Who do you need to be?

  • need-to-be

Who do you need to be

Strange as it may seem I recently decided to spend a few days thinking about how the question, “who do you need to be?” showed up in my life. I want to share this with you because it’s been an expansive journey that has led to some profound learning that I have found truly inspiring.

Nelson Mandela has been in the news as his health condition deteriorates and as I read the news reports I ask, “who did Nelson Mandela need to be to become someone of such influence and insight?” His story is a profound journey and words that come to mind are: visionary, tenacious, loving, passionate, resourceful, intelligent, thought leader, brave, invincible.  Then I find some of his famous quotes:

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

“Lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front.”

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

“Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished”

With these quotes in mind, asking the question who did Nelson Mandela need to be opens to a mindful of possibility.

Bringing this back to the context of our own lives and those of the people in our sphere of influence I would like to ask, who do you need to be to live the life of your dreams?  And if you know who you need to be, are you willing to do what needs to be done to be the best version of you?

In my work I meet many people who say to be, “I’ll start my own business when I have achieved…” and they move forward to list the conditions that they attach to being ready. We sit and discuss the conditions and soon learn that the circumstances thwarting advancement to business ownership are far deeper than a list of “have” items. What I learn is that many people’s list of “have” cannot be achieved until they switch two fundamental aspects of how they are living their life day to day. In my experience people who lead the life of their dreams first decide to “be” who they need to be. When this path is clear and they appreciate that they need to “be” someone, the next step taken is to “do” what the person they want to “be” would do. With ease they next find they can “have” whatever they want and live the life of their dreams. There are a number of models in coaching that show this process really well, and I suggest looking these up.  Taking it to the next level Simon Sinek articulates starting with why, and for me this is also closely linked to the coaching model that makes goal achievement seem counter-intuitive. Sinek presents his “why” principle incredibly well and I recommend referring to his leadership in this model.

If you are willing to try an easy experiment, this week give some thought as you see stories in the media or reflect on people who inspire you or sadden you by asking: Who does this person need to be? To do the things they do or have done? To achieve the outcome they have achieved? In stories and people that inspire and stories and people that sadden you, asking these questions will give you a profound opening to deeper insights. My experience with this exercise created a deep sense of compassion for others. The beauty in this is the compassion for self that is available when you apply the same questions to yourself.


Madelaine Cohen Author

Lipstick Learning is an initiative of Sydney based business leader, Certified NLP Trainer (ABNLP), entrepreneur and Master NLP Practitioner Madelaine Cohen. Sharing information and joining forces with people who choose to lead. Madelaine has more than two decades of inspiration from her businesses in consumer products, sports marketing, executive coaching and healthcare. She takes a leading role in mentoring executives and training business leadership in large and small enterprises. Why? Inspire people to lead and together we can create lifetimes of health and happiness. To find out how you can lead with even more authenticity and ease, contact Madelaine through Lipstick Learning.