What is the Quality of Your BEING Side?

Ryan Gottfredson

by Ryan Gottfredson

I have been writing and talking a lot about the fact that we have two sides of ourselves:

  • Our DOING Side (which represents the level of our talent, knowledge, skills, and abilities)
  • Our BEING Side

new being side vs doing side

Here are some recent articles on this topic:

I believe that most of us are largely aware of the quality or level of our DOING Side. But, I don’t think many people know what our BEING Side is, nor the quality or altitude on our BEING Side.

What is Our BEING Side?

Our BEING Side is the degree to which our internal operating system is wired for value creation versus self-protection.

Being side vs Doing side and Value Creation vs Self-Protection Modes

This definition implies:

  1. That we have an internal operating system that automatically and nonconsciously dictates how we see and interpret our world
  2. Our internal programming can be more attuned to protecting us in the short term (more reactive, more narrow window of tolerance, more self-protective mindsets) or creating value for others in the long term (less reactive, wider window of tolerance, more value creating mindsets).

Video that Portrays this Conflict between Self-Protection and Value Creation Perfectly

I was recently introduced to a video clip from the show Black-ish that portrays the tension that often exists between self-protection and value creation and how some people are wired to move toward self-protection and how others might be more wired to move toward value creation.

Lessons From this Video

There are a number of great lessons from this video related to our BEING Side:

  1. Our internal operating system nonconsciously and automatically reads our situations as being either safe or dangerous, causing us to move toward value creation or self-protection. In this video, the main character nonconsciously and automatically read his situation as being dangerous, which caused his internal operating system to direct him to think and act in self-protective ways.
  2. Whether our body is wired for self-protection or value creation, it feels right to us. In fact, at the end of the clip, the main character’s father celebrates his self-protectiveness. But, just because self-protectionism feels right and good to us, doesn’t mean that it is what is best for us and those around us. This is one of the trickiest things about mindsets. We all have mindsets. Our mindsets feel right or good to us, regardless of whether they are wired more for self-protection or more for value creation.
  3. Our culture and past experiences shape the degree to which our internal operating system is wired for self-protection versus value creation.
  4. Despite what our culture and past experiences have taught us, we can be intentional about whether we operate in a self-protective or value creating way. We don’t have to be the passenger of our circumstances. We can be the driver of our lives.
  5. If we want to be great and do great things, we are going to have to upgrade our internal operating system so that we are more willing to step into tricky situations in more value creating ways.

In this video clip, the main character was much more concerned about his own well-being than the girl’s well-being. While this is justifiable, he ultimately is not the person he aspires to be, and his ability to be a positive influence on others (particularly the little girl) is limited.

Moral of the Story

If we want to be the people we aspire to be and have the positive influence that we desire to have on the world, we are going to have to upgrade our internal operating system such that we loosen our need on our self-protective tendencies and step more fully into value creation mode.

If you want to work on upgrading your internal operating system, or if you would like me to help leaders and employees in your organization to upgrade their internal operating system, let’s connect. I would love to help you.

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3 Responses

  1. Hello Ryan!
    To Be + To Do + You Rock!
    We love your continuing wonderful Leadership Service with Love and Humility!
    Thank you!
    : )))
    Alan + Sarah

  2. While I understand your surface interpretation of this video clip to explain your premise. You ignore the centuries of racial violence upon Black men and people, and the number of Black men who were lynched and tortured based upon the lying whispers of white women. So you make a blanket claim that we doesn’t have to be a “passenger of our circumstances” and the character in the clip is not the “person he aspires to be”, yet this Black male character aspires to be alive and not wrongfully incarcerated in the world’s largest prison industrial complex or killed. Thus your statement completely ignores the different lived experiences of every individual, and specifically what leaders of color have to face based on perception of those they lead, irregardless of their values and need for self preservation.

    1. I 100% understand what you are saying.

      One of the things that I love about vertical development (the process of elevating along our BEING Side and becoming more value creating) is that it ultimately is about healing our minds, bodies, and hearts from self-protective tendencies related to past trauma, and that also includes generational trauma.

      Whether it is generational trauma or our own experiences with trauma, if we want to become more value creating, we are going to have to push against our own self-protective tendencies that feel right and good to us because they keep us safe, comfortable, and protected.

      One of the reasons why we celebrate people like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela is because they were willing to put off their own self-protective interests and tendencies to create value for others.

      Each of us has our own “battles” that we are going to have to work through if we want to become the best version of ourselves. To your point, some people have bigger battles than others because of past circumstances.

      And, if we are in a position to help those who have been disadvantaged to feel more safe, we should use our position and abilities to do so, so that we help create a better environment for them to become less self-protective and more value creating.

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