Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh and reinvent yourself.Mireille Guilliano, French Author
Like so many others in the world, I was recently furloughed from a job I loved, a job I thought I’d continue to enjoy for years to come. When you get that kind of news, it’s a lightning bolt to your system…followed by waves of emotions. Then, you worry about the mortgage and the bills. You watch the cataclysmic unfolding of the meetings, event, travel and hospitality industries–and all other associated industries. And that’s when you begin to wonder what you’re going to do next. At least that’s what happened for me.
I worked as a meeting and event planner in various capacities for nearly all of my adult life. In some ways, it’s all I know. So, once the rumbles subsided from the shell-shock of the furlough news, I instinctively knew I needed to reinvent myself. And I looked forward to it in some ways. All the possibilities and potential self-exploration began to offset the fear of the blank canvas.
I was keenly aware that the industry that raised me and taught me everything I knew wouldn’t be the same for a long time, if ever. I reckon that a lot of others are in a similar position, regardless of the circumstances that brought us to this realization.
Reinventing oneself is a familiar concept. We all face it at one point or another, usually during long stares in the bathroom mirror. We ponder this notion, this mystery: ourselves.
- Am I happy with my career?
- My relationship?
- My choices?
- My SELF?
One might assume the majority of people would say no. And do the majority of those people believe they can reinvent themselves given the chance? Again, probably no.
As the coronavirus halts the world, we face a crucial decision now more than ever: Do we stay? Or do we shift? As Gail Sheehy once said, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” The trajectory of our lives is contingent upon our fluidity.
Regardless of your current circumstances of employment, the coronavirus has changed the world. For better or for worse, life will simply never be the same. So, we must adapt. Change. Learn. Relearn. Transform. Reinvent. Be open.
Here are four ways you may find helpful when trying to reinvent yourself.
Develop an Idea, a Solution, a Path.
What do you want to do? Start an at-home business you always dreamed of? Or learn a new computer software skill? Whatever your flavor, it is time to address it. The first step is to develop ideas, solutions, or pathways to your reinvention.
People all around the world are looking for an outlet, so if you have a business idea, a podcast, or want to start a new hobby, doing so during a crisis is the perfect time to begin.
And it’s totally okay to have a lot of balls bouncing at the same time. Exploring and actually working through several ideas at once allows you to compare and contrast, review the pros and cons, learn more about yourself. Tossing ideas around, you may just find one thing that excites you over the others. Grab it and start plotting the new route for the new and improved you!
To Thine Own Self Be True.
Another important step is to identify WHO you truly are and WHAT ignites your fire. Have you outgrown your 9-to-5 job? Are you deflated about not being as healthy as you could? The downtime this crisis has imposed on many of us makes the perfect time for introspection and self-reflection. Yes, life can be difficult, but if you are not enjoying it, are you really being true to thyself? What would you change if you could?
In a Psychology Today article, by Harvard Business School Dean and author of What You’re Really Meant to Do, shared:
“People need to understand their strengths, their weaknesses, their passions, and their own story…Then they can look at what’s going on in the world and try to match themselves up to opportunities.”
This is not easier said than done. You have the world at your fingertips. No one has the power to change it like you do. Take the step!
What truly encapsulates your passionate attention? What do you love? Find something that matters, has value, and the goals you have for yourself. What drives you and will leave you satisfied at the end of the day? As they say, what would you do for free?
If there is not a market, create one. Use yourself as the guinea pig and be vulnerable and honest with yourself. Self-trust and love earns trust from others and engenders friendship, and followers! These pave the way to living an authentic life as YOU. Follow your bliss!
Take Action Now. Network.
Many of us are afforded extra time during this crisis to plan our next move. Why not put it to good use? In addition to the tips above, start rebuilding your LinkedIn profile and network of connections.
- Reach out. Avoid limiting yourself to those already in your network. Find people who have the kind of job you want and those at a level to hire you.
- Get to know people you don’t know. Drop them a short personal message, or respond to their posts in a substantive way. Ask how you can be of assistance to them. Offer value and ideas.
- Put a brand statement on your profile. It isn’t who you know or who knows you. It’s what they know about you.
Additionally, talk through your goals and aspirations with others who know you. Explore social media and online communities to further your reinvention and self-exploration. Hire an online career coach. Find people who share similar interests and are like-minded so you feel safe within yourself to explore your dreams, and then build upon them.
These are challenging times. The road ahead to reinvention doesn’t have to be a frightening and uncertain one. With a little faith in yourself and a few connections with others, you can do hard things.
There’s no better time for you to start living the life you were meant to live . . .on YOUR terms as your TRUE self.
Brad HadleyJune 2, 2020
Everyone encounters difficult times in their lives and this article offers sound advice and inspiration for us to endure and carry on.
LuannaJune 2, 2020
Thank you very much! I hope it is helpful to others as well.
Robin TaggartJune 2, 2020
Speaking truth girly twirly!!! Fluidity in life is key. What I find refreshing is your keen eye on the future. None of us really knows what will surface after this global shelter in place. Your post are giving us all a chance to ponder on what’s next! Oh and drink and eat!!
LuannaJune 2, 2020
Thank you very much! It’s a difficult time for so many, and hopefully, we will all be more productive and healthier on the other side.
RamonaJune 2, 2020
Luanna, it is a brave thing to do to give your followers and insight into reinventing yourself. I look forward to seeing your growth.
KimJune 2, 2020
Thanks Lu. You just made me feel better about my stalled dog training business. It’s my passion so I’m picking myself up and dusting myself off to make it work the way I always imagined it.
Stacy KopperJune 3, 2020
Thanks for the suggestions. The most difficult adjustment for me is everything coming to a complete stop. When you are used to being “on” 24/7 and living out of a suitcase the current normal is a challenge to a lot of systems. I have been diving into online learning so that I have a some sense of accomplishment. Also, a friend who is now working from home insists that we get up according to her old schedule and use that new found “free time” to walk in the mornings. Since I am also baking more than I used to, this has helped to offset some gains.
LuannaJune 3, 2020
Stacy: Yes, this is something I’m facing too. I think it’s very important to keep a “schedule” or else I find myself just wandering and not maintaining a focus when being inside more. The walks are also important for clearing the mind as well as exercise. (I wrote an article on the benefits of walking a couple of weeks ago, and this has certainly helped me in a lot of ways). Most importantly, thank you for reading and sharing!
TG baughJune 3, 2020
Great article. I have a17 year old daughter who has always been so busy with school, sports, social life, etc. I can honestly say she reinvented herself, she found time for herself, she’s doing some things we did when we were kids. It’s been fun to watch! A friend of mine once said, “boredom breeds creativity”, I now have seen its true.
LuannaJune 3, 2020
TG: How wonderful to see your daughter grow and evolve and reinvent herself at a young age! You must be very proud. It just shows that one can never be too old or too young to reinvent oneself. I hope it continues throughout her life.