I’ve spent most of my adult life with a mask on. 

As a military spouse, the masks were a form of survival. Through many moves and seasons of starting over, navigating deployments and raising two children mostly on my own, it felt simpler to reinvent myself through each transition than doing the heavier work of showing up as authentically me. 

It felt simpler, but it wasn’t. Because by 2019, I’d created so many versions of myself that I didn’t know which one was true. And in hindsight, none of them were. 

Would I have reached for these masks, even if the military was not a part of my story? Probably. Most of us hide behind the masks because they feel like the easier choice. In reality, they are the harder choice, costing us our joy, fulfillment, authentic relationships, and deeper impact. 

As I believe every human is wired by story, the masks we wear are actually stories we tell ourselves. And Renala believes there are three stories, or master plots that drive most of our mindsets and behavior. These three master plots have been illuminating for myself and the parents and families I serve because they are central to building an understanding of ourselves and the narratives that either keep us stuck, or propel us forward. 

Two of the three master plots lead to overwhelm, burnout, and unfulfillment, and yet are the predominant narratives in our culture. The third plot is gold, and unlocking it has the power to transform your life. 

As you read these three master plots below, I want you to be honest with yourself (and without shame) about which of the first two are the most true for you – and how you can begin to live more closely aligned with the third golden narrative. I’d love to hear what you learn. 

Do > Have > Be. 

In this master plot, our identity, purpose, and story are anchored in what we do. What we do determines what we have, which then determines who we are. 

With our identity tied up in what we do, we have a hard time defining ourselves apart from the roles we play, like mother, father, a job title, an organization, an accomplishment, or the like.  

Rooting our identity in roles and activity feels like a security blanket, a mask, protecting us from the deeper vulnerability of others knowing who we truly are. 

If who we are is driven by what we do and have, then we can’t fully design our lives for joy. Instead, we hustle harder, chasing after promotions, accolades, and productivity hacks that we think will fulfill us. And without taking the time to slow down to understand our unique identity, strengths, needs, values, triggers, and more – and allowing ourselves to be known to others in authentic relationship – we burn out. 

We also become less resilient to failure and less likely to sit with our success. Because if we fail, we take it to mean that we are a failure. If we succeed, while we might have a momentary boost to our self-worth, we struggle to fully celebrate because the success will never be enough

Do you identify with Do > Have > Be? Comment below with Do > Have > Be if this is a dominant approach for you. 

Have > Do > Be. 

In this master plot, our identity and purpose are anchored in what we have. What we have determines what we do, which then determines who we are. 

This plot insulates us from possibility. For example, we design our lives based on what is presently true – the resources, skills, experience, education, relationships, etc. we have. We apply for the next job that is aligned with the degree or background we have, or we immediately disqualify ourselves because we don’t have enough of the right experience. 

This plot also drives our imposter syndrome and questions like, “Who am I to do that?” You immediately disqualify or limit yourself, chasing after the next degree or certification, as if that will finally enable you to feel qualified and ready. 

If who we are is driven by what we have and do, we cannot design our lives for fulfillment. We run on autopilot, our future on default. We feel powerless over our circumstances, and we resort to blame, comparison, and resentment. 

Do you identify with Have > Do > Be? Comment below with Have > Do > Be if this is a dominant approach for you. 

Be > Do > Have (it all)

By now, if you guessed this was the third, golden master plot, I’m thrilled because the first two plots point you directly here. 

In this master plot, our identity and purpose are anchored in who we are. Who we are determines what we do, which then determines the life we have. 

This is what Renala means when we say you really can have it all. It starts with designing your life – your family, your career, and your relationships – anchored firmly in who you are. 

The journey in discovering who you are includes an understanding of: 

  • Your unique identity (apart from the roles you play)
  • Your combination of Strengths (which are 1 in 33 million, by the way) and how to apply your unique genius to your relationships and work
  • Your core values
  • Your needs, triggers, and polarities
  • Your play personalities
  • Your deepest fears, complaints, and passions

With this foundation of understanding who you are, you develop a powerful vision for your life – and that is the key to unlocking what it means to truly have it all. It’s even more powerful to do this foundational work in relationship with others, particularly with your family, where all of you commit to understanding one another and stepping into a powerful vision – together. 

The plot of Be > Do > Have, unfortunately, is rare in our culture. Most of us have only a surface-level understanding of who we are – and even well-intentioned efforts like talk therapy, leadership development programs, and the like are failing to provide us such clarity. 

We don’t know who we are apart from the roles we play and what we presently have (or lack). Adding complexity is also our lack of understanding of who the most important people in our lives authentically are, most notably our spouses/partners and children.

And then we wonder why so many of us feel unseen, burnt out, and stuck. 

What do these three master plots illuminate most for you? 

Where do you most need deeper self-awareness and understanding so you can design your life for joy? And who do you most need to bring along with you on your journey of collaborative self-discovery?

If you want to explore a simple system for self-discovery and saying ‘yes’ to who you truly are – sign up for Renala’s FREE Mindful Motherhood Workshop.


Friday, September 15, 2023, 12pm ET

You're registered!



Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 8pm ET

You're registered!

Friday, September 22, 2023, 12pm ET

You're registered!

Friday, September 29, 2023, 3pm ET

You're registered!