As I have mentioned before, there are three levels to success, having, doing, and being. According to Power Vs. Force, these three levels look like this:
The ladder of success seems to have three main steps:
(1) Initially, it’s what one “has” that counts – that is, status depends upon visible signs of material wealth.
(2) As one progresses, status is afforded by what one “does,” rather than what one has – at this level on the ladder, one’s position and activities bring significant social status, but the attraction of social roles loses glamour as one achieves mastery and matures, for it’s what one has accomplished that is important.
(3) And finally, one is concerned only with what one has “become” as a result of life’s experiences – such people have a charismatic “presence” that is the outer manifestation of the grace of their inner power.
Lately, I have noticed a general shift from the Having to Doing level of success. People are willing to forego the trappings of cushy paychecks or stable careers in order to Do something that is meaningful that might involve risk or humble beginnings.
However, there is a negative ego trap within this Doing level that is tripping a lot of people up. Sure, Doing is more enlightened than the sole pursuit of fame, money, power that comes with the Having level. But the quicksand of the Doing level is the fact that we almost inevitably end up placing our worthiness as a person on the things we Do.
Nothing could demonstrate this fact more than that all-too-common introduction, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you. So, what do you do?”
For those who might not know what they want to Do yet, it creates a huge sense of unease, fear, and unworthiness.
“What if I never figure out what I’m supposed to Do?” is a paralyzing feeling that I sense from many graduating college students and uninspired corporate workers.
No longer are we just wanting to Have jobs that pay well and give us a nice lifestyle. Many people want to have a sense of fulfillment and purpose from their career, as well. They want to Do something meaningful. They want to Make a difference.
We cannot get our sense of fulfillment from Doing because we will inevitably feel good for a little while… only to realize that we can never Do “enough” to keep our worthiness forever.
Trust me. I have spent the past eight months wrestling with this level and it doesn’t work. Over time, your ego will inevitably tell you that what you are doing is not enough. It will never be enough.
To break free from this level I had a mini-breakdown. I didn’t really graduate to Being… I simply surrendered from Doing.
And there is a reason that Doing never feels like enough – it is not what “purpose” truly means.
Our purpose is to love one another, serve each other, and share our gifts.
That is it. End of story.
You might be a concert pianist. Or you might help people plan their weddings. Or, you might help work for a non-profit that brings water to third world countries. Or, you might clean houses.
There are no levels to Being. Big, flashy careers are just as meaningful as the unsexy ones. In fact, careers are completely irrelevant in Being. You never define yourself and your success in the Being realm by the thing that you Do. You define your success by how well you are Being of loving service.
No matter where you are in your career, that is all life ever asks you to Do. We invent any other purpose or desire that we think we “need” to Do in order for our egos to feel successful.
On the bright side, experiencing the level of Doing has some great advantages. First, it might be incredibly difficult to leap from Having to Being, without first going through Doing. Second, Doing allows you to overcome your ego’s resistance to hard work and risk. It helps build habits that will serve you in the Being stage. But Doing is simply a stop along the way to Being.
We are not meant to spend our lives validating our worth based on our output.
The most convincing argument you will hear from your ego, as you contemplate this shift in perception, is the thought that if you really moved on to Being, you would stop Doing anything of value. Without the drive to find meaning and worthiness in Doing, we might become lazy slobs who are friendly and loving, but ineffective.
I promise you, that will not happen. When we live from Being there is a lightness about life. There is an effortlessness that exists in the world when we follow our intuition and simply aim to serve wherever we may be needed in the present moment. Life gets simpler. New opportunities come our way.
Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King Jr. did not stick around the level of Doing. They transcended to Being and literally made a world of difference.
You will still take action if you follow your gut and live in Being. I promise.
It is simply up to us to go through these stages and wrestle with our egos long enough that we eventually put down the Having and Doing and simply try, day by day, to Be.