From someone who has reinvented herself many times, I will tell you that reinvention isn’t an overnight process.
If you are looking for some sort of a miracle, you can always go to Lourdes. But for the rest of us, the truth is that it involves a non-lineal process in which you’ll need to shift your mind, roll up your sleeves and take action.
Here are 7 steps to reinvent yourself:
Recognize where you’re starting.
Surrender to the current moment. When you start a new path, it’s easy to look back and think that the past, even if not enjoyable, was at least more comfortable.
Don’t look back. Your goal should be to be the best you can at any moment.
Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You, names some questions that will lead you to know where you stand.
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What are your most remarkable skills?
- What are your most unusual aspects of your background or experiences?
- What do people ask me?
Research your destination.
Now that you have a better grasp of your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to move forward and see what’s next.
Sometimes you know what would love to do, but others your page is blank. It’s important to gather new insights to manifest your destination. Ask yourself:
- What are the areas that intrigue me professionally?
- Where can I get the information to learn more about the areas of interest?
- Who are the people that I know that are connected to that area?
- What are the skills that I need to reach my professional objective?
- What are the ways to gain those skills?
Test-drive your path.
As entrepreneurship runs in my veins, I am an advocate for testing yourself.
Before spending your time and money on the infrastructure, the stationary, or hiring people, care about one thing: build a product or a service that people want.
Once you have it, go get your first client, and perhaps do it for free.
How does it feel?
Don’t underestimate getting feedback. As Michael J. Mauboussin says in Think Twice, “One of the best ways to improve decision making is through timely, accurate, and clear feedback. This type of feedback is central to deliberate practice, the essential ingredient in developing expertise.”
Develop the skills you need.
Most likely, you’ll have some abilities acquired from your life and professional experience that you can apply in the new area. But there are (a lot of) stuff that you should learn from scratch.
Don’t be lazy. Roll over your sleeves and educate yourself.
Meet your mentor.
Success is easier to attain when you’ve received advice and guidance from a mentor, writes Dixie Gillaspie, author of Just Blow it up. But,
- Don’t deify your mentor. They are humans, not gods. Find the right level of respect without workshiping the ground they walk on.
- Accept guidance, not direction. Just because your mentor found success doing X, Y, and Z doesn’t mean you need to put yourself on the same course. What you’re looking for is advice, not a rubric.
- Don’t imitate. Gillaspi says you shouldn’t strive to be anyone’s Mini-Me. A good mentor invests in the real you. Don’t change your actions and behaviors in an ill-advised attempt to gain favor.
Said that, books are great mentors too. I could name many books that transformed my thinking with their stories, ideas and actions.
The following are some of the benefits you can get by reading a book:
- You can get a better sense if the picked field is for you.
- You can get knowledgeable about terminology in that field.
- You can use the information to start social interaction.
- You can always ask better questions about your goals.
Build your narrative and leverage your points of difference.
You’ve already identified where you want to go but that won’t do much if the world can’t see it.
Understand what’s unique about you, so you can covey that memorably to others.
Reintroduce yourself and prove yourself by delivering remarkable work.
Finish your thing, polish it and ship it.
As Seth Godin says in Purple Cow, create remarkable products that the right people seek out. He makes it clear that it’s safer to be risky—to fortify your desire to do truly amazing things. Once you see that the old ways have nowhere to go but down, it becomes even more imperative to create things worth talking about.
Create remarkable things, yet don’t dwell on making it perfect. Perfection calls for stagnation.
Once you’ve already delivered it, then, you can do that process again, but louder.
Take the plunge. Be proud of yourself.