apply within


You once told me
You wanted to find
Yourself in the world –
And I told you to
First apply within,
To discover the world
within you.

You once told me
You wanted to save
The world from all its wars –
And I told you to
First save yourself
From the world,
And all the wars
You put yourself

APPLY WITHIN by Suzy Kassel

Late this morning I stumbled across “Apply Within” and it was perfectly timed to a breakfast conversation I had with friends. I am applying within and it’s arguably the most uncomfortable work I’ve done in awhile. To really put myself out there is to acknowledge that some of the things I look for aren’t within reach because of my own inaction or self-deprivation situation. To swallow the realities is not enough. To acknowledge without purposeful change will not satisfy the moment.

What prevents you from doing things? Is it an unhealthy habit or challenging circumstance?

For me, it’s not a one size fits all response, nor is the work necessary to adapt, evolve, and succeed. I think so much of a woman’s world is about applying outward that we mistakingly underestimate and undervalue the inward possibilities.

As I muddle through my what now with work I want to be transparent in sharing that I rarely get a positive return to work story. I liken this to women who share traumatic birth stories with first-time expectant mothers, which is my damming declaration that this approach is not helpful, haunts with hopelessness, and plants a seed of stress. Having a baby is not easy, making career choices, albeit to step back, remain as is, or re-engage is not easy, and feeling worried about purpose and presence is overwhelming. To be blunt, it’s all too much. Sometimes the answers we seek are not outside of our world. In fact, we apply ourselves outwardly with one another far too often. Or, at least, this is my confession that I am guilty of this exact thing.

When I’m working through things I tend to seek the wise and loving counsel of family and friends first. I firmly believe this is an important step, however, it shouldn’t be my first one. What do I want? How am I working toward this goal? What do I need to connect intention and inspiration with actual investment? Finally, when given answers or upon self-discovered truths, do I walk the walk?

To apply within is not to discredit the moments we need support or guidance. Rather, to apply within is a growth mindset, which celebrates experience and education partnered with reflection. How will we ever know ourselves if we don’t look and apply within? Your answers, obstacles, and opportunities might not be outside of reach, but within walls you constructed then overlooked. As is often said, there’s beauty in the breakdown.

To looking in and then reaching out, happy Monday, friends.