The concept of re-inventing oneself seems bizarre and yet many of us are not happy with where we seem to be in life. Did we choose to be here or did we land here due to our circumstances? There is a saying that goes ‘today, you are exactly where you have chosen to be’. These choices are most likely the sum of all the conscious and unconscious decisions we have made. So the key to living, and then also in the possibility of re-inventing ourselves, must lie in the choices we make and more importantly, the intentional choices we are going to make.
Perhaps the biggest misconception of reinvention is that we have to do a complete change. For some of us that may be possible, but I believe that it’s often better to build upon what we already know. Simplified, you could say it would be focusing on our strengths (some may have not been discovered yet) and forgetting our weaknesses.
Where are we now? It is important to try to understand where we are now, and what we have accomplished so far. Once we know what works we can start building on those successes, we can make better choices and go intentionally in the direction of our dreams.
Take a close look at your life and reflect, makes notes, perhaps dream a little. Once you have done this, ask as many of your friends, enemies and colleagues as possible to give you a glimpse of how they perceive you. Be open minded when they respond, and allow them to tell you things without interrupting them. You will be amazed what people tell you when you give them a chance. Be prepared for the truth however, and don’t get offended by the things they say and sometimes don’t say. The objective is to get as much information as possible so that you can make the best decisions for your re-invention process.
What are you doing already? From this introspection and feedback from others, what have you discovered about your success? In which areas of your life do people see you as successful, and which of these successes can be used in your reinvention plan?
Some examples of success that can be built on in your reinvention plan are:
- You may be great a writing reports and find you have a desire to write more, perhaps write the book that you never thought was possible.
- You may be a great parent whose children have left the nest and you have a desire to volunteer and make a difference.
- You could have a hobby like woodwork that would be beneficial in starting a handyman type of business.
- You may be a computer engineer who discovers that you have a real gift with people and you may want to become a life coach.
- You may be an accomplished businessman and you would like to help startups and entrepreneurs succeed.
- You may want to relocate to a different country, learn a new language and continuously explore.
- You may be happy with where you are and you make a decision to show gratitude daily for this fact.
You may also decide to change direction but whatever decision you make, you need to know you have made a conscious choice. You are accountable for these decisions, not to anyone but yourself, this is your life and only you can live it.
We live in a constantly changing world and perhaps we need to consider re-inventing or even checking ourselves more often. Life is short, so perhaps our re-invention plan should be no longer than 3 years.
There are 7 levers that are available when we search to re-invent ourselves, they are:
- Connect – Our network determines our net worth, so continuously connect and make friends and acquaintances. You can never have too many friends. Try to connect with people who are more successful and less successful, they all have a story that they can share with you, It is these stories that make us more colorful and help us to connect with others.
- Be Generous – Give more than you receive and you will always be happy. Don’t always think of material things but rather the difference you can make in the lives of others. Remember for many people who have everything, a smile may be all they need. Smiling goes a long way – give people your smile!
- Be Artistic – Expressing yourself artistically opens the creative side of your brain, so whether you like painting, taking photos, modeling with clay or anything that will cause you to start thinking about being creative, do it. Writing is another way of being creative, so find something that works for you. Remember that exercise also assists in our creativity so make sure you stay active.
- Laugh – When last did you really laugh? Stop being so serious and start laughing, find friends who make you laugh and remember to laugh at yourself. Laughing uses more facial muscles than any other activity, so by laughing you will also look younger.
- Take Risks – In the rapidly changing world it is only those who are different that get noticed. Think about it, if you are the same as everyone else why should people notice you? You need to stick your neck out and do things first, this increases your chances of success. The only time that you can say that you have re-invented yourself is when you know you are doing things differently.
- Fail – Never be scared to fail, failure is part of the journey. If you never fail you will never know what works. Sometimes we make a promise to ourselves to do something or to be different and we don’t do it, then we judge ourselves as failing. The process of re-invention is all about failure, after all it was failure in one way or another that got you thinking about re-inventing yourself.
- Learn – the more we learn, the more we realise how little we know. But it is often not more knowledge that needs to be acquired but rather unlearning the things we really don’t need, like bad habits and beliefs that do not help us on the road to success. The unlearning process is a major factor in re-inventing ourselves. Ask yourself “what do I believe about myself that might not be true?”
Challenge yourself and stretch your own thinking. I have a saying ‘Don’t look for the ideas that will confirm your thinking, rather look for the trends that will disrupt your thoughts.’ Be the best self you can be, you deserve to reach your highest potential!