Are you projecting the real, authentic you to others and to yourself? Do you say your real yeses and noes, or do you generally respond to people the way you think you should? Do you sometimes feel trapped by your 'identity or 'personality type'? Are you constantly making excuses for what you consider to be flaws in your character, telling yourself, 'That's just who I am? I was born that way, so there's no point fighting it'? Are you forever setting personal, professional, business or organisational goals for the company you lead but never seem to hit them, no matter how hard you try? Or perhaps you are seen as a real go-getter who is proactive and knows what they want in life. You're effective, disciplined and hit most of your targets. But despite your best efforts or how many self-help books you read, videos you watch, courses you attend, 'gurus' you follow, podcasts you listen to, opinion-makers you subscribe to and psychological tests you complete, you just can't seem to break through beyond a certain level. What’s more, your accomplishments have come at the expense of fulfilment and joy in your life. Your lack of fulfilment starts to keep you awake at night because you know you've got what it takes, but there's always something blocking your way, and you just can't put your finger on what that is. So, you do what you've always done and remain focused on the areas of your life that are working for you, the things you know you can control. But deep down, you wonder why you can't move forward in the areas you genuinely care about. Do you relate to any of these questions and scenarios?
Suppose you could revisit your lost goals and rekindle them by uncovering and addressing the hidden roadblocks that were always in the way, but you either failed to see them, or you felt powerless in the face of them. Imagine if you could break through the barriers you've always believed to be unbreakable because they are your 'set identity' or 'personality type'. Perhaps you have always labelled yourself, calling yourself an introvert or extravert, for example, and have allowed this label to set the trajectory of your life. What if you could dive deeply into your core essence, to see with great clarity how you are being, why you interpret the world the way you do and behave and act a certain way in various situations. Imagine if there was a way to understand and polish your Being in a way that would then empower you to tap into and express your true passion and talents. This would enable you to make your unique contribution to the world, whether it’s through your career, business, raising kids, producing art or music, science, academia, the list goes on. Those insights into your uniqueness change everything. They lead you to become a better, more authentic version of yourself, which in turn leads to better performance, more powerful ways to interact with and contribute to others and greater fulfilment in life.
Changing the behaviour is only part of the solution
'Change the behaviour, change the outcome' seems to be the dominant way of thinking these days. But while changing the behaviour is necessary if you want a different outcome, it is only part of the solution. Changing the behaviour alone is like watering the individual leaves of a tree without paying attention to the whole tree from the roots up. Imagine you have an employee who is constantly arriving late to work. You may tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable. You may even put them on a performance review and force a change in the behaviour. But that is not going to change the real reason for repeatedly arriving late to work. Maybe they don't care about the job, or they lack commitment and responsibility. Perhaps there is another underlying cause that they are not open and vulnerable enough to share with you. Or perhaps you are the employee who continues to arrive late to work. The point is, there are always deeper qualities driving our behaviours. Unless you become aware of these underlying qualities within yourself and others, you will forever be reacting to situations as they arise and applying Band-Aids rather than being proactive and nipping them in the bud. That would be like only seeing a doctor for a pill rather than a series of tests to reveal the cause of your pain, or only going to the mechanic when your car breaks down rather than having it regularly serviced to prevent the breakdowns.
To change the behaviour and outcome sustainably, we need to become aware of and address the deeper qualities that make us who we are and cause how we show up in the world. Our Aspects of Being – the qualities common to all human beings but show up differently in each of us – directly contribute to how we participate in life and how others see us. They either lead us to live a life of accomplishment and fulfilment by tapping into and expressing our Unique Being – who we were born to be – or to a lifetime of disappointment and regret.
Let's get real
The Being Framework and its associated measurement tool, the Being Profile, adopt an ontological ('let's get real') approach to understanding human beings. They were designed and developed by Ashkan Tashvir, a philosopher, technologist and venture builder who spent more than a decade working with and studying entrepreneurs, startups, leaders and investors, including many of the world's top achievers, to discover the behavioural patterns and qualities that determine success or failure. He found that success or failure is not determined by capital, technology, strategies and techniques; it's because of who and how they are being, the underlying qualities that influence their decisions and drive their behaviours and actions. Tashvir says, 'Those deeper qualities ultimately determine how fulfilled and accomplished you will be as an individual, family or an organisation.'
