I am never the same as I was the previous year. The world is ever changing, life is ever changing and if you don’t learn to keep it moving, you will get left behind.
Over the years, my career and business(es) have gone through numerous changes. Some self imposed, some due to circumstances out of my control. But the common theme was how I managed the change each time. Every year, people make resolutions and vow to make these changes in their lives, big or small. By the time March rolls in, those vows are dusty somewhere in the recesses of their minds, hiding from daylight. I’m not sure if it can be attributed to laziness, lack of motivation or plain fear. But nonetheless, that gusto we came into the year with vanishes. I do things slightly different when it comes to my career and business(es). While I do make my annual December 31st pledges, those are more for personal development. I like to sit down every quarter an see what I have done, what I need to do, and what I’d like to try going forward. By doing this exercise quarterly, I can ensure I don’t get stale.
It’s often hard to get people to reinvent themselves because they often don’t want to look inside themselves and do a thorough examination for fear of what they’ll find. We all have things about our careers, business, etc that we want to change, goals we’d like to accomplish, bold steps we would love to take. But sometimes it falls to the side as life is happening. It has happened to me…yes, I’m not above it. True reinvention requires a number of things, but most importantly, a vision of who YOU think you are and who you want to become is crucial. It is a reflection of who and where you are now, and what you are willing to do to get there. Reinvention begins with a hard lined assessment of what you’ve done to this point and what you need to do to continue on your journey.
I have great news for you. You CAN write your own script! There is no rule that says you can’t shake things up. Change is inevitable, and if you are not open to change, you cannot learn and grow to become that woman you want to be. If you are unwilling to change things every now and then, you are destined to remain in a paycheck to paycheck JOB that makes you unhappy and unfulfilled.
So how do you reinvent yourself? Take tips from the Queen of Reinvention.
- Write your vision. Who do you see yourself being in 5-10 years? Where do you see yourself? Note I didn’t ask what career path are you on at work. Despite the best laid plans, things (LIFE) happens. Just close your eyes and let go. On this day in 10 years, where do you see yourself?
- Write some letters. I want you to write 3 letters. The first one is a letter from the You of today, writing to the You of 10 years ago. What will you tell yourself? What will you warn about or against? What words of wisdom would you give the young you. The next letter is a letter from the you of today to the you of 10 years from now. You’ve imagined that place and time, now think of what you will ask yourself in this letter to help you get there. Be honest and candid. The final letter is a letter from you 10 years from now, advising the you of today. Trust me, this exercise puts a whole lot into perspective!
- Research role models. Pick 3 people who are living in the life or career you want. Study them, gather articles, get as much information on them as possible. Create a folder for each. Dedicate time to building this folder and tracking their successes. When you are comfortable doing so, reach out to them. By the time you do, you will be familiar with their careers and have formulated some very relevant questions you can ask them.
- Make changes in your life. I’m not saying go out and get a BMW! Change your wardrobe and hairstyle to be more in line with the person you want to be. Now, don’t go dying your hair platinum or blue! Look for models of success and use them as benchmarks. Loose weight (or gain if that pertains to you). Get healthy however you need to. A healthy you is a happy you. Look the part. Whether getting a new briefcase or new glasses (or contacts), it’s still a change.
- Upgrade your resume. Don’t fudge it! Take courses, earn certifications, volunteer, get involved. Take on projects that will allow you to noticeably contribute and stand out from your peers. Continuously seek the creative or competitive advantage. Remember that there are 5 competitive advantages: more, better, faster, different and cheaper. Brainstorm ways you can deliver any of these advantages to your boss, department, team or company. The value of this strategy is when you seek to improve, you’re being proactive and the ball is in your court. You are in control.
- Surround yourself with forward thinking people who are smarter than you. There’s a lot to be said about the company you keep. Surrounding yourself with these types of people, it makes you want to be better do better. Don’t waste your time with people who are resistant to change or don’t want to change themselves. That only slows you down. You are known by the company you keep and if you keep stellar company, the opportunities will come your way. You can’t help but to continue reinventing and perfecting yourself.
- Get used to living outside your comfort zone. Again, flexibility and adaptation to change are strong assets in this job market. The willingness to change with the times, meet new people, assert yourself and learn new things gives you that competitive advantage.
- Step out on faith and keep it moving. Trust that your higher power will bring you through. Trust in yourself that you have what it takes. The key is not to overthink or panic if things don’t immediately work the way you plan. Remember, sometimes it is in the stars to change course. How you react to it and manage it determines success.
- Realize that Entrepreneurship may be the next step in progression. There is such a thing as maxing out your career. Maybe you’ve gone as high as you can in a company or career path. Investigate opportunities that will allow you to strike out on your own.
So what are you waiting for? Get moving to reinvent yourself today. Life is so much more fun when you mix it up ever so often.
Til next time.