Ready to make change? All generous action starts here: Be. Give. Do.
Be: where action begins
All change starts by “being.” It may seem funny to think of “being” as an action. In elementary school, I learned that there are “being” verbs and “action” verbs, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that just “being” something and recognizing and acknowledging what’s going on inside you can be an action in and of itself. The realization of “being” serves as the catalyst for all positive forward action.
When you feel something and it wells up inside you, that “being” emotion is generally the catalyst for something else much more active. You have to “be” something good before you “do” something good. What you “be” matters and affects your next steps. Your actual outward actions are fully dependent on what you “be” first before you act. Any positive forward action you take in your life and in the lives of others starts with “be” as the catalyst for the action.
Simple examples of this starting place can be as follows:
Be a friend.
Be the one who stands up for what you believe in.
Be the one who makes a difference.
All of these “be” examples are internal ideas that can drive you to positive forward action. When you feel those thoughts and ideas and emotions welling up inside you, you first realize that you’re feeling them, but you must then make a choice to let your external actions match your internal drive to “be” something. A year or so ago, I read a challenging book about how to take that spark of “be” and move things forward titled Spark: Transform Your World, One Small Risk At A Time by Jason Jaggard.
You feel the “be” inside you and you think through it, sometimes in a split second. Then at some point, you either do something about it, or you shove it down inside and try to act like it is not real and should not matter. If you choose against shoving it down and instead choose to take that risk and take action, you’re moving forward.
Give: the active response to a “be”
The easiest next step once you acknowledge a “be” is to “give” something. Don’t overcomplicate giving. Giving is easy. It’s actually one of the smallest, simplest, most elemental steps to take when you feel a “be” pop into your mind and thought process. To “give” is simply to release your own selfish, internalized energy and let it turn outward into a release of external, action-based energy.
A few general categories of giving could be:
Giving your time.
Giving your energy.
Giving your expertise.
Giving your advice.
Giving your reputation by serving as a reference for someone else.
Giving your money, whether just spare change or something significant.
Giving your skills and abilities.
Giving encouragement when you know it’s needed.
Giving positive words when you know that negative words are easier.
Giving up your spouse for the weekend so they can help someone with a problem.
Giving your stuff, whether it’s stuff you care about or stuff you never use.
Giving your mental power to a problem.
So many people try to mentally skip over the idea of “giving” because they think it requires an outlay of cash. But to “give” is just the idea of expending any manner of resource — even the smallest amount of thought and care — on something or someone else. Move past the idea that to “give” requires money (or whatever other resource you are convinced you don’t have). Giving just involves you.
Your brain will try to trick you when you hear the word “give” and will throw up a roadblock that tells you that you’re not available because you don’t have time or energy or money or whatever that resource is. In that moment, acknowledge your selfish, internalized energy trying to hold on to whatever it can grasp.
Once you’ve gathered your forces against your selfish, internalized self, unleash a “be” into the mental mix and see what happens. Let a “be” act as the catalyst to help initiate a “give” of any kind. Don’t forget that a “give” is the simplest, lowest-energy building block and next step toward creating positive forward action, and all you really need is a good “be” to discover a functional, actionable “give”.
Do: the culmination of giving
The last piece of this generosity trifecta is to “do”. You might think that “giving” and “doing” are really the same thing, but they’re just cousins and have similarities but are wildly different. A “do” is bigger and better and more organized than “give”. To ‘give” is to implement the basic building block of action. To “do” is to gather your “gives” into a big pile and to start building something with them like my kids do with LEGOs.
To “give” is to move to action out of the motivation and inspiration of a “be”. But to “do” is to move things in the real world in a way that actually makes a real difference. To “do” something is to take your “be”, allow it to start consistently churning out some “gives” and then organizing those “gives” into something collective and useful. To “do” is to make a change in the world through a collective of organized “gives”, whether it’s all given just by you or is multiplied through the “give” efforts of other people as well.
You can think of this in a molecular fashion. “Be” is the electron sparking action. “Give” is the atom, serving as the building block of identifiable action. “Do” is those atoms coming together to form actual substance that produces movement.
Simplify the concepts as follows:
Be is the spark, the catalyst of action.
Give is the incremental action building block.
Do is the momentum caused of incremental actions.
I lay out this framework to help you understand where I am going as I talk about what you can do in the world through what you’ve been given. I’ll be offering up ideas of what you could “be”, and I’ll be suggesting ways you might “give”, and I’ll be encouraging you to figure out what you want to “do” to make a difference and leave the world better than you found it. Let me work through these ideas over time and challenge you in them and make them real enough for you to apply them in your own life.