I’m not sure where I first heard these two sentences combined. I do know that I repeat them, over and over, to my clients. Many of us grew up to Yoda’s (from Star Wars), “There is no try, only do.” We thought the little “guy” was cute, enjoyed his coaching Luke Skywalker, and maybe, every now and then, thought about not trying but instead just hunkering down and doing something. But taking things the next step by adding the second sentence, “There is no do, only be,” makes this concept even more real, and more pertinent to leadership.
It is important, even essential, that leaders don’t just “try” but that they “do.” That they get things done, move projects forward, and actually lead their teams, employees, and organizations. But too much doing can also be an issue. Time and time again we see those we know, and those we watch in the news, get caught up in too much doing – too much action, too much running around and putting out fires. There are times when, in order to lead well, a leader must stop and reflect (we call this Thoughtful Leadership). When it’s important, and even essential, to think things through and plan a response before any doing gets done. To sit and simply “be” with the problem and issues at hand, so that the next steps taken are intentional, thoughtful, and effective.
It is also critical as a leader to be oneself and to lead with authenticity. When we get too caught up in action and doing, we lose sight of who we really are, what we really believe, and, at times, what is really important. It may be crucial to respond to a situation or person, but when we can respond in a way that takes into account our own humanness, as well as that of others, we can respond from the mind and heart combined, and we can better inspire those who will hopefully follow our lead to follow us.
“There is no try, only do. There is no do, only be.” That is a way to truly lead.