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If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door.
I love that line! The source is lost in time but it’s a simple but profound statement.
There are a lot of doors leading to different “rooms” in our lives. To different jobs and living situations. We step through familiar doors every day when we come home to exactly what was there yesterday and the day before. And if that brings you joy, then you are in the right place.
Sometimes though, life forces change when other people’s choices impact your life, or when people leave. Or you go through your day, not recognizing your place in it anymore.
You don’t need someone to tell you that something needs to change.
You know that. You know it in your gut.
It whispers in your ear throughout the day. “I just can’t keep going on this way.”
You’re adrift. Your definition of yourself, your sense of purpose, seems to have evaporated. You’re putting one foot in front of the other and doing the things that need to be done, but there is no joy in it.
Something has to give.
It’s time to reinvent yourself.
What is reinvention?
In the simplest terms, reinvention is change.
Changing the way you behave or the things that you do, so that people think of you differently.
Famous people frequently reinvent themselves to be more “with it” and appeal to their audience.
Retirees reinvent themselves when they are freed from the 9-to-5 by embarking on travels, volunteering, or starting small businesses.
Reinvention is letting go of things that are currently holding you back. Letting go of habits, routines, roles and responsibilities that are keeping you from being your best self.
Changing the direction of your life by making new choices and expanding your options and opportunities.
Reinvention is life redefined.
Reinventing yourself means to stop living behind the image your project and that other people expect of you, and to instead realign things so that who you truly are is what you show the world. If how you dress, how you decorate your home, what kind of job you have, and anything else in your life is not who you really are, you are going to change it.
It’s being true to yourself, not pretending to be something you’re not.
What reinvention is not!
Reinvention is not getting a facelift, though it can be part of it if you want to make changes to your body as part of what you see as a fresh overall start.
Reinvention is not a quick fix.
Reinvention is transformative and affects your physical, emotional, professional and spiritual identity as well as your relationships. You have to dig deep and be very clear about what you want to happen and the steps you’ll have to get there.
The very best reinvention comes from pursuing our dreams.
The change you want for your life will transform you in deeper ways than you might even realize. When you live your dream, you will have worked on yourself in profound ways to achieve it.
So how do you go about reinventing yourself
1. Be Authentic
You can’t grow if you’re not true to yourself. You should dream big, but dreams are achievable only when they align with your passion and your talents. It’s a tough pill to swallow but there can only be one Beyonce.
If you are an aspiring artist putting together a portfolio of work, being authentic means it’s original, fresh and 100% you. Anything else is derivative and anyone knowledgeable in the field will know it. BE YOU.
2. Stop making excuses.
There will always be reasons holding you back from making changes. But they’re all excuses. Your mind wants things to stay the same, for life to be predictable and safe. It’s your imagination that’s forging ahead with reinvention.
Don’t make excuses to keep you from making the changes that will make your life better.
3. Let go of negative feelings about your current situation.
We usually decide to reinvent ourselves because we’re forced to. The loss of a job, the end of a marriage, health concerns … Reinvention starts at the same place. Zero. Every step forward you take will bring you closer to where you want to be.
But don’t waste time being angry or upset about your life as it is now. Accept that this is where you are and focus only on the positive changes ahead. Doing anything else dilutes your efforts.
RELATED: The Pity Party Is Over!
4. Do something that scares you.
Ruth Soukup from Living Well Spending Less tells her blogging students to “Do it scared.” That advice is about overcoming the fearful voice inside you that tells you to keep your head down and not take risks.
You can be scared. That’s normal. But do it anyway. Do it scared.
5. Have a crystal clear vision.
When you dream about making big changes to your life, do you see the details? If you want to write a book, is your dream of deluged by fans at a book signing or do you also see yourself pounding away at your computer at 6 in the morning, still in your pajamas and a cold cup of coffee to your side?
You need to have a clear vision of the process and the end result of your reinvention or your dream will be derailed before you start.
6. Embrace a never-give-up attitude.
You will have setbacks and failures. You might have to make adjustments and changes to your plan. These are all part of learning what works for you. But you can’t let these setbacks make you give up.
