Doing and Being


I remember being young – in my early and mid twenties and working at companies thinking I could do the work of management.

What were they doing anyway.

I was, then, a gifted developer. I still have that gift – although my desire to stay rooted to my computer competes with other desires, like watching Aliens with my family.

I was an excellent doer – in the realm of software development.

What was the management actually doing.

These days I find myself more in management. This is hard for someone who so identified with doing things and also enjoyed doing things. I like the measurement aspect of doing. At the beginning there is nothing and you do something and there is something. In software you do something and it works or it doesn’t work or it works x% of the time and you can increasingly get it to work more of the time.

What do people in management actually do?

Well these days when I am doing my job I am not actually doing anything. I am being.

I am like the stable family that allows the child to go out and explore the world.

I maintain the arena that allows different team members to hash out a battle plan.

When I just be, it is like giving my team a super power. They are no longer held down by gravity… by the laws of physics. They have more freedom.

This hard for me to do. I want to do and I still do. And perhaps my super power is that I can use doing to increase my capacity to be. I do for myself, not for the world, and in building myself I build my ability to be.

This all sounds super nebulous.

I do think there is a relationship between this being state and the notion of weight from family constellations. That some people have more weight than others often associated with their age and then status. So like an 80 year old has more weight than a 20 year old, but the pope has more weight than a VP at a bank. But is it that a pope has more weight because he is the pope, or that he has weight and is then made the pope?

How do we get this weight? I think it is related to our ability to change and integrate those changes – to go through phase transitions in life and be transformed by them, to integrate the light and the shadow.

There is no way to hack your way to being. It is possible that a 30 year old cannot be, that a 20 year old cannot be. It is somewhat sad perhaps that all these tech leaders are doing all their management under the age of say 50. What sort of nourishing ground can exist when you have leadership that is say 80. The elders. This is what we lose in our culture when we silo our elders.