Start With You

My friend is having a problem. The other party in their marriage is doing something that hurts. It injures. My friend is trying, but the spouse isn’t ‘getting it;’ and my friend wonders if it’s time to call it quits.

Another friend is struggling at work. He has a bad manager, a corporate policy that’s heavily impacting his ability to sell his products, and one customer that’s really pushing his buttons. He’s thinking he might fire his customer, or go to another company. 

And globally, one country is threatening another with war because they have different takes on the same religion. This nation has drawn a line in the sand, executed people, and stated they aren’t going to budge. 

In my own life, sometimes I distance myself from people or cool off relationships when others disappoint me. It’s easier to withdraw than to deal with conflict sometimes; I’ve often chosen simply to avoid the fight. 

But if I try to apply next-level thinking to these situations, I realize something important:

Other people really don’t ever change just because we insist on it.

That sounds cynical, but think about it. How many times have you achieved lasting change in another person by insisting they do what you want, think like you do, change a certain behavior?

If I’m really honest, the biggest positive changes I’ve ever seen in others happened after I changed me first.

Jesus asked a weird question about specks and logs in people’s eyes, in Matthew 7. 

Really, if you divorced everyone, fired everyone, distanced yourself from everyone, and nuked everyone when they wouldn’t change, how long would it take for you to end up all alone? 

There’s peace in working a little harder to resolve conflict. And as the old saying goes, attitude reflects leadership.

You want other people to change? Change yourself first. Give them an example. Make the first move.

If I want my coworker to be nicer, I need to be nicer first. Make sure I’m squared away before I worry about anyone else. 

Real change starts with me. 

I’m starting with me.

Start with you.

And start today.

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