Change or get changed

Right at the beginning of this post, I´d like to remind you of one thing. You should never forget that our time on this planet is limited and may end earlier than we expect. Therefore, we should enjoy it as much as possible and make the most of each and every area of life. We should work, love, and live every single second as if nothing more important existed in the world. But what do most people do? They keep their dreams and intentions locked in a drawer, have a job they don´t like and live in relationships that do not make them happy. Someday, of course, they are planning to do something about it. But for the time being, it simply isn´t possible, because their full schedules leave them with no choice. And so they keep on waiting for the right moment—days, weeks, months, or even years. But hoping for a vague someday is often deceptive, as it eventually turns into a never.

The burden of discipline weighs ounces. The burden of regret weighs a ton.

Jim Rohn once said, „There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret,“ to which I´d like to add that you can only avoid one of them at a time. It’s a choice we have to make every day.“

So the first step to becoming a Changemaker is this: Have the guts to take charge of your life. A ship lying in the harbor is safe; however, it has been built to sail through stormy seas. Of course, there is always the risk of shipwreck, but what might look like a failure is actually a great opportunity to grow. Far more agonizing is the feeling you experience when you have waited until it is eventually too late. The burden of discipline weighs ounces. The burden of regret weighs a ton.

The more often we bring this fact to our attention, the fuller a life we can live, using every single day to become the best possible version of ourselves. To do that, you need to sit in the driver’s seat, no matter where the journey of your life has taken you so far. Free yourself from titles, money and other people’s permission and find your own motivation for change.

Become a Changemaker – starting today!

In my eyes, a Changemaker is a person who views the small and big changes in life as great opportunities, and who combines this can-do attitude with a strong ability to take massive action. Changemakers actively seek out chances and possibilities to design their own futures rather than just managing the status quo. They let their actions speak louder than their words. When the chips are down, they stand their ground, being role models for their people, customers, and colleagues. In a nutshell, a Changemaker is a person who does not leave their career, relationships and overall quality of life to chance but is instead committed to living every single second to the very fullest.

Changemakers don´t need money or permission to take action

Well, have you been able to identify with some of these suggestions? Is there work to be done here or there? To help you determine how much of a Changemaker you already are, I’d like to invite you to perform a short thought experiment.

Imagine yourself at the end of your days sitting as an old and (hopefully) wise person in a comfortable rocking chair on your veranda. Enjoying the skin-warming evening sun, you let the years of your life pass before your mind’s eye. Looking back at your professional career, your family life and the development of your potential, would you be grateful and proud because you lived a fulfilled life full of magic moments, or would your thoughts be rather sad, because of all the goals you have never achieved, all the risks you have never taken and all the dreams you have never lived?

In this hypothetical flashback, have you actively changed the world and lived your ideas, or have you passively waited, surrendered to the circumstances, other people’s decisions and external conditions? Have you been a game changer or a manager of the status quo? Whatever your answer to this fictitious thought is, I’d like to encourage you to take the road of the Changemaker by assuming responsibility for your own life and being a role model to others.

There is objection. Just start small.

At this point you may object with, „Well, Ilja, I’m just an everyday person. There isn’t much I can change.“ My answer is this: “You don’t even know what you are capable of.” Why shouldn’t you be able to do what so many have succeeded in doing before? The most important thing is that you start from where you are now, focusing on your inner motivation. And by doing so, sometimes things will happen that you couldn’t even have imagined in your wildest dreams. When your inner fire starts to burn, it can easily develop into an inferno. Soon, you are going to realize that the people in your environment change as well. I’d even say the more you try to make a difference on a small scale rather than change the world at large, the more likely you are to leave a really big mark.

I can hear your next objection. „Only people who are already successful can make a real impact. Don’t you need a title, money and certain connections to bring about changes?“ My clear and unequivocal answer is, „No, on the contrary.“ Did Steve Jobs and his friends need a title to create the Apple empire in a garage in Los Altos? Did Martin Luther King Jr. need money to share his dream with millions of people? Did Steve Bezos need other people’s permission to launch the Internet empire Amazon? These are all examples showing the possible impact of starting small and having the guts to use your potential to become the best version of yourself.

I am a Changemaker – will you become one as well?

And with that we have reached the red thread, the central theme of becoming a changemaker. You don’t need a title, money or permission to live a successful life. You don’t need a title to lead as a role model and inspire the people around you. You don’t need money to increase your sales, be passionate about your work and go the extra mile for your customers. You don’t need anybody’s permission to make bold decisions and exceed others‘ expectations. All of this happens by itself as you overcome the fear of change and start developing big ideas, making clear decisions and acting with confidence. Let the following mantra become your daily mantra: „I am a Changemaker!“

Sincerely yours,

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