To Be or Not To Be? That Is Not the Question...

We have become a society that is so focused on getting the job done that we sometimes forget that the journey, and who we are as we travel on that journey, is as important as completing the task at hand. Here's the deal: we don't get a choice about creating a life. If we keep breathing for another 12 months, or as the song in Rent tells us, “another 525,600 minutes,” we will create a year of life. Since our thinking determines our identity which, in turn, determines our life course, the person who we think we are and the person who, in actuality, we are will impact how we decide to move forward — and also how people respond to us on that journey.

According to the Law of Attraction and other philosophies that believe that humans are connected to and influenced by the power and energy of the Universe, in order to attain our goals and dreams and find the life that we want to live, we need to possess qualities that attract whatever it is that we want — be it a better career, deeper relationships with others, health and well-being, etc. What qualities are necessary to attract more success in our lives? For starters, are we being kind, unprejudiced, disciplined, genuine, empathetic, loving of others and ourselves, intuitive, organized, forgiving, and generous? 

During my life coaching certification, my teacher, Mary Morrissey, said something that stuck with me (the truth is, she said countless “somethings” that stuck, but this one is on my mind today). Many of us have morning rituals, whether it be drinking coffee from the same mug, meditating, watching the Today show, or making your To-Do list for the day. I am not a morning person, so the idea of doing anything beyond getting myself up and out of the apartment is a daunting task. I am a fan of the daily To-Do list, though. I love being organized, so a list keeps me on track, and I feel very accomplished at the end of the day when I’ve crossed all or most of the tasks off.

Here’s where Mary comes in and the reason I started this post with the qualities that attract success. Mary is a morning practice enthusiast, and one of her rituals is this. When she wakes up, she makes a To-Be list. Now, many of us make To-Do lists, but how many people do we know make To-Be lists? A recent quote that I liked reads, “We are human beings, not human doings, so why do we forget that being is as important as doing?” Touché!

I’m sure Mary has her own specific To-Be list technique but, honestly, there is no set way to create your own practice. As long as it works for you, anything goes.

Here’s one example:

  • Focus on the To-Be list before you go to sleep or as you’re starting your day.
  • Check your calendar and schedule and determine what qualities you want to exemplify or feelings that you want to experience as the day progresses. On that particular day (or days — you can determine your own timeframe), who do you want to be and what qualities can you inhabit that correlate to that person?
  • Then, create your To-Be list. I find it’s best to stick to 3 to 5 traits — any more just becomes overwhelming. Write it down on paper, type it into an electronic device, make it a vision board, or choose your own special way. 
  • The key is to post it or store it somewhere that you’ll see it throughout the day, as studies have shown visual images are powerful tools to keep you focused and remind you of your objectives.

Here’s how I fashioned my own To-Be morning practice. I create a semi-daily list at the top of my To-Do list on the Keep app on my phone. Personally, I find that different time periods call for different qualities and different timetables. It all depends on the demands of my schedule and, truthfully, my state of mind. I can do one each day and sometimes, I’ll do one that will last me for a week. In any event, each list includes 3 areas of my life. I think of who I want to be:

  1. For my work in the world (for my business, other work ventures, specific projects, volunteering, etc.)
  2. For people I encounter during the day
  3. For the Universe

So, today for my work in the world: I want to be motivated and diligent; for individuals: I want to be supportive and positive, and for the Universe: I want to be introspective. Fortunately, writing the blog today checked all 3 boxes — so that made for a successful day!

Keep in mind, don’t get hung up on creating a set schedule. We all get busy, or we may forget to do it, or we might just want to take the day off. It’s all fine. There are no restrictions unless YOU create them. This is for your benefit — just another tip to enhance your life experience. And remember, don’t turn this list into another obligation on your To-Do list — it should come to you organically and will be available to you when you are ready for it.

What are the Benefits?

  • Creating the list forces you to slow down and be conscious of the day(s) ahead and your life direction.
  • The practice makes you focus on your best qualities and who you want to be in the world.
  • The list can also be a course corrector if you begin to veer away from your path to achieve your goals, or if you allow your paradigms — those old habits and patterns that keep you living your life by default and inertia — take charge and stop you from creating a life of your own design.
  • You may find that placing your attention on who you want to be will infuse new positive energy and outcomes into the full spectrum of your life.

If you are more aware of being the best qualities — kind, unprejudiced, disciplined, genuine, empathetic, etc., as a result, your actions and decisions will be informed by these qualities leading you to more happiness and greater success. You’ll also begin to exhibit these qualities intuitively.

For me, because of this morning practice, I’m hyper-conscious of how I’m interacting with others, how I’m working towards my goals, and yes, who I’m being in the world. It enables me to place deep focus, attention, and energy on traits that will define and redefine me as I continue on my life journey.

It’s been said, “Where you put your attention, the Universe hears as your intention.” With my To-Be list at the ready, I’m very clear of my attention, because that IS my intention.


TIME TO DINE: Cooking for Joan

I’m from Upstate New York, and now that we are heading into BBQ and clambake season, I’m offering up one of my favorite local side dishes — Syracuse Salt Potatoes. I know it sounds crazy — can you say high blood pressure pills??!! But trust me, these babies are delicious — crusty, buttery, dilly, and with less of a salt taste than you’d think. For those of you who don’t know, Syracuse is known as the Salt City because historically, it produced large quantities of salt. Salt potatoes date back to the 1800s, and were invented by local salt mine workers who created a simple and inexpensive lunch by boiling small potatoes in brine. The cooking method gives the potato a wonderful creamy texture and flavor and the salt crust is so tasty. Because the potatoes are cooked whole, the entire dish is NOT that salty. Give it a try!

Syracuse Salt Potatoes

Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 35 min | Makes: 6 to 8 | Difficulty: Easy


  • 8 cups water
  • 14 ounces salt 
  • 3 pounds small red potatoes or small white potatoes, scrubbed
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill 


Bring water to boil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and potatoes and cook until potatoes are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Drain potatoes and transfer to wire rack set over baking sheet. Let dry until salty crust forms, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, microwave butter, chives, and pepper in medium bowl until melted, about 1 minute.

Transfer potatoes to serving bowl and pour the butter mixture over the potatoes, add the dill and lightly stir, or add the dill and pass the butter mixture in a bowl at the table for each guest to help themselves.

 bon appétit!

Categories: Purpose - Mindfulness , Personal Growth - Action Plans

Tags: life coach , life coaching , positive self-talk , positive thinking , to be , to be list , to do list , life journey , Law of Attraction , Mary Morrissey , Life Mastery Institute , DreamBuilder , who do I want to be