Ep 147: Right Action And Right Being
Doing the right action is all for nought if you don’t pair it with the right state of being. This is especially important to leaders out there. What is the point of getting your results if you’re not embodying your goals and feel happy in the journey towards them? In today’s show, Adam Quiney focuses on the topic at hand – the Right Action and Right Being. He talks about these two separate yet interwoven components to effective leadership. What is action and being of leadership? Why is knowing it necessary for leaders? What do right action and right being mean? Adam answers these questions and more. If you are a leader who is seeking answers on how to do more of the things you love and doing less of the things you like the least, then this episode might give you an idea of what to do!
Listen to the Episode Here:
Right Action And Right Being
Today’s show focuses on the topic at hand—the Right Action and Right Being. Two separate and interwoven components to effective leadership. What is action and being of leadership? Why is knowing it necessary for leaders? What do right action and right being mean?
We’re going to be talking about right action and right being. These are two separate and interwoven components to effective leadership. When I talk about effective leadership, what I mean is the capacity for you to generate the results you say you’re committed to, support others step into their leadership and generate the results they say they’re committed to. We’re going to talk about the Right Action and Right Being. We’re going to talk about each of these, how they interact and how leaders get tripped up over them. Before we get into that, I’m going to plug the Creating Clients Course. If you’re not sick of hearing about this, it’s because you haven’t taken it or haven’t taken it enough times. The Creating Clients Course was something I have created because I noticed there was a distinction that was created everywhere around sales, most impactfully in the coaching profession but everywhere. That distinction is that there’s a thing over here you have to do called sales. On the other side, you love doing called whatever you love doing, coaching, leading, whatever.
From that original break, you’ve got these two divisions. People figure out, ”How do I minimize my time doing that thing I don’t like? How do I spend as much time as possible doing the thing I love?” They have them as distinct and separate from one another. They approach sales like, “It can’t be the same stuff I’m already doing. There must be something different.” For example, part of what you need to do is go connect with people rather than look at how they love connecting with people, where they do that and how to create results in that place. Instead, think, “I got to connect with people. I got to start cold calling people on LinkedIn.” They come up with these awful strategies that you’ve probably received in your LinkedIn inbox, if not everywhere else. That does not work. The reason they don’t work is that they’re ostensibly connecting. We can tell they’re sniffing in our pants trying to get some of our money.
The Creating Clients Course tears all that apart. We blow away or break apart that false dichotomy and begin building the foundation so you can learn how to create sales, prosperity, clients and all of that stuff from simply expressing yourself as who you are in the world, deepening and creating a relationship with people and being of service. That’s simple. Where that leaves people is experiencing a great deal of joy. What are they up to in their life? Experiencing joy and how they serve and connect with people. A lot of the anxiety exists because we’re trying to get people somewhere. All of that dissolves and falls away. The next round of that course starts in May 2021. It’s a $1,000 commitment. It’s quite low. If you’d like to learn more about that, you can go to AdamQuiney.com/clientcreation.
Taking The Right Action
Most of the people are operating in positions of leadership. It’s important right here that I distinguish this from people embodying the quality of being of leadership, which is our aim on this show. We’re talking about someone that’s attained a position in a hierarchy. They are in what we relate to as a position of leadership. Maybe they’re CEO, an executive, a manager or whatever. They have some degree of responsibility and they manage other people. Hopefully, if they’re good, they lead them but if not, they primarily manage them.
Most people have arrived at these positions because they tend to have a bias towards action. The reason for that is that action is what moves the world forward and it’s what’s immediately present that we can see. “What did this person do?” “They did this and this.” Our attention goes to their action. We rarely ever say, “Who was so and so being yesterday?” “They were being snarky and touchy. They weren’t present to it.” We almost never look at that. The reason we don’t look at is that we don’t have a well-developed language to distinguish it. We don’t have much capacity to see below the surface. Instead, we hang out at the surface because that’s where we can see.
