When you change, everything changes

My mom’s friend left her job and started her own business. This may not sound too radical, but at the time she was a mom of 3, in her forties. She was a doctor, working in a hospital and having a good salary and job security. Yet, she chose a bold and unconventional path.

I talked to her 2 years later and she said something that blew my mind:

“Milena, seeing you leaving your job gave me the courage I needed to leave mine. I realized that it’s possible to follow your gut and do the right thing no matter how hard.”

I was in shock. Me leaving my job inspired her to do the same? Seriously? At the time I was 25, I wasn’t married, had no kids, no debt, nothing that would stop me from quitting. The job I was working at was pretty bad, I wasn’t advancing, I wasn’t learning, I wasn’t challenged in any way, I did not like the environment, I had to work on every Saturday and lived with my parents. Due to all these reasons, I saved the money, left the job, moved to another city and changed the direction of my career slowly. I lived off of my savings until I found another job. (Read: many nights eating pasta with tomato sauce.) I did not think that leaving my job was a brave thing to do. I thought it was the only sane thing to do.

My mom’s friend was surrounded by people who glorified the job security. She did not enjoy her workplace, but she assumed that she has to “suck it up” because that was apparently what everyone else was doing.

And then she heard my story. And it clicked to her: “Hey, you can do that? You can actually leave the job you hate?” When she saw things differently there was no way back.

Again, I think her transition required much more courage than mine. Stakes were so much higher for her. But I (unconsciously) gave her the idea and permission and she followed me. She made it.

Here are a few big ideas I would like to leave you with:

1. Changes that you’re making will bump onto the people in your surrounding.

Often times the people around you will actively resist your changes. It will trigger them to reconsider their own choices. It will make them uncomfortable. They will want the old version of you because they have no idea who is this new person and how they should interact with him or her.

Many people resist the change because they don’t have the support of people around them. But that is just an excuse. In the words of Steven Pressfield:

“Seeking support from friends and family is like having your people gathered around at your deathbed. It’s nice, but when the ship sails, all they can do is stand on the dock waving goodbye.”

Support is great to have, but not necessary. Change anyway. Do what you think is right anyway. Here is why:

2. Once is a while the changes that you’re making will affect someone else in the most beautiful way, without you even realizing it.

Course in Miracle says:

“A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware.”

I had no idea that my job quitting inspired my mom’s friend to find the courage to do the same. When I saw my cousin, who never did anything athletic in her entire life, running half-marathons and marathons, I changed the way I am thinking about running forever.

In the interview with Beth Terry, who is an activist against the use of plastic, she told how her husband started taking a metal container in butcher’s shop when he was buying meat, to avoid numerous plastic sheets and bags. A few months later butcher told her husband that after seeing him with a metal container, many, many other customers started doing the same thing.

Your change is inspiring, thought provoking and contagious. Don’t underestimate that. Do what is right. Change for better. Your good vibes will find their way to like-minded people.

3. When you change, the world changes.

I know, your random act of kindness, a new habit or a $5 donation may seem totally insignificant. A drop in the ocean. But small things are powerful. Small things pile up. Small things trigger series of other small things, which then lead to bigger things. People on Quora gave some amazing examples of Butterfly effect, the idea that tiny causes have large consequences. Some even say that every single event can be observed through series of Butterfly effects. Numerous, small causes led you to this post in the first place. Each new thought, action, and vibration creates consequences and form on a certain level.

Don’t be obsessed with grandiosity. If your blog post inspires one person today, you did your job. If you donate money to one person on Kiwa today, he or she might be able to help someone else next week. If you make someone’s day with a joke, kindness or funny story, he or she will be in a better mood and able to express more love towards other people. If you run for one mile today, someone might see you through the window and get the inspiration to go for a jog himself.

We are modeling what we want to see in the world. Don’t be afraid to start small. Do something good and create waves and ripples.

Nothing changes unless you do. When you change, everything changes.

Now I would love to hear from you. Do you have any examples of how changes you made influenced those around you (or vice versa)? Share your thoughts with me in comments below.

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