disillusioned and dissonant.

Of course these values are not invisible. If you’re really interested and curious about what’s important to other people, what drives them to act in a certain way, you simply have to listen for clues and observe who they are being in their actions.

We leak our values all over the place! In the words we emphasise, in the energy and excitement we show when something resonates with us. And in what drives us crazy! When a value is trampled on, the power and energy behind it can be wild!


People just do nothing!

In the era of efficiency and high response technology we value activity and some of us may believe busyness equals success.

Indeed, when I’ve been challenged to just “be” with something, I have found it just that…… a very large challenge!

Often when we stop and just do nothing its uncomfortable, it gives space to feelings or thoughts that may be troubling.

From my own experience, I know the value of creating the space for clients to “be” with discomfort. Discomfort that they have shut out in preference of busyness.

When you notice what comes up and you don’t try to fix it, when you really allow yourself to experience it, a shift happens.

A shift that creates space for something new to emerge.

It’s hard work being lazy!

Put wisely, from the excellent School of Life


At times, perhaps without quite knowing why, we slip into a resolutely ‘lazy’ mood. We’re simply not able to do anything. All we have an appetite for, it seems, is to loll on the sofa.

In such states of mind, we’re rapidly liable to be stigmatized as profoundly (and incorrigibly) ‘lazy’ by friends or – more painfully – by our own conscience.

But, to consider the matter from another perspective, it might be that the real threat to our happiness and self-development lies not in our failure to be busy, but in the very opposite scenario: in our inability to be ‘lazy’ enough.

Outwardly idling does not have to mean that we are neglecting to be fruitful. Busy people evade a different order of undertaking. They are practically a hive of activity, yet they don’t get round to working out their real feelings about their work. They are lazy when it comes to understanding particular emotions about a partner or friend.

The next time we feel extremely lazy, we should imagine that perhaps a deep part of us is preparing to give birth to a big thought. 


Cue Saboteur….

Of course, the two main currencies, that our Saboteurs trade in, are time and money

“you can’t afford to do nothing”

“you should really be making more of an effort”

“you should be doing more, taking more action, quickly, hurrrry up”

And so, “being” or doing nothing can get them quite riled! It may even be where part of the discomfort comes from….

And yet, the shift that happens in this space is where we can get two of our most valuable types of thoughts; Insightful and Experiential


“No Becky”…… It’s a myth that I think and therefore I am…

Whilst listening to the wonderful Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail podcast with Mo Gawadat, who refers to his brain as “Becky” I learned that we have three types of thoughts

1) Incessant; your brain sounds a siren and its most likely that these incessant thoughts are when your saboteur is at large.

2) Insightful; new information or new perspectives

3) Experiential; new experiences that allow us to observe

Allowing yourself the time to “be” will give the space for insightful and experiential thoughts, which enable growth, change and limit the airspace of the incessant saboteur chatter!


To have and to hold…..

Often we chase things we want. “I want more money” “I want more clients”

I was recently challenged to consider where my “want” was coming from. Apparently there are 3 places where “want” show’s up:

A want for:

1. Security

2. Approval

3. Control

I was also challenged to consider “will you allow yourself to have it?”

In this I realised I do already have the things my ego has been chasing. The real block was accepting them.

What was getting in the way? Human “Doing” busy chasing, busy doing.

What I really needed was to just “be”, to be certain of accepting that I can allow myself to have the abundance of things that are already here!


Are you a Human Doing or a Human Being?


How much space do you give to Doing v’s Being?

Some Questions for you to explore:

If you were to draw it or imagine it in the room you’re in now, how much space would “doing” take up?

And how little space would “being” get?!

What’s life like as a Human Doing?

What would a conversation with your Human Being be like?

How will living like a Human Being bring more balance and fulfilment into your life?

© 2020 by I AM