A great mentor of mine once said to me, “It is always a mistake to decide what you want to do before you have determined who you want to be.” Eventually, who you are will impact what you do. Similarly, you may have desire and talent that will lead you to success; however, great success demands great character. Who you are, not what you do impacts relational and personal satisfaction when looking back at a life well-lived.
When I went through Radical Mentoring
in 2010, we developed a list of “Be Words.” This exercise was based on Andy Stanley’s message, “A New You Resolution.” At the beginning of each year, most of us wrote down a list of goals and things that we want to do. “Be Words” focuses on creating a list of words highlighting the person we want to be, helping create a perimeter around behavior and a model for making decisions. For this exercise, we went very deep and wrote down the ramifications, the results that will play out in our life if we truly became these words, and the consequences that might occur if we don’t. All that being said, here is my list of “Be Words.”
In a different message, Andy Stanley incorporated the “Be Words” into an exercise in ghost writing your own obituary. He describes a process where he wrote an obituary for himself, including quotes from his wife, kids, associates, and friends. He asked himself, “What would I like people to say about me at my funeral?” Working from those quotes, he figured out what kind of person he’d have to be in order to have people say those great things. What “Be Words” would you want your family and friends to say about you at your funeral?
I whole-heartedly agree with my mentor’s advice to focus one’s energy on becoming who you want to be, rather than focusing on what you want to accomplish. I challenge you to focus your time and energy on this, as well. Developing your character and “Be Words” will only help you become the best version of yourself and serve as a catalyst to get you to where you want to go. When you set your monthly, quarterly, or yearly goals, consider who you want to become. What “Be Words” do you want your colleagues, family and friends to remember you for?