The BE - DO - HAVE Model

Alan Dinnie
Alan Dinnie
The BE - DO - HAVE Model

A simple approach for personal growth and achievement 

This model has been around for many years and it assists people with goal setting and achieving success by using a method that promotes self-change. 

The premise of it is that “you have to “Be” the right kind of person first, then you must “Do” the right things before you can expect to “Have” the things in life that really matter.

However most people believe that “When I HAVE enough free time, money, resources, new car etc. then I’ll be able to DO the things I want to do (travel, do more fun stuff, buy the things I want etc.) and that will make me BE (happy, successful, peaceful, calm etc). 

This line of thinking is sometimes referred to as the HAVE DO BE paradigm. 

They are reversing the Be-Do-Have paradigm. When we approach our lives in this way, there is the likelihood that we are simply postponing the outcomes we most desire, which keeps ourselves from the happiness we crave. 

If the focus is on the DO and the HAVE, then the state of BE-ing that we crave will always be conditional upon what we DO or HAVE.

A Formula for Life Success

We say things like if “I only I had more time I would be able to exercise more or read more.” The problem with this point of view is that we view the lack of time as an external problem. We see the problem as being ‘out there’ and out of our control; as a result we limit our ability to look for a solution. 

Stephen Covey, the renowed educator and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says that what we have failed to do is focus on our Circle of Influence….being what we can change. Until we look at the solution as being within us, as opposed to being external to us …..and therefore out of our control) the problem will remain. Change first needs to occur within us, and that will affect what comes out of us. 

Sure, there are occasions when we may not have the time or the resources we need. In such situations we need to discover why that is. However if we understood that something like exercise can help to make us alert, healthy and productive, we would likely ‘find the time’. 

To turn around one’s mindset we could begin by saying ‘I am very good at managing my time.

Consider three different types of people, each of whom is eager to get ahead in life.  The Victim, the Worker and the Winner.

If someone has a Victim mentality; they would arrange the words in the order of HAVE DO BE

They believe that to BE and to DO they first must HAVE. If they can just HAVE what the successful people have, they would be happy, and because they do not HAVE what they have that is the reason why they are not happy and content. 

This thinking results in their desire to buy more….a new laptop, a new car, a new iPhone, a bigger house etc.  And they believe that once they have the items that they think they need, they can then move on to the next step of doing what they want to do.

So a new laptop means that they can start their online business; the new car means they can now go to work, the new iPhone means they can now stay in touch with friends; and a bigger house means they can have friends or family over. 

The desire to HAVE leads to spending much of their income on acquiring things in order to achieve happiness. Don’t have the money? Put it on the credit card and pay the minimum payment each month.

The Victim will always be waiting for the wind to change for things to go their way, for the economy to improve, for any external factors to go their way before they can get ahead in life. So they blame everyone else for what they don’t have.

Consider these examples:

“Once I have enough experience then I’ll apply for that management position I’ve always wanted and then I’ll be happy.”

“Once I’ve lost a bit of weight then I’ll be able to exercise more and then I’ll be fit and healthy.”

“Once I get my pay rise then I’ll save the extra cash and when I have saved enough for a deposit on a house then I’ll be financially secure.”

This thinking can stop you from achieving your goals and realising your dreams. 

What opportunities have you foregone just because you felt inadequate or felt that you did not have the skills, knowledge, and experience, to take advantage of those opportunities?

The Worker is about DO HAVE BE

They would say, “The more that I DO, then the more that I will HAVE. And then the more I HAVE, the happier I will BE

However, their problem is that the more they do, the more there is still to do.  They are defined by what they do so they become driven, busy and tired. The more they have, the more there is to lose, so the harder they work.

So, as they accumulate more, they see this as the pathway to happiness. And when working more and having more doesn’t make them happy (or maybe it does for a while as they enjoy their latest achievement or purchase), they feel it is because they still need more. So they pursue more and because there is always more to do, they never achieve lasting happiness.

The takeaway is that having more does not make you happy. Instead we should be happy and content with ourselves right now and realise that other people or stuff cannot make us happy. Happiness should not come from external drivers. Sure, things can give us a nice warm or excited feeling, but it is short lived and doesn’t create true happiness.

