What verb best describes you? Blaine Barlett taught, during a leadership seminar in Los Angeles, verbs can be used to indicate actions, processes, conditions, or states of beings of people or things. Discovering our verb can help us determine who we are and our place. Our verb describes what we love doing. Our verb is what causes our movement. It’s what makes us feel happy and alive. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning.
Buckminster Fuller wrote in his book titled I Seem to be Verb: “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the Universe.”
Examples of people with their Verb:
- Rene Descartes: I think, therefore I am.
- Buckminster Fuller: I question, therefore I am.
- Albert Einstein: I imagine, therefore I am.
- Thomas Edison: I invent, therefore I am.
- Mother Teresa: I love, therefore I am.
- Steve Jobs: I innovate, therefore I am.
- Martin Luther King: I dream, therefore I am.
- Nelson Mandela: I risk, therefore I am.
- Mahatma Gandhi: I persevere, therefore I am.
- Walt Disney: I dream, therefore I am.
So what’s your Verb?
I must admit that I struggled to find a verb that best describes me when Blaine asked the question: what’s your verb? By relating to a recent experience when I performed at my best, I found a verb, I came to an interesting discovery: I coach, therefore I am. This sentence did not hit home until I began to live this verb “coach”. I lead my team by coaching them to think and act like an owner, to be at their best, to do things that they are not comfortable doing, and to achieve great results together. I run my leadership mastermind group studies by coaching people to up-level their leadership and be the best leaders they can be.
The simple process Blaine taught can help you discover your verb:
- Think a recent experience when you were at your best. Describe what happened.
- How were you feeling during this interaction?
- What “verb” made this experience possible?
- What are some verbs that best describe who you are?
- What’s your verb?
- Why is it your verb?
- How do you live into it?
Doing this exercise, we might discover several verbs that describe us. What we want is to pick out one verb that best describes who we are. If you are unsure which one, pick one from the list, try living it for a week, and change to the next one. Pick the one that makes you feel happiest and most alive. How you live into this verb is very critical. By living into it, you will feel alive and enjoy what you do.
When I did this exercise with a friend, without looking at each other, we knew precisely each other’s verb.