Create Your To Be List
Image credit: LetterHappy on Etsy
A few months back, I was sitting at my desk, once again writing my good ol’ To Do List for the following day.
A thought popped up in my mind: “What if I kept a daily ‘To Be List’ too?”
Over the previous months, I had been trying to remember that how I am and who I am was at least as important as what I got done.
A To Be List seemed the perfect way to remind myself of that.
So I began. In the evening, I’d write a To Be List for the following day – a short and simple list of what qualities I wanted to embody the following day.
Here’s an example of one of my first To Be Lists:
- Kind to myself
- Kind to others
Here’s one from another day that week:
I found that different days called for different qualities, depending on the demands of my schedule and the condition of my spirit.
Here’s what my To Be List practice did for me:
First, simply writing the list forced me to slow down and consider the day ahead. That in itself was a huge change.
Before, I usually just rolled through the day’s demands without giving them much quiet consideration in advance.
The practice also forced me to ask myself: “how do I want to be tomorrow when I’m doing that – that meeting, that phone call, that chat with a friend?”
I was suddenly taking a more intentional approach to my life.
The list also brought me back on course when stress or old habits caused me to veer off.
I’d post my To Be List somewhere where I could see it during the day, often next to my computer.
In a hectic moment, when I was anything but calm, I’d glance over and see the list, reminding me that I had wanted to be calm through the day.
I’d take a minute to breathe and find the calm I imagined the night before when I was writing the list.
Or, I’d look over at the list and remember I had wanted to be kind. I’d ask myself, “how can I bring more kindness to this next task, to this next phone call?”
The list helped me grow into the woman I wanted to be.
Here’s How to Create Your To Be List:
- In the evening or the morning – whenever you write your companion To Do List -- take a few moments to write your To Be List.
- Look over your calendar for the following day. Then ask yourself: What qualities do I want to embody as I move through these activities? How do I want to be as I move through this day, given its unique demands and opportunities?
- Write down your answers, focusing on 3-5 qualities.
- Put your list somewhere where you’ll see it during the day.
One more thing, perfectionistas! Don’t get worried about not doing this every day.
- Sometimes you’ll forget.
- Sometimes you won’t find the time.
- Sometimes, you just won’t be in the mood.
- No big deal.
Do this practice when you feel called to do it and able to do it, so it remains a gift in your life, not another obligation. It’s here for you when you need it.
Join the conversation: What’s on your To Be List for the day ahead? Tell us in the comments section below.
Tara Sophia Mohr is an expert on women’s leadership and well-being. A coach, writer and teacher, she is the founder of the global Playing Big leadership program for women (starting in October; registration open now) and author of the free 10 Rules for Brilliant Women Workbook.