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Real Change Occurs Within One’s Self

The same existential angst that is at least partially responsible for the “Great Resignation” seems to be causing more people to move, sometimes across the country, sometimes just to a different neighborhood. But the desire for change — in career or location — has always been influenced by the sense most people have that if they were just in a new environment, everything would be different. New people, new surroundings, new stimuli… New you? 

In actuality, when we make big external changes, regardless of context, we bring along our old habits, behaviors, and patterns of thought. After the initial shock of any change wears off, we realize that nothing’s different after all. Real change — the kind that follows you wherever you roam — occurs within one’s self. 

That’s not to say that you won’t benefit from a new job or a new home, or that external change might not be the right choice for you, but before you throw the baby out with the bath water, if your urge to run stems from a need for change, the work begins exactly where you are.

Architecting Inner Change

In your quest for inner change, if you don’t address mind, body, and energy, there will be an imbalance that leads to stagnation and eventually, retrograde. Everything is connected. This is important to consider as we approach the new year because our resolutions are often focused on mental or physical goals instead of mental and physical. 

There are many ways to think about the elements of mind, body, and energy and how they contribute to optimal performance. One such structure, according to Neurozone, includes the following:

  1. Rhythms, including sleep, hormones, and exercise
  2. Energy, including positive thought patterns, curiosity, optimism, humor, and destructive habit avoidance
  3. Connectors, including meaning in personal life, belonging on a team, affective empathy, cognitive empathy, identity in personal life, and work-life balance
  4. Transformers, including competitive collaboration, cognitive diversity, social diversity, mindfulness, and focused attention
  5. Innovators, including critical thinking, divergent thinking, and certain learning techniques

This is a way to conceptualize different elements of inner change that relate to mind, body, and energy. Consider rhythms, energy, connectors, transformers, and innovators when you’re craving change. Again, everything is connected, so making changes to achieve optimal performance can feel like weaving a complicated web or driving a car. You’ll need tune-ups here and there as you put on more miles. One day, all you might need is an oil change; but if you let things go for too long, you might need a whole new engine. 

Change requires agility; so trade your highly specific Google maps navigation system for a compass. As long as you have your north star, so to speak, if you head in that direction (even with some deviation), you’ll still be on the right track. 

Focus On What You Want

When it comes to any change — external or internal — focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want. The old adage is true: You are what you think. So fight the urge to think of “Anywhere but here.” Instead, visualize in detail the place you want to be, the job you want to have, and the person you want to be. Then, move toward it in your mind and watch how change follows you.