Key Concepts: Be Do Have

One of my favorite phrases is, “You’ve got to be before you can do and do before you can have.” In short, you have to be a person of character and do the right things, and then you can have the things you really want. To make the “be, do have” theory valid, look at some examples in your own life.

1. Draw two vertical lines to make three columns on a sheet of paper.

2. At the top of the left-hand column, write BE; in the middle column, write DO; and over in the last column, write HAVE.

3. In the right-hand column list all the things you really want in life, whether it’s an education, good family relationships, a beautiful new home, a luxury automobile, a trip around the world, to lose weight–you name it.

4. Work your way down the center column identifying the things that you have to do in order to have the things listed in the right-hand column. As an example, let’s say you want a successful marriage. To do so, you must be willing to share your innermost thoughts and concerns with your mate. You must carry more than your share of the workload, encourage your mate when he or she is down, and defend your mate against criticism. You need to remember special occasions. Be particularly helpful when your mate is having a bad day or is not feeling well, or has had a tough day at work. Apply the philosophy that “you can have everything you want out of this marriage if you just help your mate get what he or she wants.” Everybody’s list varies because each of us has unique needs, beliefs, and interests. However, the formula remains the same.

5. Go to the left-hand column and identify what you have to BE in order to DO so that you can HAVE. To have a successful marriage, some of the things that you must be are faithful, attentive, loving, caring, helpful, empathetic, encouraging, persistent, committed, kind, thoughtful, considerate, and responsible. Not having all these qualities at this moment is okay, because they’re all skills, and skills can be developed.

You can use this basic formula for whatever it is you want to have. Look at what you have to do in order to accomplish your objectives, and then examine yourself and determine what kind of person you have to BE in order to DO so that you can HAVE.

This article is adapted from Zig Ziglar’s best-selling book Success for Dummies.

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