Reinvention is an important trait to many of us who harbor an entrepreneurial spirit. What does reinvention mean? To me, reinvention is a process by which we renew ourselves to change our future. Reinvention requires a behavioral change and includes the process of self-discovery.
There is no secret to reinvention; the course of action is quite unique to each individual. If you daydream for a moment, you may catch a glimpse of the future you. Some may not notice any needed changes, but most of us will wonder how we can get there. You might say to yourself, “How can I meet that future me when my life is so crazy? I have too many demands on my time, and so many responsibilities and people who are counting on me throughout the day. How can I stop to visualize my future when I can barely get through today?”
Well, I am here to challenge you to begin your self-evaluation to see if you have what it takes to make the necessary changes towards your own reinvention. It will take effort, and you will need to be brutally honest when assessing yourself and accept the time it will take to achieve the reinvention you desire.
You may be wondering what I know about reinvention. Let me share with you one of my life-altering experiences as an example of how to turn it all around in the midst of absolute failure. I have heard the term reinvention used many times, usually in reference to someone whose Hollywood career has tanked and they needed to renew themselves to revive their career. But for most of us, this isn’t Hollywood and we are not afforded the same opportunities to reinvent ourselves. So, here’s my career story. I started working at 14. Coming from a single-parent household with a mother who had a difficult time supporting herself, I was forced to work at an early age. When I turned 17, I lied and said I was 18 to get a job as a teller at my local bank. I advanced and took every available opportunity that I was offered, moved into mortgage banking and by my early 30s was making a comfortable six-figure income.
In early 2000 I decided to make the jump to a commission-only position, which was scary. But I knew that I had the drive to continue to grow my business, and the mortgage industry was booming in Las Vegas. Over the next few years my business grew exponentially and my pay increased to a healthy quarter-of-a-million-dollar range. I owned several homes and a few businesses. I had boats, cars and a closet full of designer clothes. I was living the good life. I couldn’t believe that a girl from Illinois with only a high school diploma had come this far.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better—it didn’t. I know most of us remember what started to happen in 2006 when the real estate market came to a screeching halt and devastated so many—my family included. Interest rates rose to all-time highs, housing prices plummeted and the foreclosure madness began. My dream turned into a nightmare in the blink of an eye and I never even saw it coming.
I had hoped it was only a temporary setback and figured that I could ride it out for the short-term. This situation would surely rebound and everything would turn around, so I thought. I had been on this financial market rollercoaster plenty of times in my days and I had enough money saved and could live with less for a while.
Unfortunately the rollercoaster derailed, and its track back in the right direction is still under construction. After a few years I was forced to sell or give back everything I had. I was broke, had used all of my savings and didn’t even know how I was going to pay the rent. I was now in my early 40s with no real job experience, no college degree, and I was battered and slightly broken by what I had just been through. I wasn’t sure where to begin to rebuild.
As I hunted for new job options I wasn’t sure what I was even capable of doing. I had to reevaluate everything in my life to move forward. This experience changed me forever and put me on a path to a new and exciting opportunity. In 2009 I found my way to the promotional products industry. What I am about to share with you are some of the steps I took toward the future I envisioned for myself.
So, where do you start? Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”For a successful outcome you must start with a unique and individual plan to outline what you wish to achieve. Too often, we focus on the end gameand don’t necessarily understand or choose to take the steps that will get us there. It’s like planning to take a trip across the country and deciding if you should fly or drive. If you flew across the country, it would certainly take less time; however, you would miss out on all the adventures that are possible once you hit the road.
- Stop embracing the concept of immediate gratification and look toward the long-term pay-offs. Ask yourself, am I thriving or just surviving? You must get in sync with what you want. Start taking an account of what you envision for yourself. These are items you wish to move away from or move closer to. For example: I need to stop eating junk food and find the time for exercise. Add it to the list. It is simple and is the key to self-knowledge, which will help you account for the behaviors you want to transition toward. Start your transition by considering this quote from Robert Louis Stevenson: “Wherever we are, it is but a stage on the way to somewhere else, and whatever we do, however well we do it, it is only a preparation to do something else that shall be different.” What makes the difference is you. You are remarkable, unique and have the talent and ability to accomplish whatever you choose. Of course, I wouldn’t be a coach if I didn’t ask you to think about what truly matters to you. What will you regret not having done in life? Now is the time to stop making excuses and start taking action.
- Most of my clients tell me their biggest challenge to overcome is finding the time to make crucial changes happen. Why is this statement so common? I believe the answer may be avoidance, vulnerability and the fear of failure. No one enjoys those uncomfortable feelings; change can be a painful process. But, in the end, that pain is what propels us forward. In order to find the time you must learn to value the process and make it a priority in your life, even if it is only 15 minutes a day. Use those minutes toward your reinvention process. Get 15 minutes less sleep a day to get there, if necessary. Also, be sure to remain flexible and consistent in your efforts so that you can obtain more reliable results.
- Set realistic goals. Some goals may be achievable within weeks and others may take years to complete. Maybe a short-term goal is watching less television every week and a long-term goal is to finish your college degree. Take the time to break down your plan to incorporate the small actions that you can complete daily to achieve your goals. Do this by creating new positive and constructive habits to ultimately replace the old ones that you have been using. Set the timer on the TV to shut it off so that you can tend to other things. Visit a college counselor to find out the information you need to decide on time frames for your degree. Don’t forget to set yourself up for success by trying to control the external factors that take you away from your new daily goals.
We tend to devote so much time to our day’s events that we may ignore what is good for our futures.
- Always expect setbacks, and be honest with yourself about how long a new action may take. This is important to remember, because you don’t want to become frustrated early on and neglect your long-term goals. Let’s use the college example again for a moment. Sign up for only what you can handle. One class at a time is better than zero. It may not be possible to get a bachelor’s degree in four years. It may take six years instead. Try not to overestimate your own ability to achieve change and the continued effort it will take to add new behaviors. If you want to play the guitar, realize that it takes time to learn. You will need to purchase a guitar, learn to read notes, take lessons and practice to achieve the outcome you are expecting. You must continuously reassess your progress and keep track of all of your achievements, no matter how small. This will help you remain positive and motivated while working toward your goals.
- Develop a support system of family, friends and co-workers to keep you grounded and focused. These people should be willing to give you that needed push toward the finish line. If you want a promotion at work and know that you need to perform exceptionally well on your next project, enlist a coworker familiar with your needs to keep you on track. He or she can ask you questions and provide you with valuable feedback, support and motivation to complete the project on time with outstanding quality. Also, be ready for criticism. Being able to accept your shortcomings and failures is a priceless part of the future you. Lastly, working with a coach can be a wonderful experience, especially when you have doubts about how to get started on your own reinvention process. A coach will keep you accountable and can contribute valuable tools, knowledge and expertise to ensure you are able to become more future-focused and achieve the life satisfaction for which you are searching.
Coaching helped me begin a successful career in the promotional products industry, finish two college degrees and become a certified coach myself so that I can continue to give back to others who seek direction toward their ideal life.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” –Henry David Thoreau
I am confident in my belief that you can achieve the success you desire. I wish you well while navigating your own path to reinvention.
Michelle Gulli, CPC, CAS, BASI, is a certified personal coach with a degree in psychology. She has more than 25 years of sales experience. She has been involved with the promotional products industry since 2009 and her focus is on future-based behavior. Gulli uses her ability to influence and drive others to the lives they desire. Find more information at www.discoverreinvention.com and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.