I am still basking in the glow of Janelle Monáe’s words at the Grammy Awards last week: “We come in peace, but we mean business.” Wow.
She was talking about women in the music industry—and I am so proud of her and other women for seizing the creative reins, bringing their message to life, and calling out the culture of inequality in the industry. But in a more general sense, I find these are great words to live by, especially when you are working toward a goal of transforming your life. I’ll tell you why.
“We come in peace.”
If you are really going to prepare yourself for long-term change, one of the first things you need to do is find peace. In two ways.
First, you have to make peace with the past. Stop rehashing your old struggles—with parents, school mates, teachers, ex-es, bosses. Whatever ghosts of failures past you have (real or imagined), let them go. They do not define you. You have successfully woken up every day up to now. You are here. And that means you have a starting point. You have the ability to forgive yourself—for not being perfect, and also for expecting yourself to be perfect. And you can forgive other people for the same things. After all, they’re humans, too, just like you. This frees you to see the positive side of what you have been, and what you can become.
You also need to make room for peace in the present. This means claiming time for self-care. Indulge in a relaxing bubble bath. Spend some time alone to plan your week—maybe even try on your work outfits and set them out. Take a few minutes each day to sit quietly and let your mind roll to a stop. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, and it has long-lasting benefits. Just a moment to be thankful for the good things of the day, celebrate what you’ve achieved, and forgive yourself for things that didn’t go as planned, is all it takes to bring you back to the center—and then move again in a positive direction.
“We mean business.”
OK, now that you have laid the groundwork, you can approach those long-term changes the same way you approach your life’s work. Because it is your life’s work! The evidence of your life is you. Don’t just think or read about working out. Schedule it. Treat it like a doctor’s appointment. Don’t just collect healthy recipes. Treat the contents of your grocery cart like medicine—good things, in the right amounts. Find someone to whom you are accountable. Maybe that’s your spouse or a friend—or maybe you can hire a coach or trainer. Yes, making these kinds of changes takes commitment. Yes, it takes planning. Yes, it is work. (Although that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun.) So take a business-like approach to keep yourself on track.
Come in peace, but mean business.
Good health, and the good life, are so much more than physical. And your mindset is the key to making a successful change. Physical changes are just the most visible aspect of the more important changes in focus, forgiveness, acceptance, and attitude. Make peace with your past. Make room for peace in the present. And mean business!
If you know someone who could use a boost, please pass this along!