Dr Ehssan Sakhaee is a leadership educator and trainer who is a vocal advocate for the power of Being. Before he came across the unique paradigm, his passion for empowering the next generation of leaders led him to search for ways to support leadership and transformation for students and professionals. He says, 'What's missing today is authentic, vulnerable and true leadership that empowers not just individuals, but also communities, nations and the world.' In his quest for answers, Dr Sakhaee found most approaches only get to the behavioural and psychological levels, not the root causes. For this reason, he maintains that the Being conversation is critical. He says, 'The challenge of only staying at the behavioural and psychological level is that we don't really get down to the root causes of why certain behaviours are manifested. The Being Profile accurately measures Aspects of Being and considers the relationships between them. In this way, it allows us to discover the root cause of why people behave the way they do and why they get certain results. Let's take vulnerability, for example. It is an Aspect of Being that affects so many other factors in our lives, not just our performance, but our wellbeing, how we interact and operate. By understanding vulnerability, you can be more self-expressed and make a difference to yourself and others.'
Vulnerability is one of 31 Aspects of Being identified as being intrinsically linked to the performance, effectiveness and wellbeing of human beings. Others include responsibility, awareness, authenticity, fear, anxiety, care, courage, love, compassion, freedom, presence, confidence, assertiveness, self-expression and peace of mind, to name just a few. Psychologist, leadership coach and management consultant Lucy Faulconer is no stranger to working with people dealing with high-demand situations where their leadership matters. Through this experience, she chose to become an ontological coach that triggers the change needed within the individual – including who and how they are being – in a way that has a significant impact on the organisation they lead. She says, 'As a psychologist, I know there are masses of models out there and frameworks around personality types. I've always found that they take you to the behaviour and say if you change this behaviour, you're going to get the results. I've never bought into that because transformation needs to go deeper. The Being Profile allows you to have a conversation around who you need to be and doesn't put you in a box. There are no good or bad behaviours, no right or wrong. It's just a snapshot of who you are being today. That information gives you the awareness to know what is working for you and what isn't, specifically what you need to work on to achieve different outcomes.'
Greg Aldridge is the CEO of EveryMan Australia, a community service organisation that works with men with high and complex needs. This includes men exiting the prison system and those with a history of drug and alcohol abuse or mental health issues. As a CEO, Greg wanted his management team to be more responsible and have a greater sense of ownership. He felt that many meetings would go by where people would speak to him after the meeting, rather than speak up during the meeting. Greg said that introducing the conversation around Ways of Being into his team, from the board level through to an operational level, made a profound and lasting difference to the quality of communication and trust and the level of responsibility throughout his organisation. He says, ‘The Being Profile gives our organisation access to better relationships between supervisors and their team and the understanding that people can change very easily. We don’t see people as being stuck anymore and I’ve seen relationships with staff members that had occurred to me as difficult and hard to move really opening up. Productivity is much higher, work satisfaction is higher and people look forward to coming to work.’
The Being Framework and Being Profile give you access to the lens and language to know, see, assess (without judgement) and articulate the drivers of your behaviours and actions and those of the people around you. It is not about positive thinking or affirmation, and it's not a quick-fix recipe for success. It doesn't suggest that opportunities will miraculously fall in your lap if you follow the guidelines. Instead, it draws your attention to the extraordinary power of discovering and leveraging the qualities (Aspects of Being) you have a healthy relationship with and casting light on and transforming the qualities you have an unhealthy relationship with. This will allow you to make more effective decisions, know when to say your real yeses and noes, achieve your objectives, and be true to your authentic self for a life of influence, meaning, fulfilment and wellbeing. In short, instead of focusing on what you must have and do to be who you want to be, it's about how to BE so you can DO what it takes to HAVE whatever you care most about in life.