I’m excited to have another guest post on my site. For most folks, we change careers at some point during our journey. Without someone to guide us, this journey will be filled with trials and errors. Let me introduce Hollis Thomases. She is founder of ReinventionWorks and creator of Mega Reinvention 2016, the preeminent online confab for career transformation. She’s passionate about helping people find their next future. Connect with her on Twitter @hollisthomases
I view reinvention as intention change; as deliberately pivoting away from something you know towards an unfamiliar path. I’ve reinvented myself professionally at least twice before (three times if you count the almost instantaneous pivot I had to do after my last career reinvention), and I’ve reinvented my life significantly at least once. I’m no stranger to reinvention obstacles, and I don’t shy away from them. It’s not that I love jumping hurdles, but I know well enough by now that if you plan to reinvent, you have to accept upfront that obstacles will be part of your reinvention process.
The reinvention journey – the path you will follow in order to transform your future – might be one of the most arduous things you deliberately choose to undertake. You will experience joy, liberation, fear, discomfort, and many, many decision trees. It’s why reinvention stories make for such great stories and movies.
The obstacles that will be thrown in your way vary from person to person and situation to situation, and therefore we can’t necessarily predict and prepare for them. There are some things that you can do, however, to help you overcome these obstacles.
- Get your self-reflection on. The reinvention process will force you into self-reflection, of this I am certain. Many people, however, are uncomfortable being self-reflective. Your mind may be a walled garden you have intentionally ignored for many years to protect yourself from feelings and emotions you’ve been unprepared to handle. I will tell you that now is the time to reckon yourself to this discomfort, to embrace it, and to start early. The sooner you become familiar with your sources of discomfort and the areas in which you feel weak, the better off you’ll be able to also conquer your other reinvention hurdles.
- Muster your courage. Just as you might need to talk yourself into doing something to confront an everyday fear – from taking a perilous roller coaster ride to boarding a plane to fly – you need to fortify yourself for your reinvention journey. Change is already a scary proposition for most people, but intentionally changing away from the known into the unknown can either be terrifying or exhilarating…or a little bit of both. Why not think of your reinvention journey as one big “excellent adventure,” so you’re thinking of working up your courage for something fun?!
- Tap into your creativity. Sometimes reinvention feels like one big complicated algebraic word problem (remember those? Ugh!). There’s just one problem to solve after the next after the next. Your reinvention journey will require ingenuity, creativity, and old-fashioned street smarts to get you over, through, or around the next hurdle. To unleash that power, do the kinds of things that let you free your mind and find answers (or at least the path to the answer). That might be taking a walk or taking a nap. It might be reading a good mystery novel or doodling on a pad of paper. It might be cooking a gourmet meal, or it might be lifting weights. Whatever “that” thing is for you, just do it…and do it a lot.
- Be adaptable. If “the only constant is change,” then, by its sheer nature, the reinvention process invites steadily constant change. Just when you think you may have figured something out, you’ll realize you have it wrong. There’s generally a lesson in what you got wrong, so use that lesson and adjust course. A sailor at sea cannot control the wind, so when the wind changes direction, she must adjust her sails. And when the wind dies altogether, there are motors, oars, and currents to take advantage of. Doing nothing for very long, however, isn’t a viable option.
- Seek support. No one reinvents alone. Time and again, Reinventionists talk about the support they received that allowed them to see themselves through to the end of their journey. That support comes from different places: spouses, family, friends, community groups, resource centers – even perfect strangers. When you’re reinventing, you cannot be bashful. You’ve got to get out there, let people help you, and better still, ask for help.
If you’re in need of help, I encourage you to check out Mega Reinvention 2016, the 100% online video conference coming this January. Its curriculum of 25+ sessions, spread out throughout the month (1/2 – 1/31/16), was designed to touch on all of these obstacles of career reinvention, particularly for people in the middle of their careers.
Will 2016 finally be the year of your reinvention??