Do you need to go through an identity crisis to reinvent yourself? Not really, no. Though I believe that in times of transition – both personal and professional – the call for change is inevitably loud giving no chance, but to look in the mirror and take bold action.
In conversation with friends, colleagues, clients, I often hear both sides of this pandemic’s aftermath. For some it has been the most frightening and negative experience, the source of panic as well as irreparable losses. They mourn this period as much as they mourn themselves. For others this has been a challenging, yet transformational journey leading to self-discovery and above all reinvention of oneself.
Opposite outlooks can always be found, I guess. Both carried with reasons and personal stories. Regardless of where your perspective lies, I ask you to see beyond the loss and the pain, beyond the despair and the fear. Choose to believe in human’s utmost resilience, their power to heal and reinvent themselves. Behind chaos and pain hides the opportunity for something new to be created, for someone new to rise.
Below are 4 strategies to help you stay true to yourself along whatever path you find while you reinvent yourself.
1. Play to your strengths: We talk about core values and strengths a lot. Because they both matter. Whatever you decide to do or wherever you want to go, there must be a thread connecting you to your overall goals. This vision – your mission – is fed from several sources. Your core values and your strengths are two of these main elements. They guide you even in moments of greater stress and self-doubt. When it comes to reinvent yourself, change and transition are inevitable. Not knowing what you value the most and where your talents lie can lead to further confusion and doubt. If your reinvention process is directly related to a new job or starting your own business, make sure you play to your strengths. In other words, plenty of this new project will likely require different skills, knowledge that you do not have yet. However, you have developed your own set of skills throughout your personal and professional experiences. Say you worked in sales before, then use this know-how when it comes to advertise your services and products. Or perhaps you were recently promoted to manager – you do not know a lot about managing people, but you are great at listening to others. Go ahead and use your listening skills to build a rapport with your team. Instead of focusing on what you do not know, play to your strengths.
2. Make yourself uncomfortable: Step outside your comfort zone is a must when it comes to reinventing yourself. How can you find out more about yourself and start something new, if you do not move from where you have been standing so far? It may feel overwhelming and even scary to take that first step into the unknown. One of the many ways to do that is to try out different things. Imagine that you want to change career paths, but you are not even sure if you would enjoy that new thing you want to do. Connect with friends, colleagues or other people from your network that are doing what you would like to do and talk to them openly about their experiences. Or you do not know at all where to start, you just have this strong gut feel that you no longer belong where you have been. Find people who have changed their careers to something completely different and are now a few steps forward in their reinvention journey. In general, people are quite open to share their stories and learnings which will contribute to your own reinvention process. This is valid from changing jobs to find a new hobby. Rather than playing it safe, open yourself to the endless opportunities that these small risks can lead you to.
3. Keep a reflection journal: Here we come again with the writing. I know it may seem a lot of work, especially after a long working day. Though you can do it 5 minutes each day and it will be already worth it. Truth is, it is hard to reinvent yourself if you have no clue what is going on inside you. We spent a great amount of time attending to non-priority tasks, including other people’s needs. At the end of the day, we feel physically and emotionally drained, turn on the TV or just fall asleep on the sofa. Next day, we are caught up in the same loop all over again and again and again. For change to happen, for you to reinvent yourself you have to create both physical and mental space. You have to let new thoughts flow, invite your creative side to the party. By writing down your thoughts, feelings, ideas on paper you are 1) releasing tension from what gets bottled up inside throughout the day, 2) getting to know yourself better, 3) tracking your progress and identifying areas for improvement, and 4) reminding yourself of what matters and therefore increasing your motivation and self-confidence. For reinventing yourself is a process and in order to succeed you must stay committed.
4. Keep learning: Reinventing is changing. Change means growing. Growth involves learning. Closing the door to growth would be the same as quit learning how to walk after falling down the first few times. When you step out of your comfort zone or try something you never did before, you are stretching yourself. You are allowing not only your brain to expand, but also your mind and spirit. There are a myriad of sources and resources available, plenty of ways to learn. Read books, research online, join new meetups, listen to podcasts, attend online courses, exchange within your network, journal about your experiences and learnings. Above all, do not be afraid to fail or fall behind. Reinventing yourself takes as much courage as it takes time. You will explore hidden parts of yourself, discover new identities and you will eventually find out what fits to your current needs and priorities.
Reinventing yourself does not mean becoming a whole new person with an utterly different life. In every transition or change, there is always a part of yourself that stays the same. A core that makes you who you are, standing up for your values and beliefs. It is indeed this core – I strongly believe – that enables you to reinvent yourself without losing your sense of self. These robustness and inner resilience keep you moving forward, growing and transforming into the best version of yourself.