Once upon a time, change was all I thought about.

Saving lives. Saving the world. Changing everything. Helping everyone.

With a desperate calling for giving and service in my blood, I wanted to focus every ounce of energy, attention, care, consideration, money and love outwardly. I’d be willing to fall apart, go broke and be left with nothing if it meant helping to positively change a life.

Then, something changed.

I realized that I had to change myself in order to change the world, or anyone else.

Someone who loved me taught me that I had to learn to receive without guilt or shame to become a real giver. I learned that I had to love myself before I could love a partner. To nurture my soul, to nourish my body, to honor myself with just as much care and consideration and attention as I wanted to give outwardly.

Why? Because the best leader you can become is a leader by example.

Leading quietly and from your loving presence is a form of leadership that lasts, because it’s not forced or pushed on anyone.

And most importantly, it empowers you to be a giver without burning out, self-destructing, or martyring yourself.

It’s time to get honest and ask yourself…

  • Are you giving a little bit too much… just to make a point?
  • Do you keep minimizing yourself to pick someone else up… against your gut instinct?
  • Are you making yourself smaller, to try to prove something to someone else?

I’ve learned firsthand that diminishing your True Self for these reasons is a surefire way to feel fractured, beaten down, emotionally battered, empty and unwhole.

Change-makers and give-first personalities are prone to this. They shut out receiving. They feel guilty or shameful about receiving what they themselves give. It’s a recipe for disaster. Because you’re no good to us burned out, broken and burned down.

You can’t keep giving after you’ve martyred yourself into oblivion.

We need you.

We need you to be full and whole. We need you giving, but giving sustainably. For the long-term.

I get why martyrdom happens.

It’s because you’ve got so much love in you.

You hold so much capacity to give, lead, love and serve.

You want to change the world. You want to save the planet.

First and foremost, you have to save yourself.

Start with you.

Change outside begins within. The only thing you can guarantee with certainty is that you are responsible for yourself.

Your words. Your deeds. Your actions. How you show up in others’ lives. The things you think before you say them out loud.

These are the landscapes you are responsible for tilling. So till them first.

Till your mind for presence and peace. Till your heart for openness and receiving. Till your voice for truth and integrity. Till your conscience for clarity and purity.

Whenever you feel like you’re struggling against a whole world that needs you to save it, pause.

Remember to go within.

Begin there.

Make change there.

And the whole world will be better for it.