The Winner approaches life in the order of BE DO HAVE

They say, “It is not about what do I need to HAVE before I can begin, or about what work I need to DO or how much work I need to Do, rather they are about who do I need to BE or become? 

If we take the examples mentioned before and apply the BE DO HAVE approach each one instead of the Victim approach, there is a different mindset applied.

BE (by saying ‘I am a manager)’ then DO something about it (apply for management roles). Even if you do not get the role, use the feedback and what you learnt from the interviews to develop your skills. Then you’ll eventually HAVE (a managerial role).

BE (by saying ‘I am a fit and active person)’ then DO something about it (begin by doing some form of exercise everyday even for 15 minutes). Then you will soon HAVE (that being more energy and a sense of well-being).

BE (by saying ‘I am good at managing money’) then DO something about it (by actively finding ways to cut back on your spending or look for a job that pays you more so you can generate excess cash,  which you can save). Then over time you will HAVE (the deposit for a house).

“You’ve got to be before you can do and do before you can have.” 

Coaching Model: The Be Do Have Mentality
The Be Do Have Mentality

Simply put….you have to be a person of character and do the right things, and then you can have the things you really want. 

What are you going to do today to “Be” the right kind of person?  What specific character quality or skill are you going to work on?  What are you going to listen to or read?  Who are you going to spend time with that will help you “Be-come” the right kind of person?

What actions are you going to “Do” today so that you can expect to “Have” the things that matter?  “Do” is a great word because it is all about action.  “Be-ing” the right kind of person is essential, but until you take action, until you “Do,” you are not impacting the world around you in a positive way.  Don’t let the “Do-ing” in your life happen by accident; instead, plan purpose in your “Do-ing.”

Work through this exercise to help you shift your HAVE – DO – BE strategy:

Find a quiet space and spend as much time as you need to think about who you want to become in person, spirit and in character in this area of your life.

1. Draw two vertical lines to make three columns on a sheet of paper.

2. At the top of the left-hand column write BE; in the middle column write DO; and in the last column write HAVE.

3. Beginning with the right-hand HAVE column write all the things you desire i.e. an education, positive caring family relationships, a new home, a luxury vehicle, a trip around the world, a desire to lose weight etc.

4. In the centre column in the DO column write all the things that you have to do so you can have the things listed in the right-hand column. As an example, let’s say you want a successful marriage. To achieve this some of the things you must be willing to do is; communicating with your partner, carry more than your share of the workload, encourage your partner when he or she is down, defend your partner against criticism, remember special occasions, be helpful when your partner is having a bad day or not feeling well. Apply the philosophy that “you can have everything you want out of this marriage if you just help your partner get what he or she wants.” Everybody’s list will vary because we all have unique needs, beliefs, and interests. However, the formula remains the same.

5. In the BE column on the left-side identify what you must BE in order to DO so that you can HAVE. To have a successful marriage, some of the things that you must be are faithful, empathetic, encouraging, committed, kind, thoughtful, considerate, attentive, loving, caring, helpful and responsible. 

This basic formula can be used for whatever it is you want to have. Look at what you have to do in order to accomplish your objectives, and then examine yourself and determine what kind of person you have to BE in order to DO so that you can HAVE.

Once you change your mindset from a HAVE – DO – BE strategy to a BE – DO – HAVE you fill find that things will really start to change for the better.

Success in any area of life begins with a clear picture about the results that one desires. When we are clear about what we want and why we want it, the question to ask is not ‘what do I need to DO?’ or ‘what do I need to HAVE?’ but rather ‘who do I need to BE?’


This article is provided with the compliments of Alan Dinnie. It is genuinely intended to offer readers information to make better decisions and give insight into various aspects of business in general, and more particularly related to the sale and purchase and management of businesses. 

All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but may be subject to errors and omissions. No statement is made as to the accuracy of any description. Alan Dinnie makes no warranties or representations regarding the information and excludes any liability which may arise because of the use of this information. This information is the copyright of Alan Dinnie.

Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate and business brokerage. 

I trust you enjoy the article and that it provides you with useful information.

To your business success

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