Do It For You
I'm gonna make a change, For once in my life It's gonna feel real good, Gonna make a difference Gonna make it right.
I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
- credit Michael Jackson "Man in the Mirror"
I'm not going to apologize for starting another blog post with song lyrics. I like song lyrics. The words and music will play in your head to set the mood or enhance your attitude. It's like having your own soundtrack. Whether it is a workout montage, dish washing montage, or driving to work montage, I will use music to bring myself up. And these days, I don't have to make a mix tape for every occasion. Amazon Music has every song I need at my finger tips. Or thumb tips...
Anyway, we are off-topic. Let's bring it back, but spin MJ's Man in the Mirror on its head and back towards you with a little reflection. We have to make ourselves better for the world, It starts with you...
So... what is it… that you do… just for you?
I often say that Toastmasters is the best thing I have ever done to improve myself. I had a deficiency. A terrible fear. It affected everything in my life. I was nervous about speaking to my boss, my co-workers, and even my friends whether in public or private. I got over those nerves and learned to share my thoughts confidently. I built skills to speak and lead, which I use to coach, teach, and instruct in Toastmasters, in the Karate dojo, in my workplace, and in church youth group. I do a fundraiser with a 24-hour gaming marathon where I live stream, which I would never have had the courage to do without Toastmasters. I’ve changed everything about myself in regards to speaking. I made a change. I did it for me, but it is also making the world around me better.
This has inspired me to look at all the things I do and reflect on why. I have found that if there is some benefit for myself, then I’m more motivated to work on it.
Toastmasters is a self-improvement club. You are in it FOR YOU. No one joins Toastmasters to help others become better speakers. It happens, because that is how Toastmasters works, but it is not WHY we join. No one joins Toastmasters to help their home life or family. Our listening skills improve, which certainly improves communications with the spouse, but that’s not why people join Toastmasters. We join for us. To improve the self.
Another similar experience is when I joined a karate dojo as a family activity. My daughters were interested. My wife and I looked at each other and thought, "It isn't going to be like gymnastics or dance class." We planned to be on the floor with them. Why sit on the sidelines when we can get the same benefit they get from the class? The cost was the same whether it was just the kids or the whole family. It was like we got the training for free!
Before joining karate, I was going through a recovery of some major spine issues from treating my body like a battering ram in just about everything. I had arthritis, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and bone spurs. I also have a crook in my lumbar spine from birth which causes muscle spasms. I was on a pain management program and physical therapy, but it only managed me so far. It was easy to have set backs. The pain medication would relieve the pain, but leave me drowsy or loopy. Chiropractic care was a saving grace to align my spine so that all those ailments could heal.
Flexibility and mobility are the real keys to maintaining a healthy spine and body. They say if you don't use it, you will lose it. Karate gave me a place to use my body in many different ways to maintain and improve my flexibility and mobility. I was worried of inuring myself often, and I did have some minor setbacks, but the growth and improvement has been phenomenal. At 40 years old, I never thought I would still be an athlete. I am not playing football or rugby, but I am still able to maintain the same fitness level. As long as I am willing to push myself. As long as I see the benefit for myself. As long as I continue to do it FOR ME.
Other priorities certainly get in the way of putting yourself first. My personal priorities are family, friends, career, and education. Each of those involve other people in some way. These priorities are shaped by my personal belief of putting others before myself. Organized religions have ethics and morals built on individual actions which effect other people.
I’m sure many of you reading this could describe an example from the Commandments, or Proverbs, or quote from Buddha, or something else. It’s hard to put yourself first when you look at your priorities, but your personal actions directly effect other people. Making a positive change to improve yourself will influence others around you and will change the world around you.
I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
You should be happy this one isn't a podcast.
What is it that you do JUST FOR YOU? Keep in mind that anything you do, if you are personally benefiting, then you’ll be more motivated to put in the time and effort. Focus on your WHY.
There is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi which is often paraphrased to, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
What he actually said was, "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change." The sentiment is similar.
Start with yourself. Improve how you see yourself in that mirror and improve the world along with it. Make that change. Do it for you.