Your “to do” list may be deceiving you. A completed scroll of things you’ve done proves you’ve been busy – but not necessarily successful.

There can be great satisfaction in scratching off an item upon its completion. But fulfilling your responsibilities is not what differentiates you. Nearly all the professionals at your level have proven they can complete the work assigned to them.

What makes you valuable is your ability to do your work in a manner that makes the contributions of others more valuable.

“That’s why I started keeping a ‘to be’ list in advance of meetings,” a senior leader named Andy said during a recent session. “My to-do list reminds me of what I have to get done. My to-be list clarifies who I want to be as a person while doing the work.

“By remembering who I need to be as a leader I transform the experience I’m having as a leader.”

To-do lists bring closure. To-be lists produce possibilities. When you change the experience you change the results you’re creating.

What list are you keeping?

Hat tip: Andy P.

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