The Big Difference Between Doing versus Being

As leaders we sometimes get confused with the concepts of being a leader of doing.

What did I do for my team today?

What did I do for my organization yesterday?

We may want to revisit the concept that doing is our being.

Because the sad truth is this: What we are doing is not necessarily what we are being.

When we start to think too much about ourselves in terms of impressions of our own leadership on others, it creates a way of thinking that dominates our responses and reactions. It can even color our perception.

We may think, “Look at all I’m doing! That is my leadership,” and we may get caught up in a cycle of feeding ourselves this misconception as truth. But all we are really doing is blocking out the real self, the real light, the real leadership.

If you want to stop identifying yourself with the conceptual self, if you want to stop confusing doing with being, you need to find the real you – the hidden you, the unknown you, the true being. You do that by maintaining the distinction between your activities and who you are.

Start looking deeper inside yourself to discover the core convictions of your entire self, your real being.

Buried inside every leader resides the true self, not the conceptual self. When you find it through layers of digging and discovery, with contemplation and courage you will be able to find that you are much more than what you are doing, that you exist as a real being whom you may have disregarded before.

Lead From Within: Think of your conventional sense of self. Is this a real conception of self, or is it confused with complex activities, or with concepts and impressions about who you think you are?



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Lolly Daskal

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Edward Colozzi

    18. Sep, 2012

    A Wisdom Post Lolly!
    Perhaps when we respond to our “DO_ing” energy, we are often ‘driven’ and act from an external locus of control. When we respond to our “BE_ing” energy, we are more likely to experience ourselves being lead, and “leading” from that important source of an internal locus of control, often providing us with a stronger sense of personal agency, a process you wisely refer to as “leadingfromwithin”.

    BOTH are choices we make daily, about which frame of mind and heart WE each choose to embrace. BOTH choices are informed by our values. So what values are informing us, and why are they so powerful?

    You point out the importance of listening and responding to our True Self to make these choices. Thanks for your efforts to wake us up to our True Self, and choose BE_ing that results in more effective Leading. Regards, EdC

    Reply to this comment
  2. Jesse Stoner

    18. Sep, 2012

    Another great post, Lolly. We get out of balance when we tip the scales too far in one direction or the other. I call it the “dooby dooby doo dilemma.” Unfortunately, most people these days are not even aware there is an alternative to doing.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      18. Sep, 2012

      Most of the time Jesse, I do not feel like a human being but a human that is becoming.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply to this comment
      • Jennifer Ayoub

        30. Jul, 2017

        This post resonates with me. It articulates and expresses very clearly what is going on within my desire and potential for leadership. Thank you, Lolly for writing this as I have tears for someone who understands.

        Reply to this comment
  3. Steven Snyder

    18. Sep, 2012

    Great post, Lolly. When i focus on “being” instead of “doing” i find myself more connected with others. It leads to better, more fulfilling relationships. Ironically, i think it leads to more getting done as well. I’ve found that the practice of mindfulness – and in particular mindfulness meditations — helps put me in a state of mind where i can be fully present with every interaction.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Caroline Carlicchi

    19. Sep, 2012

    Hi Lolly,
    I discover your blog through this post and I have a great experience !
    Your post is insightfull and inspiring to move from the doing to the being.

    Reply to this comment
  5. J Mathias Bennett

    19. Sep, 2012

    This is right on Lolly – Thank you for putting so succinctly into words/a comparision chart what I’ve been working on /putting into practice =)


    Reply to this comment
  6. Dgbradl

    20. Sep, 2012

    Great post! Our BEING is where we find our WHY to guide what we DO.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Martin Proulx

    20. Sep, 2012

    Wonderful post. Following someone because of what he/she does is not leadership, it is convenience. True leadership is following someone for who they are, their values and belief system.

    I just discovered your blog. I like it!

    Reply to this comment
  8. George Larson

    20. Sep, 2012

    This is a very insightful post, Lolly. One way to begin the day is to focus in on the being part of us, before we even begin to tackle the to-do list. I especially love your list of “doing” versus “being.” Nice work!

    Reply to this comment
  9. John Grinnell

    21. Sep, 2012

    Great Post: For me my being is in my doing when I make my achievment goal a secondary target behind the primary target of experiencing the experience I’m in right now making contact with others and my immediate environment.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Dave Nowery

    22. Sep, 2012

    We may what (want) to revisit the concept that doing is our being.

    I think you meant to say “want”.

    Hope you don’t mind the edit feedback. I enjoyed your article! I will be more aware of the doing side of being a leader this week.


    Reply to this comment
  11. S.B.Kumar

    21. Aug, 2016

    BEing is the father of DOing. BEing is the seeds for DOing !BEing is the birth, DOing is the activity.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Gonzalo

    12. Jan, 2017

    But, sometimes, Doing something can create an inner state of mind that changes you and that become a being state of mind and action.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Moses

    28. Jun, 2019

    Very comprehensive post.

    Reply to this comment

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