Whether by choice or circumstance, many of us will face a daunting, exciting, scary, inspiring, dreaded, freeing moment in our lives when we realise we must reinvent ourselves.
Too often lately this moment has come upon people through circumstance: retrenchment, a failed business, industry upheaval. For others, it happens when they just can’t take their current circumstances anymore: being held back, toxic work environment, uninspiring work. And for many people, it is the pursuit of purpose: a sense there is something more you are meant to do, be, create, deliver.
Whether you are excited about your journey of reinvention, or resentful that you have found yourself on its path, here are the 5 tools that will smooth and speed your journey.
Give 95% of your attention to the present - yes, reinvention is about your future, but it doesn’t mean you should spend all your time thinking about that. The opportunities that will take you there (wherever there is) are all happening now, in the present. Unfortunately during times of uncertainty, your brain prefers to spend 95% of its time in the past or the future, which is why many people experience inertia on the reinvention road. So turn this ratio around and watch your momentum build.
Uncover your purpose – it’s too easy to slip back into something that looks like what you’ve done before, but this is a great opportunity to start doing something that you love. Living with purpose creates powerful emotions because it lights up a different part of the brain to money, ego, status or survival. When you feel like your day’s activities were just a series of meaningless tasks, the reward centres of your brain remain silent. But when it feels like you’ve really made a difference in your own unique way, it’s bells and whistles! Ask yourself what lights you up, when do you experience true fulfilment and satisfaction, what just happened when you get the glow of completeness?
Employ your strengths every day – very few people actually do this. Your brain is a sucker for focusing on what’s going wrong, so its easy to spend more time worrying about perceived “weaknesses” than cultivating your strengths. But that will just undermine your confidence. Yes, this journey of reinvention is a great chance to learn something new and improve yourself, but you should always build on a strong foundation. So employ your strengths at least once every day, and watch your confidence grow.
Cultivate mindsets that make you move – what you focus on grows. When you give your attention to patterns of thinking that motivate you, you are more likely to act. When you dwell on reasons why something is daunting, you’re likely to withdraw, because your body follows your brain. Look at the difference between these 2 mindsets: “Failure should be avoided.” vs “Failure offers great learning opportunities.” Which mindset is more likely to result in you taking a chance and pushing yourself into new territory?
Expose yourself! – thoughts, intentions, emotions and actions are contagious. If you surround yourself with people who are scared, negative or disinterested, you will struggle to find the motivation and energy to make the most of your journey. Reinventing yourself is easy if you feed off other people’s enthusiasm, ideas, encouragement, support, experience, focus, and confidence. Expose yourself to the sorts of people, books, movies, environments that represent the things you want to grow.
In truth, life is a constant journey of reinvention. You and your brain will be different tomorrow, and the day after. We are all living, growing, adapting creatures, and the more you focus on the 5 tools above, the more you will enjoy every step on the reinvention road, this journey called life.