Further, conversation about who you’re being tends to feel quite elusive and ephemeral. Over time, it devolves into a conversation about people’s feelings, whereas action is a little bit like calories when it comes to weight loss. We know that if you reduce the number of calories you’re consuming below the amount you’re burning on a daily basis, you’re going to lose weight. It doesn’t require you to change how you feel about what you eat, think nice thoughts or positive affirmations. None of those matters at least in theory. All that’s required is that you lower the number of calories that are coming in. Reduce your input and burn higher, you will scientifically lose weight. That’s not magical thinking. It doesn’t matter glandularly or whatever. That’s the Law of the Universe.
A system that has less fuel coming in than its burning will eventually reduce. That’s the way we relate with our actions. If we’re talking about sales, making sales isn’t about feeling a certain way. It’s about playing a numbers game. You need to make X number of calls. If you do that consistently, you’ll be practicing. Eventually, you’ll become more comfortable and then masterful in theory at selling. Consequently, like where we look when we’re talking about losing weight, we put almost all of our attention on the action. Lastly, most people in positions of authority or leadership have arrived there because they’ve encouraged action that leads to particular results. It’s the people that have risen up the ranks. People that were willing and able to take the action required to generate a particular result. That’s got them there.
This is also why a lot of people run into trouble. They were reliable to do it themselves but they don’t have any skills or capacity to develop the leadership and other people that would support those people on being reliable. They get promoted up to management and then they’re stuck. This is disparagingly referred to as the Peter Principle. The way that principle is worded is that people are promoted up to the level of their own incompetence, which sucks because it suggests you move up the ranks until you get to a position that you can’t naturally do well and then you get stuck there. You’re not going to get promoted further.
The trouble with that principle, as it stated, is that it suggests like, “This is an inherent problem in you. You’re competent enough to levels 1, 2 and 3. Once you’re at four, you’re not going to go any further. There’s no possibility. There’s no me investing in your own development. To create something beyond this is you’re a fixed object. Unfortunately, you happen to be a level four person.” It’s like in Brave New World where you get to be an Alpha, you’re capable of leading but if you’re an Epsilon, you’re capable of managing the dead and cleaning. Yours is to be happy with your lot in life. It’s limited in terms of a way to relate to people, this Peter Principle.
This action like burning calories or making the sales calls is what we call the right action. It’s the action that is required to generate the result we’re committed to. Right action for someone that wants to lose weight involves exercise, burning more calories or reduced caloric intake, eating fewer calories. You either reduce the input where you increase the consumption, the burning or the output. If you do either or some combination of those, work those numbers out, you are going to lose weight, full stop. It’s simple. We need the right action. Absent any action, nothing is going to happen. We’ll come more to this, like the problem where there’s a lack of action and all the conversation about being because that exists too. For now, it suffices to say you got to have the right action.
Short-Term Versus Long-Term Results Of Taking The Right Action
If you’re not in any kind of action, nothing’s going to happen. It’s like someone’s going and meditating for eight hours every day for the rest of their life hoping that that’s going to bring them sales. It won’t. Maybe it would, somehow. Someone happens upon your cave, asks you and wants to buy your meditation package. That’s a farfetched example that I’m coming up with. In terms of right action, let’s talk about short-term versus long-term results. We’ll tie it back to our weight loss example.
Right action on its own without looking at the right being will tend to be reliable to generate short-term results. You’ve known people that have dieted and lost weight. You’ve known people who’ve experienced ups and downs, bumps in their sales numbers the same way. They got into action. They took the right action. They created some results. The problem here is that when we only look at the right action, we get a little confounded when the long-term results don’t mimic the short-term results. This is where right action collides with right being. Someone’s being is determinative of the results they will create in the long run.
