Has your career ever felt like a dead-end road? Are you missing passion and inspiration in your work? Have you ever wanted to reinvent yourself into the person you always wanted to be but don’t know where to start? Me too. This post is for you.
Life has a way of throwing a few curve balls our way to keep us on our toes. One got thrown my way in June of 2016 when I got laid off my job during an organizational restructure. I had dedicated almost twenty years of my professional career to this company so the news of my position being eliminated stung, to say the least. My initial reaction was led by my bruised ego. Are they crazy? How can they not see the value I continue to bring to the organization after all these years?
Fortunately, I didn’t remain in this frame of mind long because I knew the truth had nothing to do with me or my performance. Businesses are constantly forced to change to stay ahead of the competition and the truth was the company was making necessary organizational changes to align itself for the future. It was nothing personal and it had nothing to do with my performance so I was given sixty days to find another position within the company.
I was at an interesting crossroads where I had to decide whether to go back to what I knew and was familiar with or to do something completely new and different. The problem was I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. The following day I called one of my mentors and told him what happened and shared my dilemma. He gave me some wonderful advice that I credit my successful transition to my career as a writer. In that phone conversation, my mentor, Pat, encouraged me to take a couple of weeks (or longer if I could afford it), to really think about what I WANTED to do for work. He cautioned me not to feel panicked because this could lead to poor decisions regarding my next career move. “Don’t just jump at any job offer you’re given. Be intentional in seeking out the work you want to do and will invest your heart and soul into. Maybe this is your chance to reinvent yourself, to chase new dreams?”
Wow, maybe he’s right, I thought to myself. So, I followed the advice Pat gave me and I ultimately determined I could not go back to my previous company because my personal values no longer aligned with the organization’s values and actions – this gap would make it difficult for me to do fulfilling work that I could be proud of. After a month of solitude and soul-searching, I made the decision to step out into the wild unknown and chase my dream of writing and starting my own blog. It’s been the wildest, scariest, most fun and rewarding ride ever!
7 Steps to Reinventing Yourself:
Reinventing yourself can seem like a daunting task but this 7 step process breaks it down into bite-sized chunks that will help you stay focused and progress forward as you transition into the new you:
- Don’t Panic. This step is important especially if you are in a situation where you are forced to reinvent yourself like I was. Panic lends itself to a feeling of desperation and desperation can lead to poor decisions. So remain calm and know that this too shall pass. Prayer, meditation, and yoga can help you stay grounded as you make your transition. Focus your time and energy on the remaining steps.
- Make a list of your values and beliefs. This will ensure you are very clear on the things that matter most to you and it will help direct your new career towards work that aligns with your personal values. You might be surprised by some that make the list so it’s important to give this some serious consideration and then write them down. When you are looking at potential employers, make sure your values align with those of the organization. If they don’t, keep searching until you find a match, otherwise you might find it hard to fully invest in the work. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with your beliefs since these can positively or negatively impact your ability to make the transformation. Michael Hyatt has a phenomenal video on Limiting Beliefs and how they can steal your motivation for change. An example of a limiting belief is: I’m too old to get hired somewhere else or learn new skills. Michael encourages that any limiting beliefs be rewritten as “Enabling Beliefs” where the example above would become: I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to bring to the table and I can develop any new skills necessary for the role. Familiarize yourself with your beliefs and rewrite if necessary to create the proper mindset for change.
- Write your “Be Statement”. In Darren L. Johnson’s book, Letting Go of Stuff: Powerful Secrets to Simplify Your Life, he describes a “Be Statement” as your future vision of yourself that serves as your blueprint for the person are trying to become. Write 3 to 5 statements in the present tense of who you want to be that you can use as your positive internal conversation. An example from my own “Be Statement”: “I am a creative person who enjoys connecting with others through my writing and theatrical performances.” Read your Be Statements daily to reinforce your mindset for change.
- Set your goals using the SMART method. Write down a list of your goals. Make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Break each goal down into a list of actions that will help you achieve the goal. This list of goals and actions will become your roadmap to the new you so be ready to refer back to it often.
- Make a plan for learning new skills. Determine if there are critical skills you will need that you don’t currently have and make a plan for how you are going to learn them. With the prevalence of online learning sites like Udemy, you can learn just about any new skill you will need. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel like you have all the skills necessary. Just make a plan and enjoy learning something new.
- Track your progress and celebrate the wins. As you move through reinventing yourself, there will inevitably be some ups and downs, but stay focused on the end goal and keep moving forward. Every step forward is a step in the right direction. Track your progress against your goals and don’t forget to celebrate even the smallest of wins. It’s important to incentivize yourself along the way because it validates your vision and keeps you motivated when times are hard.
- Establish a subject matter expert as a mentor. Find someone who is really great at what you want to do because you’ll need a mentor along the way to help you traverse through the jungle of the unknown. You don’t have to actually know this person so think outside the box on this one. It can be someone that you follow online or through social media. Maybe it’s a podcast or YouTube video series that you follow. Whatever it is you want to do, there is the perfect mentor out there to help guide you through difficult times.
Following the process outlined above helped me reinvent myself and my career. If I can do it, I know you can too. Wishing you all the best on this journey as I know how rewarding it is to become the person you were always meant to be.
“To reinvent yourself, you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.” – Alan Alda, Actor, Director, Writer