It can be easy to fall into the trap of “I want to see XYZ change in my life — so I’m going to focus on the people, places, and things that need to change so I can see the change.” And heck — there are plenty messages, articles, shows, programs, etc., telling us exactly how to make the changes we wish to see (what words to use, what steps to take, what magic buttons to push).
But we live in the real world, and trying to change things on the outside? (Other people’s words and choices, places, things, the weather, …) That’s really hard! Really, really hard! Especially when we’re trying so, so hard to do so. (And pssst: there are no magic buttons.) At least in my life, I find that just putting in more effort doesn’t generally lead to the desired result (or if it does, things get busted along the way of “try harder!!” so I’m left with more work to clean up and things to fix (d’oh!) at the end).
Maybe it sounds fluffy or frou frou or silly or counterintuitive or just plain nonsense, but I’ve found that I’ve got to start with me first. Getting myself more into alignment (aka feeling less stressed and/or “oh crap I got to make this happen RIGHT NOW!”) is non-negotiable.
It’s mission critical to start with my head space and how I feel. What thoughts are rolling around? What’s my mindset (fixed or growth)? How am I feeling? If I’m in “push/force/you need to change first” territory, I’ve got to reboot myself before I put effort into the situation I want to change. And this isn’t about getting to some perfect “there” of inner alignment and chill where nothing ever ruffles our feathers. Feathers will get ruffled; we’re human, it happens. It’s about working to bring ourselves back from the ruffled feathers of overwhelm ledge to the clearing where we can feel a little more space and think a bit more clearly.
Effort without self-alignment first? Result: more of a mess and things taking longer to change. Effort with more self-alignment? Result: While it may start slowly, things will actually get moving toward change.