When I say your right being, it’s the right way to be to generate your results. Your being as a function of your underlying stories, beliefs, attitude and how you show up with regards to whatever it is you’re up to. Let’s imagine people in both of those examples. We’re going to work with one person losing weight. In another example, someone losing sales calls. Let’s talk about weight first. If you were to approach losing weight with the attitude, “I hate myself. I’m unhappy with how I look. I need to stop eating calories so I can look and feel good about myself,” you’re using pain and self-loathing in an attempt to create a particular result. This kind of approach is going to work long enough to overcome the pain of your self-loathing.
Once you’ve lost enough weight, your self-loathing is going to drop a bit, you have less incentive to continue with the new habit. In this example, you don’t do anything about your being. Who your being is still like, “I suck. I hate myself. I’m fat. I need to be less fat so that I can love myself.” All you’re putting your attention on is addressing your action. You take the right action but without any shift in your being. Consequently, what you’re doing is you’re acting consistently with, “I hate myself. I need to change who I am to stop hating myself.” Hoping that’s going to give you a result where you love yourself. It won’t. Hopefully, that’s apparent. The underlying way of being that you reach for and soothe yourself with food in the first place, which is, “I hate myself. I suck.” That has not been addressed at all. We’ve done nothing to address your being. All we’ve done is gotten you into action.
This is a lot like when someone quits drinking. Let’s take an alcoholic. They stopped drinking. They don’t go any further through their work. They haven’t addressed the underlying issue that had them reached for liquor and numb themselves to that extent in the first place. All they’ve done is changed something they were doing on the surface. To be clear, this is the crux of why people create change all the time but rarely transformation, why they create short-term results but rarely long-term shifts. It’s because we’ve put all our attention on being in the right action and very little on the right being because we can’t see it.
Let’s talk about sales. Imagine someone who’s been supported to get into the right action around sales. They’re making 100 sales calls every day. Who they are being about those sales calls as a function of their beliefs, they’re annoying. They’re a hassle to the people they’re calling. They need to get through this. Eventually, someone will say yes. Here, they’re in the right action but all of this is a recipe for loathing the work they’re doing. You can force yourself in this rock up the hill for some amount of time but there’s going to be a half-life to it. Even if you do generate sales this way, how sustainable is getting a bunch of money by doing something you hate, loathe and relate to as being a bother and a pest going to be? It’s important to see here that money is a great painkiller. Forcing yourself to do something you loathe in order to get a bunch of money will allow you to numb yourself from the pain of doing something you loath for quite some time but it’s not sustainable and it has a half-life. You see this as a great deal.
I remember when I was doing my undergrad degree, I did Computer Science. It was my first degree. It took me forever because I messed around and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Because of that, I failed. I flunked trying to do a business degree because I thought it was a good degree to have but it was boring. I found computers and was like, “I love this.” While I was doing this, it was right at the dot-com bubble. It was exploding. I’m doing well right before it burst. There was a ton of people in Computer Science. They’re doing it because they thought it was a great way to make money. That’s what they wanted. They hated what we were working on. They were miserable. They didn’t understand it. They didn’t like math. They didn’t enjoy calculus, which I didn’t love but I got my hands around it. I didn’t like learning about the inner workings of computers, the fundamentals or any of that stuff. None of it was exciting to them. They were just in it for money.
The lucky ones burnt out fast. The unlucky ones were able to numb that pain with the promise of money. Once they got their job, continue numbing it with the actual reception of money. Those people push harder and drive towards more money, which keeps the cycle going for longer. Eventually, they fall out of it. The reason that happens is that they’re in the right action but their being is out of whack. If we were looking at it, we would either be like, “One, do you want to do this? If so, you’re going to have to shift who you are being about it. If you don’t want to shift who your being about and want to be right that this sucks and hate it, you got to go find something you’re not going to show up that way with because you’re miserable in your life.”
Right Action With Right Being
Our being is a lot like the soil into which we sow seeds. We sow the seeds of action. Your right action is the seeds that you’re sowing in the soil of your being. Sowing seeds across a barren mountainscape, you can do that for the rest of your life. Some plants are going to sprout but very few will thrive. We have to address both our actions and our being. You can till your soil. You can make it beautiful, fill it with nitrates, potassium and whatever plants love. If you never sow seeds, if you never take action, you’re never going to grow anything. We require both of these.