Having a mindset that you are not going to give up, no matter how many detours and adjustments might come along, is what will carry you over the finish line.
7. Get out of your comfort zone.
Reinventing yourself is all about getting out of the same-old, same-old. So don’t let discomfort at being pushed out of your comfort zone stop you from moving forward.
Breaking out of your safe shell leads to new experiences, new people and new knowledge – about your goal and about yourself.
8. Stop listening to the doubters in your life.
That includes the little negative voice in your head.
People who mean well will tell you that you’re foolish or wrong for pursuing a new definition of your life when “you already have everything.”
You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone for doing what’s right for you. It’s your life and your decisions.
9. Believe in yourself.
Listen, I know that’s hard sometimes!
You need to be your own best fan. To believe absolutely in your goal and, even more importantly, in your ability to reach it.
You can write affirmations and seek out people who will tell you that you’re awesome, but if you don’t believe it yourself, you’re going to have a very hard time staying the course.
Find ways to enhance your knowledge about your goal. There are so many resources available. Books, influencers on social media, workshops, webinars … knowledge is everywhere.
Become a student at the University of You. The more you learn, the faster you’ll reach your goals.
11. Find a mentor
A mentor is anyone that can guide you along the way. A mentor can be an actual person who has already achieved what you are trying to do (or at least is further along the way). When you meet someone like this, approach them honestly with your plans and ask if they might be willing to meet with you to discuss them. Be respectful of their time and what they are willing or not willing to do.
A mentor can also be someone you have not actually met. An author whose books really resonate with you, a personal coach, people in the media, a blogger or writer whose words have the power to reach inside you.
You can network with people all over the world. If you live in a small city and influencers or people who are succeeding at what you want to do are based in larger cities, follow them online. Network with them, connect on Facebook and other social media. Don’t pepper them with questions, but use the opportunities to respond to their tweets and posts in a thoughtful way. You’d be surprised how many people will respond.
12. Observe and “Mirror” your mentor.
To understand what a mentor can teach you, study them. And not in a creepy Single White Female way. To know how the person you are trying to emulate became that way, you need to understand them better.
- What is their background?
- What qualities do you admire about them?
- Do they project confidence and knowledge in their mannerisms and in the way they dress?
Mirroring is something we do subconsciously in social situations. You respond to the body language of people around you and “mirror” their nonverbal signals. We do it instinctively – we smile back at people who smile at us, we frown sympathetically as someone tells a sad story, mirroring their own frown and emotion.
When you mirror an indirect mentor, such as a famous person, you do it consciously and deliberately.
Do you want to be the next Steve Jobs? If you read up on him, you’ll have discovered that his wardrobe of jeans and black turtleneck sweaters was a very deliberate decision. By always wearing the same clothes, he freed himself from choice and focused his considerable attention even more on the decisions that advanced his company.
Maya Angelou was unwavering in separating her home and work life. For years, she rented a plain hotel room and kept strict writing hours there, returning home in the afternoon, her work day complete. Is your home environment difficult to focus in? Adopt Ms. Angelou’s habit and work instead in a coffee shop, in the backyard, or even in your car?
13. Be a role model
You don’t have to be an acknowledged expert to be a role model for someone else who is reinventing themselves. You only have to know more than the other person.
By being a role model, you’re not only passing along your help. The best way to reinforce new knowledge is by teaching it.
Be someone else’s mentor and help each other up towards your goals.
14. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Experimentation will help you figure out what won’t work for you and guide you towards what will.
Don’t be afraid to try and then discard a method or tool. What’s right for someone else might not be what works for you.
Enjoy the process and try new things.
15. Be honest with yourself.
Never lie to yourself and refuse to take responsibility for what might be going wrong.
Your honesty will get you back on your feet more quickly.
Failures are inevitable but failures are also learning tools if you are honest with yourself.
Own your failures because then you can own your successes.
You only have one life but you can reinvent yourself as many times as you like.
So don’t just sit there, doubting yourself and afraid to upset the apple cart.
What do you want to be next?