I don’t know the number of times I had to reinvent myself over the years and always for different reasons. Reinvention is usually driven by a few prominent emotions: boredom, restlessness, dissatisfaction, even fear. Sometimes reinvention rises out of personal chaos.
The first reinvention that I was aware of happened when I caused a DUI when I was 23. I realized that I was heading down the path I didn’t want to walk on i.e. I didn’t want to be like my parents and that is exactly what I was doing. And I had to face some cold hard truth about myself.
But I think the most profound and yes life changing reinvention happened when my son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, I became a special needs parent and I was sick and tired of the life I was living – except I didn’t know this until after my son was well on his way towards his recovery. During the 3 years I was fighting to keep him alive and simply just going with the motions of what was going on but when I came out of the other side, I didn’t know who I was but what I did know was that the way I lived before was no longer acceptable.
And here’s what I learned since then: We are always reinventing ourselves sometimes we just happen to be more aware than at other times.
Proactive Reinvention: Purposefully Forging A New You
Proactive reinvention can be the toughest to experience because we are in that safe and comfortable space.
Major life changes aren’t immediately required. We might even be able to keep on coasting just as we are, but that’s not a satisfying place for us anymore. Even though reinvention can be scary, we still have the desire to do it because seems better than where we are.
Maybe we’re simply tired and unfulfilled in our lives, our work, or our relationships. Proactive reinvention is not urgent in most cases but allows space for you to be deliberate in your choices.
Ask Yourself “What do I need in my life now? What do I want? What’s missing?”
To answer this question, we must dig deep dig deep, and it’s not a quick process in most cases. Proactive reinvention tends to arise out of a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration about where we are in life or even who we are. We may only know that we want something different.
The challenge here is that you may judge or criticize yourself too harshly. When this happens to me, and it does, I simply remind myself that this life is a journey and that perspective has helped me out of a downward spiral numerous times.
Identify Your Loves and Passions
- What do you value?
- What gets your engine running?
- If you could make a living at a hobby, what would it be?
Getting a handle on what you enjoy and what you love to do, how you love to feel, and whom you love to be around lets you set some big, broad goals. In all cases and steps of reinvention, ask yourself questions like:
- How can I make my passions a way of life?
- How can my loves and passions help me stay financially sound?
- Do I have any support to make the changes to become congruent with my passions?
Sit with this. Spend time dreaming and writing about it and don’t stop until you have nothing else to say about the matter!
Explore Your Immediate Options
Immediate options generally include things like your skill set, your finances, your contacts and social links in life. These can be springboards to the new you. Think of these as assets you already must dedicate to your renewal.
Get a teacher, mentor or sounding board
If you’ve got a general idea of what you want to do, you can start homing in on sources of information and expertise. Those sources can be people who are knowledgeable or experience with the subject matter, profession, hobby, whatever it is that’s appealing to you. If you know you want to reinvent yourself, but haven’t got a lock on a destination yet, there’s no worry. Many people go through the renewal process without any hint of a fixed destination or end-point in mind when they start off.
That said, it’s good to have someone around who can give you ideas, feedback, and support that’s related to your journey. And this is what I offer you in the Rebel Spark Collective.
Consider the Unknown
The unknown is scary, but it can also lead to some great discoveries. There are two big sources of it, too. There’s the unknown out there in the world external to us, and the unknown inside you.
When you change your life, there’s bound to be internal changes that you didn’t plan for. If planning were all it took to reinvent one’s life, it’d be much simpler. And we’d experience less heartache and heartbreak.
Let the possibility of change flourish in you. If you try hard to hang on to everything that you’ve got now, that you are now, nothing will change.
Learn to live with fear while always going forward
Reinvention requires embracing uncertainty. It means getting comfortable with discomfort. Doing new things, trying new ways to be is scary! Allowing fear to stop us from changing is always the biggest block to proactive reinvention.
Always. Unlike reactive reinvention, when you must make big changes or face even worse situations than self-renewal, proactive reinvention seems optional when we get scared, so we have the option to retreat into safety. Safety is great. However, clinging to the safety of the familiar ensures you will never reinvent yourself.
Something that was shared with me about how people view me is that I am fearless, which is probably accurate but I didn’t always see it this way. But I’ve come to see the benefits of growing up in foster care and then getting on an airplane at 18 without knowing a thing about where I was going.
But I do understand fear and that it is necessary for us to push through because stepping into who we want to become requires living with fear.
Consider as an example the situation of leaving one career for another, more ideal career. Common wisdom says you must have another job before leaving your current job.
That wisdom in this situation kills any chance of getting that ideal job. It’s very hard, maybe impossible, to prepare for a completely new profession while working a full-time job.
Making a jump from the known into the unknown safely, with no risks, doesn’t happen. There is always some element of risk. Learning to live with risk in order to get something you dearly want is one of the biggest rewards of reinventing yourself.
So are you ready to say yes to reinventing yourself? Ready to say yes to you?