Scratch that trusty old to-do list. In fact, tear it up and try this instead.
Ever heard of a to-be list? Consider it an exercise in changing your mindset. I don’t know about you but tasking myself with limitless to-dos is so deeply engrained I rarely notice I do it all the time–even subconsciously.
Change the way you view yourself and what you’re truly capable of. Put your dreams down on paper, then visualize them coming true. Dreams are terrifying, especially when you have really big ones.
I took a stab at writing my first to-be list and here’s what I came up with:
- Help people always
- Create, lead and develop a business built upon providing service to those in need
- Make my family and friends proud
- Be honest
- Always tell the truth
- Feel like I am doing what I am meant to do
- Present a TED Talk
- Become an acclaimed artist/writer with respected opinions and insights
- Be a community leader
- Be the tour guide host for an epic family vacation somewhere magical
- Be an explorer of the world
- Become a fluent speaker of French and Arabic
- Become a scuba diver
- Be a surfer in Indonesia
- Become a familiar traveler through Latin America
- Become a practitioner of meditation in Tibet and India
- Be a marathon runner, at least in NYC and SF
I instinctively first wrote many of the above as to-dos, no matter how hard I tried to explain in “be” or “become” terms. Try it, you might surprise yourself!
I can’t help but admit that I often want it all. At least that’s how I seem to self-propel through the day. I’m applying to jobs that I think I’m qualified for and know I can do well at, but I wonder if the person on the receiving end is on the same page. I’ll never know how other people truly perceive me. And maybe that doesn’t matter so much as how I perceive myself. Perhaps the way I think about myself will emulate through my actions and interactions with others. Ghandi’s “be the change you wish to see in the world” comes to mind.
I want to make music, but I’ve never recorded anything or composed a song. I played piano for years but after not practicing for a decade I get down on myself every time I try to revisit the old repertoire and barely scratch the surface of a full song. I’ve always wanted to DJ but I don’t know where to start. Curating fabulous Spotify and Soundcloud (this song is amazing) playlists is as far as I’ve gotten. I want to take dance class every day and learn about dance traditions from across the world. I want to run a half marathon and spend almost everyday running a training program with my eyes on the prize. It feels so good to work towards something and to feel growth along the way, whether tangible, physical growth, emotional or spiritual. I want to grow my career as an amazingly talented consultant, strategist and maybe even event producer. I don’t want to just create the concert festival series no one has ever imagined before, I want to produce it and bring it all over the world and change the way people think about expression, art, dance and community.
I often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. But when I sit quietly with myself (sometimes I really need to when I feel the world spinning), I wonder if maybe I’ve already done everything I’ve wanted to do. There may be some destinations on my travel to-do list, but other than that, when I consider my accomplishments, none of them are truly material. My accomplishments are growth in fantastic relationships, an inner-peace I can sometimes really tap into and true passion for helping others and experiencing genuine connections. Then a revolutionary concept occurred to me: maybe, just maybe, I already have it all.