Be. Do. Have. These three words, in this order, are helping me to make big and small changes in my life.

I was introduced this recipe for personal reinvention during a recent interview with author Josh Linkner about his latest book, The Road to Reinvention: How to drive disruption and accelerate transformation.

In the final chapter of Linkner’s insightful business guide, he challenges us to also reinvent ourselves as people. Yikes.

Usually, we get the formula back-to-front. Linkner explains: “The formula usually goes something like this: ‘Once I have X (fill in the blank) then I’ll be able to do what I want to do and then I’ll be the person I want to be.’ For example, once I have that wonderful relationship or I have that new car or I have my new house, then I’ll be able to do the things I want to do and only then will I be able to be the person I want to be.”

Linkner’s advice to reverse the words results in a very different perspective. “Instead of ‘Have. Do. Be’,” he says, “I’m suggesting we first be who we want; who we truly are. That, in turn, will allow us to do the things that we really want in life, and in turn, the have will take care of itself.”

Ah ha! There’s the rub, isn’t it? The “have will take care of itself”.

That is a major leap of faith. But Linkner says it works. In his interviews with 200 thought leaders, artists, musicians, billionaires, CEOs, and not-for-profit and military leaders, the pattern was repeated: their greatest achievements came by first being, and then by doing. The ‘have’ always took care of itself.

Change isn’t easy, I have found. It helps to have a simple guiding principle or two, and this one is a gem, at least in my life.

If I want to be a healthy, calm person, I need to buy great ingredients, cook them with love, and give up coffee! (Still working on that last one.)

If you want to be a content marketer, you have to write stories regularly.

I also love Linkner’s insight for reminding me of the power of words. Be. Do. Have. What a powerful little trio.