"The passion to change the world for the better is a more powerful force than defense to keep it the same." - Simon Sinek
I recently read an article written by Michael Bernard Beckwith, the founder and spiritual director of the Agape International Spiritual Center, in which he talked about attending a group meeting many years ago intended to protest the Vietnam War. During the meeting he heard a voice within say "If you took over the world tomorrow, would the world be any different, any better?"
He then looked around the room at each individual and knew that because there was so much ego involvement, they could not succeed in changing the world. How could they help the world if they didn't first change themselves? He left the meeting to never return again. Shortly thereafter he had a deeply spiritual experience that caused him to change his life around.
This brought me to thinking about those of us engaged in change leadership and promoting corporate, social and environmental change. Rallying change and implementing it within an organization can easily lead to burnout and change leadership fatigue. What then is the solution to be effective and impact positive actions to bring about change for good in organizations, the community and on a global scale?
As Mahatma Gandhi famously said: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Or in other words, if we focus on changing ourselves, the conditions around us and in the world will also change. When you're able to commit to focus on changing for the better and applying this positive change in your actions, you exemplify behavior that constructively impacts the attitude of those around you and toward you.
A side effect of this is that you become less dependent upon others to buy in to the change you're espousing. You no longer become eager to see what others do and want to change their attitudes and actions. This significantly reduces your burnout and frustration. You become refueled from within.
I also like what one of my favorite authors, Anita Moorjani, has to say on the subject of encouraging people to shift from fear to love in how they approach the world and change:
"Don't go out and try to change the world, because people will resist you and you will only add to the same energy that's fighting. Because you will just be judging those people and they will fight back."
Here are some ways for you to help you fuel that inner change to help facilitate outer change:
Get clear on your why for wanting to facilitate change. Make sure that you can come from a place of positive impact instead of neediness to validate your self-worth.
Ask yourself: Who am I? What do I stand for? What makes me authentically me? What do I bring to the world in the most unique fashion?
Figure out how you can provide value. Look for ways instead how you can create value even with the emotions you're feeling. People emulate others who just focus on contributing. It's almost like the keeping us with the joneses effect.
Look at how you can help others. A lot of times, people focus on "what's in it for me" instead of how can I best serve. In this fashion, you'll also positively contribute to improving company culture.
Inspire yourself. Don't expect others to do this for you. Buy books written by individuals who have followed a path you want to follow. Have coffee or tea with someone who gives great advice and who lifts you up when you spend time with her.
Embrace optimism. Even when you feel like your frustration has reached its max, look for solutions and ways to remain optimistic. You want to focus on boosting your own energy to keep you moving forward. Pessimism and negative thinking can pull you into a downward spiral that is hard to pull yourself out of. Give yourself quiet time to detox from any negativity that may be going on around you to nurture your optimism spirit.
Change starts within. That's what most of the best change leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, realized. They walked their talk. They chose compassion and kindness over aggression. They exemplified the behaviors and actions that they were looking to elicit from others. So, be the change you wish to see in the world. Here's to your success!
This article originally appeared here.