The challenge in this is that right action is what has typically led leaders to the position they’re in. For some people, they already possess the necessary way of being for that action to take root. This is often an indication that someone is operating within their comfort zone. Leaders are often promoted up to the next stage of their own comfort zone with whatever particular right action there is to take. The rest of the people you run up against are people that have not yet created the breakthrough to create the kind of being that is required to have their action gain traction.
Leaders that are leaning on the action as the primary means by which they support people are going to be reliable to develop success within those people for which this particular way of acting is already available and predictable. They don’t need to shift their being. There’s no breakdown in terms of the alignment of their being in their action, which is great. Those people you love are the people you target for leadership. What’s important to get here is that if the effectiveness of you as a leader is to be able to develop the leadership and the maximum number of people, you’ve cut out a massive swath because all you’re going to aim towards are people that are reliable.
What that means is you’re used in your comfort zone as now. For everyone else, which a breakthrough would be required for them to create this, they’re on luck. A transformative leader is capable of raising everyone up to leaders rather than a select few. The other thing that’s challenging here is our being is transparent to us. I’m not aware of my own being, nor are you. Frankly, my being is the lens through which I experience the world. The world that I see is shaped according to my being. What that means is that if who I’m being about strangers is that they’re always out to get something from you, I’m not going to be aware that that’s like a story I created.
Instead, what I’m going to do is every time I notice a stranger come and talk to me, I’m going to be like, “What is this person out to get from me?” I’m going to see what I look for. I’m going to find evidence to support that. It doesn’t occur like, ”Who am I being in the world? Are those strangers are out to get something from me and take advantage?” It occurs like strangers are out to get something and take advantage. It occurs like something external rather than a projection of my own internal state, which makes it a lot harder for us to see our being.
This means that we don’t experience who we’re being as a function of ourselves, we experience it as the reality of the world we interact and live in. It’s tough for leaders to spot this on their own, almost impossible. This also means that leaders who’ve been reliable to create results up to a point will naturally hit a limit in terms of what they can create. First, their results preclude them up to a point from getting external support. It’s like, “I’m generating results. Why would I bother?” They keep doing what they’re doing because they’re already seeing success.
Second, their track record of results gives them a compelling set of points to argue against any reflection of their being. “I see you’re saying that. Look at all the results I’ve taken. I don’t think I’m going to follow along with you. I’m sure I know what I’m talking about.” Finally, until you can distinguish and see how you’re being, you can’t see how anyone else is being. Until you have the ability to see you’re being projected onto other people and start to take responsibility for that, all you’re going to see in the world is a reflection of your own being. Your stuff is enmeshed with their stuff. You can’t point to anything over there because you’re not yet able to separate it from you paste it on top of them.
At this point, it’s important to say that there are leaders, often those with some experience in coaching modalities, who want to work exclusively with being. They won’t require people to take action. Instead, the conversation hangs out forever in people’s attitude, how they feel, what they’re thinking and their relationship to something. There’s never any conversation about moving people forward and getting them into action. It’s never a conversation about right actions and doing the bold thing, moving forward, making something happen, like, “Enough. It’s time for us to get into action.” Never. Instead, it’s always about your being. This kind of leadership tends to end up in a lot of nice conversation on top of business as usual. There’s no shift in what we do that has stood for.
People have conversations. They make it sound and feel like things are different but because there’s no push, there’s no stand for us to take scary action that might generate a different result, we end up having these conversations over top of us, showing up as the way we’re reliable to show up. It’s not that much that happens. Let’s talk about why this matters as a leader and then what do you do with that. With your teams, when you don’t have the ability to work with both right action and right being, you end up creating business as usual. Those that are going to generate results and thrive inside the action that you’re going to force them to do, they will. Those that can’t, they won’t.
