As humans, we are drawn to understanding why we are the way we are. On the one hand, it helps to be clear on what makes us effective in certain areas so we can optimise our strengths. On the other hand, we want to have the means to articulate why things don’t work out for us and transform the areas we identify as deficiencies. Some questions we might ask ourselves include:
Why can’t I manage to keep my team happy and performing well?
Why do my relationships keep falling apart?
Why do I doubt myself?
How can I know the ‘answer’ and still keep making the same mistakes?
Of all the theories and approaches available, I have discovered one that breaks down how we are being in readily digestible chunks and, more importantly, enables us to transform, one Aspect of Being at a time, for better results and greater fulfilment in life. This article explains how.
Exploring the theories and approaches available
As a psychologist who has worked in management consulting in the space of culture and leadership for the past 12 years, I have been deeply interested in supporting others to better understand themselves so they can be more effective and fulfilled in life. In this quest, there were many theories and approaches I have explored and seen others apply. Some were more effective than others. I found that each had certain limitations.
Behavioural approaches create conversations around competencies, goal-setting, action-taking and habit changes. These approaches allow for short-term action plans that can prove very effective. However, behavioural approaches do not cater for contextual changes. The learning is designed to meet a specific situation only. Furthermore, the prescribed solution may not last long term.
Personality theories are also common approaches. They bring together certain fixed traits and group them into a type of person, suggesting that is what you are. While it might be a relief to finally feel like you can understand why you are a certain way, the question is, could you change your way of Being if you wanted to? In reality, you can change. However, approaches based on personality theories do not provide much support when it comes to changing or transforming what doesn’t work.
It is a misconception to believe we are fixed a certain way or that those ‘categories’ we now fit into are grounded in reality and not constructs created by someone. It may lead us to simply accept the ‘shadow’ or unhealthy side of our Being and not take responsibility for the power we have to transform these areas. For example, the shadow side of being a ‘Type A’ personality might be speaking over or dominating others and striving for one’s desired results without respecting or listening to the ideas of others. So if you are just the way you are, others would either need to accept and put up with you or walk away and have nothing to do with you.
An approach that facilitates our ability to transform
In my experience and observations over the years, focusing on our Being makes a big difference. This approach starts from the premise that human beings are not fixed a certain way and that we can transform by going beyond the surface layers of our behaviours and into the depths of our Being.
The Being FrameworkTM is a rigorous, structured and comprehensive approach to working on our Being. With its practical assessment tool, the Being Profile®, it takes an ontological approach, which means it looks at mapping the Aspects of Being that, as human beings, we all have a relationship with. Examples include love, compassion, responsibility, freedom, courage and 26 other Aspects of Being or qualities we all share but relate to differently.
More specifically, the Being Profile measures our relationship with the Aspects of Being that contribute to effectiveness in the scope of leadership and performance, looking at human beings as whole, complete and unbroken. Rather than measuring qualities in isolation, it considers how they come together to contribute to our integrity as human beings. Furthermore, it brings them together in a way that we get to understand the relationship between them.
Access to a new level of consciousness
When you take the Being Profile and have a debrief with an accredited practitioner, you gain access to a different level of consciousness. It enables you to bring your attention to the areas requiring your care and focus. The key difference from other approaches is that each and every area identified by the Being Profile has the opportunity to be transformed.
When we stop focusing on what feels broken and turn our attention to the parts of us that are not supporting us to be effective, we can choose to respond. It's an exciting experience; however, it can also be confronting to uncover our relationship with some of these Aspects of Being and how they drive our behaviours. It’s not easy to look and be with the areas that are not serving us.
People’s experience of the Being Profile
Leaders who have experienced the Being Profile and debrief session have expressed that it was the first time a coach had supported them to look at and address the ‘shadow’ or troubled parts of themselves in a positive way. They said this was in contrast to personality tests that indicated those aspects were just part of who they were and had to be managed. For example, being the person that always needs to win an argument might be seen as a fundamental strength of a debater. But when someone identifies as an argumentative personality type, they will likely:
stop considering the impact it has on others that might not feel heard, or
fear losing face in front of them because they never win an argument, or
fail to consider opportunities in business and life because they don’t fit in with their main argument, and so on.
We are longing for answers and certainty. But to be told you are a certain personality type with all the glorious characteristics that a profiling tool focused on this would have you believe will only leave you missing opportunities for growth.
In contrast, completing the Being Profile gives you access to 31 Aspects of Being and enables you to discover your unique relationship with each one. While it won’t give you a clear description of who you are (in any fixed way), it will give you access to those areas of your Being that are fundamental for you to address in your quest to gain fulfilment. It will start a process of discovery that, with care and responsibility, can support you to live a more effective and fulfilled life.
During a recent Being Profile debrief session, a client became aware of how her relationship with care (one of the 31 Aspects of Being measured) was healthy when caring for others but unhealthy when it came to caring for herself. This discovery led to unravelling all the areas of her life impacted by her neglect of herself. It led to unhealthy habits, negative self-talk and broken relationships. This shadow side of her didn’t show up in isolation. We were able to connect it to an unhealthy relationship with courage and assertiveness (two more Aspects of Being). Specifically, she lacked the courage to stand up for herself and the assertiveness to voice her needs. The latter meant she typically went with what others wanted to avoid conflict, leaving her needs unattended. This realisation led her to embark on a journey of transformation. As a result, she has been able to start showing up in life with all she has to offer, finding fulfilment while taking care of herself and those around her.
Your Being impacts your results in various ways and contexts
Because multiple relationships exist between our Aspects of Being, they can impact our results in various ways and contexts. I have included a few examples with links to further reading below if you wish to learn more.
How coaching helped this seasoned professional transform to become a better manager, mentor and leader The emerging leader’s guide to overcoming procrastination and leading with purpose How to close the gap in your confidence Is your unwillingness to forgive causing you to harbour resentment? Building your confidence after a setback Partnership: when one plus one equals more than two
Can you transform every aspect of your Being in one session? No, you can't. As human beings, we are constantly dealing with breakdowns. That is reality. The key is to address each breakdown with responsibility by choosing to respond rather than react. When we have a healthier relationship with our Aspects of Being, we will be more inclined to respond in a way that is effective and serves us.
In learning to understand yourself better, don’t fall into the trap of believing you are fixed a certain way. Trust in your ability to transform by nurturing and polishing those qualities that make you human. The Being Profile assessment and debrief is a powerful way to start to see how your Being is impacting your patterns of thought, behaviour, decisions and, ultimately, your results. I feel privileged every day as the work I do, and that of many other coaches, leaders and other practitioners globally in our community, supports others to not only learn more about themselves but also transform the parts of themselves that aren’t serving them. To embark on the journey of discovering the health of your relationship with your Aspects of Being, you will need to be connected to a Being Profile Accredited Practitioner who is best suited to you and your situation. You can start the process here.