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My Big Takeaway from 2023:

Want to change the world? Focus on changing yourself first.

Now I don’t mean for this to sound defeatist, nor do I want you to stop looking out at the world and imagining how you can help make it a better place. BUT what I do want to encourage you to think about is how you are changing yourself first.

It’s easier (perhaps) to think about what you’d like to see differently “out there”.

And after 30 years of being in the business of making social change, I can tell you confidently that there is no way I’d be able to make some of the impact I’ve had on the toy or beauty industry if I wasn’t also simultaneously working on myself.

Because change doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

And it doesn’t happen out there.

It first starts in here.

So what do I mean by that?

Well, if you want the world to be a kinder place…have you asked yourself how you can be more kind? Where do you practice grace, compassion, and patience?

If you want the world to be more equitable…how do you contribute to equity in your work or community? Do you speak up for those without a voice? Are you leveraging your privilege to fight for someone else’s right to exist?

How have you worked on improving yourself lately?

  • By reading a good book or learning something new

  • By going out of my way to help someone

  • By being patient when I didn't want to be

  • By being kind to someone who needed it

We can get dizzy by watching the news or scrolling too long on social media…and the hopelessness we may feel about what is happening around us could paralyze us from taking action. That is why it’s extremely important to focus on what you can control.

Now I know what you are thinking:

“But Jess, that isn’t a BIG enough change. I want to do more.”

I get it. So do I.

And yet when I’m working on my own confidence, my own education, my own exploration of courage and privilege… it is then I am becoming stronger and more fortified to do the bigger work.

Bottom line - the change we seek can’t and won’t happen without us also doing our own inner work. And anyone that has taken on a just social cause can tell you, it’s a long game - a marathon and not a sprint - to see real impact.

And ultimately, this advice is about starting where you are with WHO you are and doing some examining of your values (and how you act upon them), your courage (and when you express it), and your own journey (and how you honor it).

It is then, when we are focusing on our inner lives that we will have the greatest impact on the outer world. People will notice (and be inspired) by how you act (not just what you say), you will feel strong enough to make tough decisions (almost always a prerequisite for making change), and most of all, you’ll be doing this from a place of power and not force. You’ll be more connected (and hopefully more empathetic to others) because you will have been exercising this within yourself first.

Don’t put away those big dreams of visions of the world you wish to see.

Just attend to your own inner world first.

Then you can lift your head, take into account all of what you are learned and look outward to make the change you wish to see.

What changes do you want to make in yourself?

  • Is there something you continuously have been working on?

  • Have you reflected on your own privilege and biases lately?

  • How could you be more kind? Let me know -- tag me and let's use the hashtag #WorkingOnMyself


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