Consequently, leaders in this camp who are all action base are able to generate incremental results like incremental increases and the results are reliable for but nothing outside of it. No unpredictable results. It’s a little bit like if you imagine a curve, Y equals MX plus B, you can do it harder, faster and stronger. You can increase your input into X but you’ll forever be bound by the limits of that particular graph. The possibility of leadership is that we can move from one graph to a new one and create results that were previously impossible. That’s what happening when we go from Y equals MX plus B to Y equals X squared. We have an entirely new graph to hang out on.
On the personal level, unable to distinguish your own being, your only recourse will be to surround yourself with people that fit inside your already present ways of being and can generate results inside of that bubble. You’ll rely on the actions you’re already present to will make a difference. You’ll find yourself frustrated that those are lacking the ability to make that particular set of actions work. On the other side of the equation, if instead of being all action, you’re all being, you’ll end up as the kind of leader that has a great heartfelt conversation that leaves people feeling good but nothing shifts. These kinds of leaders admittedly have poor morale on the other side of the coin like, “These are generating results,” but they’re backbiting. They hate each other. Instead, they tend to defend how they’re leading by pointing to the happiness on their team. It’s great that you’ve got high morale but you’re not generating results. It sucks over there that they’re generating results but they don’t have the high morale. What we need are leaders that can create it all both results and morale. Both action and results from that action and the being underneath. That’s what we’re seeking, not one or the other.
As soon as you start to point over there, you’ve lost the game. Remember, leadership is always about looking on this side. What do you do about this? The most obvious one is to work with a coach. Get clear always on a lens that is your own being and the way you perceive the world. Hopefully, it’s clear that you can’t do this by yourself. We see the world through the lens of our own being. What I see out there and want to point in other people is a reflection of me and my lens that allows me to see. You got to get clear on your own bias. Would you rather get into action, finding yourself impatient when talking slowing down? Do you prefer to address how people are feeling and go towards something deeper? You can find out the case. “My bias is more towards right action and right being.”
It’s important to note. There’s no right bias. All there is, is a bias. Everyone has a bias. The gift in that recognizes that anytime you have an automatic bias, that’s going to trip you up. If your bias is towards action then you’re going to need to slow down and be able to develop being in yourself and others. If your bias is towards being, there’s going to be times when you’re going to have to be with the discomfort of poking people with the pointy end of the stick saying, “We’ve had enough conversations. I know that it’s scary for you. I know you’re emotional but it’s been six weeks. It’s time to take some action. You got to shit or get off the pot.” If you’re unsure which way your bias is, check in with people that you’re willing to trust and get their feedback. “Which direction would you say I’m biased towards?”
That’s everything that we’ve got for you. Next time, I’m going to bring some conversational points about leadership. It’s been a while since I’ve distinguished leadership on this blog. It’s a good time to review that and create a few new distinctions. I’ve got about six talking points on the topic of leadership. Some of them are some distinctions. I haven’t written any notes. It’s going to be a free ball conversation. I hope you enjoyed this. If you have any feedback for us, I would love to hear it, Feedback@AdamQuiney.com. I’m always grateful to receive that. If you enjoyed this, it’d be so cool if you gave it a five-star review. Hit those five stars or less. If it’s honest for you to give me a three-star review and you’re still reading, do that. That’s okay, too. My absolute favorite is when people take a few minutes to write a quick review. It’s cool to read those. It’s generous. Thanks for everything you’re doing to develop leadership and be a leader in the world. Thanks for reading.
About Adam Quiney
I’m an obsessive perfectionist, high-performer, former lawyer, and now an Executive Mentor. I know what it’s like to succeed easily and quickly. To blindly put my happiness in the hands of achievement.
All the success, money and possessions in the world couldn’t cure my boredom. Couldn’t produce a loving, intimate relationship with my wife…and definitely couldn’t fulfill me.