At the heart of Start With You, is a fundamental belief that whatever we want to achieve, feel or experience in life, it starts from the inside. But more than that, that we each deserve to know how to take care of how we think and feel, and truly be in charge of that. It took me a long time to find out how to do that for myself, and everything I do is with the intention of helping others to do the same.
Here is what Start With You means to me.
You can’t control everything in the world, but you can control yourself.
I think most people would agree that no one can control everything around them. Yet, it is easy to fall into the trap of blaming the traffic, your boss, deadlines, the economy or … for how we feel, what we’re struggling with, why we’re unhappy. The trouble is, the moment you point your finger outwards, you take your hand off the steering wheel. You give over control of how you feel. You’re at the mercy of what is going on around you.
We simply can’t control everything around us, but we can take control of how we think and feel about those things. And we can take charge of what we do and don’t do.
“You are the best person to drive your success.”
You can take charge.
I notice a common challenge for many of my clients is that sense of being at the mercy of their emotional responses or like their stress is ‘happening to them’. I remember back to when it all felt out of my control too.
But the reality is that your wondrous brain is capable of changing its old pathways and programming, and making new ones. Helping clients make transformational change is at the heart of what I do, and I’ve explained how this works in the Start Me Up Toolkit. Click here to access your copy – FREE. I’d love to share with you what I’ve discovered about finally changing those stuck patterns you’re ready to let go of.
Your life is precious.
Whilst on retreat about a year ago, one of my teachers, a Zen Buddhist nun, Sister Shalom, shared a very special interpretation of one of the Buddhist precepts ‘Reference for Life’. I suppose this is the equivalent to the Christian commandment of ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and in the more Eastern tradition is often attributed to many practitioner’s choice to eat only vegetarian food. Sister Shalom put a very special slant on this for me that I want to share with you.
She shared a story from the Buddhist tradition that goes a bit like this: Imagine a lifesaver-ring is thrown into the ocean somewhere on the Earth. Now ask yourself, what are the chances that a particular dolphin swimming somewhere else underwater in the ocean somewhere on the planet, might swim into that ring, on one try? A remote possibility, for sure.
The fact is, the chances of you being born are minuscule. Of all living beings on Earth, humans make up less than one percent. Yes really. We think we’ve conquered the World and that we’re the ‘main thing’ but we are just a tiny percentage of the millions of species still surviving (despite our dominance!) today. [In fact, Harvard Law blogger Ali Binazir calculates the probability of the dolphin trick as being a one in 700 trillion chance. Scientists calculate the probability of your existing as you, today, at about one in 400 trillion. Those are tiny odds. are they not?!]
What Sister Shalom was offering was this: your life is a miracle, in a way that makes your life utterly precious. Whilst you might have reverence for life in general, have reverence for your own precious life too. Have reference for each day of your life, for the quality of your life – how you experience each moment. It is precious beyond measure. And so are you.
“Make ‘you’ the centre of your existence.”
Putting your self first.
I believe that being our most resourceful, happy self comes when we can tune into our own needs, and respect and take care of ourselves fully. So often we are brought up with the idea we must put other’s needs ahead of our own and people-pleasing is rife in many societies today.
I also believe that only when we can do this are we then able to bring our best self to others.
One of my therapeutic heroes and a pioneer of family therapy, Virginia Satir, was a strong advocate of putting ones needs and hopes first. Not instead of others, but first (it’s me and then you, not me instead of you!). This was how she defined emotional wellbeing, because when each person in a family can live in that way, the whole family system is healthier.
You are extraordinary.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re caught up in stress or frustrated with how you’ve handled something that didn’t go so well, you can make that mean all sorts of unhelpful things about yourself? The reality is that you are not your behaviour in that moment, you’re not your thoughts, and you’re not your emotions. You are far more than all of that.
One of the presuppositions from the field of NLP (neuro linguistic programming – more info on that here), or beliefs of excellence as NLP Trainer, Sue Knight, calls them is that you have all the resources you need inside yourself to grow and change (and NLP teaches us how to access and use these resources in appropriate ways). You have an extraordinary capacity for change and learning. And in my experience the doorway into that is twofold: your awareness of yourself and what you do and don’t want, and your readiness to learn and change. It is all in your hands.
“Be the change you want to see in the World.”
The surest way to change the world is to start with you.
My favourite quote right now is the perfect metaphor for Start With You. Much revered Sufi poet, Rumi, said “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
While it is tempting to start outwardly, taking care of our own beliefs, feelings and emotions can create a sea change before our eyes. I am always delighted when a client reports back on how a situation with a loved one or a colleague has transformed simply because they themselves have approached the person differently, or from a very different emotional set point.
There is no doubt in my mind, that once we can influence what’s happening inside of us, we can more effectively influence what’s happening outside.
You can make a profound difference. Start with you.