Want Better Results? Focus on This

Posted October 2, 2013 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five

I want to tell you a secret.

This one bit of knowledge completely changed my life, and it’s something not many people know. It will save you tons of energy, and give you the results you’re looking for.

It’s the thing that the most successful leaders, visionaries, and innovators already know.

A lot of people are hustling, struggling, and sometimes failing to changes their outer circumstances. Maybe you are too. There’s a current belief (read: collective consciousness) that makes us think:


“If only ______________ was different I would be happy.”


That blank line for you might represent your job, or relationship, or family. Basically it means we believe that if we can change our outer reality, then we will finally feel the way we want to feel.

Here’s the secret: Changing your circumstances is not going to make you happy.

Bummer? Just wait, that’s not the end of the story. You can have the perfect job, tons of money, and amazing partner or relationship, and still lack the happiness, success, and fulfillment you’re looking for. Why? Your outer world is never the source of lasting joy, love, or peace of mind. Momentary happiness? Sure. But long-lasting results come from the inside.

It’s almost annoying how true this is. It’s also completely freeing, because it means you can be happy right now, no matter what your circumstances are. The good news: Your inner world is what needs to change. The bad news: Your inner world is what needs to change.

Let’s talk about what the difference between your inner world and outer world. Your outer world consists of everything outside yourself: your job, work, living situation, bank account, physical health, relationships, etc. Your inner world is everything that creates your viewpoint or filter on the world: your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and the rules you live by. Now think about it: How much energy do you put towards changing your outer world? How much attention do you put on your inner world?

About 90% of all our challenges arise from a conflict in our inner world. And yet, we funnel the majority of our effort towards shifting our outer world. See the disconnect?

When you focus solely on the outer work (or outer blocks) it leads to putting a lot of energy into change, without much result. This is what I call “chasing the dream” or the “goal to goal hustle.” We’re always running after the next thing that will give us momentary highs, instead of building a foundation on the inside that will serve us for the rest of our life time.

Sure, there are times when you do need to change your outer circumstances. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you might have to step away or create healthy boundaries. If you want to become an MD, and don’t have your degree, well you’re going to have to get back into school. If you want to be a surfer, and you live in North Dakota you’ll probably need to move.

Note: YOU do not need to change, it’s your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and your world that need to be updated. Changing your thoughts shifts your perspective, and your outer world will transform.

Think about what’s stressing you out the most right now.

Got it? Great, now decipher if it’s an inner or outer block that you’re struggling with. (If you’re not sure, I can help you out with that. Email me: rebecca@rebeccaniziol.com). Chances are it’s an inner block. If so, it’s time to make a small update in your thinking.

For example: If you’ve been stressing about not having enough time, you might be thinking things like, “Damn, I’m behind again” or “There’s never enough time in my day to get all this done.” What do you think happens when you have those thoughts? You become a victim to time. That causes feelings of overwhelm, frustration, and pressure. This probably does not help you accomplish everything you hope to.

Imagine if instead you thought: “I have all the time I need to accomplish what I want to today.” What a relief! You have all the time you need, fantastic! Now you can focus your energy on the tasks as hand, rather than worrying about what you’re not completing.

This is the “small change BIG shift” moment. Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. Transformation happens from the inside out.

Powerful results come from doing the inner work, and then connecting that to outer work (goals and strategies), which lead you towards what you want with flow and ease. Check back for next week’s article when I talk about how to align your two worlds. In the mean time, practice creating one small change BIG shift moment each day. Share your experiences in the comments below.

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.



    Thanks for the great article. I have been focusing so much on my terrible work situation i.e. a horrible boss, that it really starts to affect my inner world. I look forward to more articles to come, it really helps keeps things positive and going in the right direction when I feel myself starting to veer.


      Thanks Kim! Instead of focusing on the terrible work and horrible boss, what would you like to focus on in your career instead?


        Hi Rebecca,
        Thanks for the positive encouragement. Currently I am working as a design and production coordinator for a hat and accessories company. I enjoy what I do and have learned so much working for a small company. A lot of hands on experience, however it is time for me to move on and pursue new ventures The owner and the work environment is a constant battle for me. The way people are treated and spoken to is verbally abusive, unprofessional, and unethical. I need to work for a company and be in an environment that is professional and holds higher business practice standards. I hope to one day start my own company designing my own apparel and accessories, but in the meantime am focusing on being positive and continuing to network and see what else is out there. I am so glad I found careergirlnetwork as it has guided me with great articles like this.


          It sounds like you’re on the track to finding your next steps. Keep your focus on what you want (that company you are going to start!), and reach out to me if you need any support. Women in transitions are my specialty. 🙂


            Thanks Rebecca! I appreciate that very much.
            I Look forward to staying in contact with you. As I transition and navigate through my career.

    Baby Ganesh

    Great article, Rebecca! I love collective consciousness trends in my FB newsfeed and email articles. The moment after I read this article, I opened my weekly newsletter from BabyCenter (they give parenting tips and what to expect at what age etc.). And the theme this week was “Is Your Child Happy?” Basically it says that from babyhood on, regardless of all the wonderful things in his/her outer world (decorative mobiles, toys, plush this and that), their happiness comes from within! Here is a clip:

    “What makes children happy may surprise you. Child development experts who study the subject say that happiness isn’t something you can give a child like a prettily wrapped present. In fact, says Edward Hallowell, psychiatrist and author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, over-indulged children — whether showered with toys or shielded from emotional discomfort — are more likely to grow into teenagers who are bored, cynical, and joyless. “The best predictors of happiness are internal, not external,” says Hallowell, who stresses the importance of helping kids develop a set of inner tools they can rely on throughout life.” by Jill Storey

    The article then goes into how you can support your child’s way of processing feelings and view of challenges to help them cultivate their own happiness.

    Cool stuff! Thanks for sharing and coaching us all!!


      Love that BG! Jill Storey makes a great point. I’ll take it one further and say your children reflect what they see, they mirror your inner world. Even more reason to focus attention on what you want.


        Yes, indeed. Modelling a balanced and yes, happy\satisfied\content\joyful inner world and setting the example is huge. Being a new parent (with daily and nightly challenges) gives so much great opportunity to practice mindset shifts!! I’m getting better and better at it I think. And after shifting my perspective, sometimes, I nudge my body to follow because its still holding the stress or tension. And once I let go of that and I am 100% mind and body in the new idea, I feel and see an almost immediate positive change in my babe (especially when I am holding her). She relaxes when I relax. Simple. It’s cool to have such a mirror and such a great responsibility.


    Excellent. So true. My disconnect came to a head recently and it boiled down to me “loosing me”…drifting and losing focus on my inside. 11 days ago I started guided meditations 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at the end of the day. There is a calmness that now prevails inside of me and an assurance that all will be okay. I can tell meditation will become a cornerstone habit that will have a wonderful ripple effect on everything else in my life. The future looks good. Thank you for this insightful article.


      Hillary – WOW! What a powerful shift. Congratulations on getting back to you. Meditation can be the best anchor to peace inside us (it is my daily ritual). So happy to hear you’ve found this powerful practice. Keep it up 🙂

Leave a Response