We face challenging times, that is for sure. Whether it is the widespread discontent and social change, the COVID-19 pandemic or the impending threat of climate change, it seems as though the world is pressing in and crushing us at every opportunity. It might even seem like your own life is crushing you, whether through your job, your passions or some other aspect. It can all be very overwhelming. However, these might just be signs that it is time to reinvent yourself.
When people speak of reinventing themselves, it can seem like a disturbing or frightening prospect. Many people picture the “mid-life crisis”, where a 50 year old will suddenly buy 2 motorcycles and discard them soon after, just like everything else they previously had, in favour of new and seemingly random ones. However, this is not true reinvention and it isn’t the only time that reinvention can be or should be done. True reinvention occurs when it feels as though life cannot go on as it once did. As though nothing matters anymore, and time is only a number. The loss of a loved one, the break of a relationship or leaving a beloved job are just a few of these large events that could make such a reinvention possible.
Elements of Reinvention
There are a few key elements to keep in mind when attempting the process of reinvention. The First is the resilience that is needed to actually go through with it. Many people experience one of these crushing life events and simply give up; they are unable to go on. The resilience that it takes to get up again, repeatedly if necessary, is both brutal and necessary for the process of reinvention. You cannot lose focus of what you are building towards, even when it seems so far away. Sometimes it can take some time to actually decide on whether or not you are willing to go through with such a long and arduous journey.
The Second element, which is my favorite, is making sure that you have people around you who are supporting your reinvention. Humans are social and meaning-seeking beings, no matter how much of an introvert someone might be. Even having one or two people to lean on in times of need can be all it takes to pull through to the end. However, it is important not to lean on them too much, as the process of reinvention is a personal journey. By allowing others to dictate it, you would likely end up in the same spot that you started in.
The Third crucial element of reinvention is taking care of yourself while growing through this process. Take up an old hobby from your youth that you have fallen out of or try a new one that has always been on your bucket list. Spend time relaxing and thinking, but not about the past and issues that have come up. Nor should you spend time thinking about work or other “productive” matters. Think about yourself. Who you are, who you want to be, how do you see yourself getting to that stage? This period of peace, relaxation and enjoyment can really help discover just the sort of reinvention you are seeking for yourself. I always say, “Immerse yourself in yourself”.
Discover Your Strengths at Any Age
The best first step to reinvention is to discover who you are and what your strengths are. If you are working as a corporate worker, yet feel that your true strength lies in creative writing or making artistic pieces, it could be a sign. If your heart and body are boxed into a little office space when you would prefer to be outside trying to think of new and exciting ways to make your own world, it could lead to the feeling of disillusionment, which in turn leads to the reinvention process. During this process, it is important to be brutally honest with yourself. What are you actually good at, what are you decent at and what are you not so adept at? Then compare these skills to what you enjoy doing. More often than not, those abilities that you are good at will align with what you enjoy. This makes for a good indication on the direction you should head in your path of transformation. What you decide to do needs to be the full expression of who you are. Your Authentic Self.
Make A Plan
The second step is to make a plan on just how you are going to get to the place you want to be. While it is nice to hear inspiring stories of people leaving their jobs on a whim and going where the wind or their feet will take them, the reality is that many people just can’t afford to do that. Instead, drawing out a path of just how to get to the destination can make a huge difference. Perhaps it means going back to school to get qualified for the new career path you want to take. Maybe you just need to start freelance writing, editing, painting, content creation, voice acting or any other activity on the side in order to see how you like it. Or maybe you just need to build some experience in the field. Creating specific long-term and short-term goals can be crucial to mapping the path that will lead you to your reinvention. Regardless of the age, your reinvention will need a plan. Those who are transforming themselves in their 30s will have a different plan to someone who is transforming in their 60s or any age. Yet, both are perfectly valid.
This sort of planning should take the form of concrete steps that can actually be marked out and measured in how they are accomplished. If you say that “I’ll lose some weight this year”, then the likelihood of that being regularly accomplished is significantly lower. Comparatively, if you come up with a schedule on what days are cardio days, what days are strength days and which days are take-a-break days, this gives a much more structured way to actually go about achieving that goal. It works the same way for every goal. If the reinvention is “I’m going to go find a long-term partner”, then it is good to set a goal on just how many people you are going to date. Trying to switch careers to be a full time gaming streamer? Set a specific schedule on when you’re going to broadcast, what you’re going to broadcast and perhaps set a specific time aside for interaction with your audience. These are all specific, smaller steps that will help lead towards the greater goal of reinvention. The best part? All of these smaller steps can be accomplished at any age and at any pace. Sometimes the reinvention process, or journey as I like to call it, can take a while, so small and gradual steps are always better. Other times, just jumping in might be the go-to move. Either way, it is important to make sure that progress can be measured on how you are doing. Be accountable.
Find Others with Your Passion
Another way that this new passion or habit can be improved is by seeking others who do the same sort of activity or align with your force field. Whether it’s a group online, with others who simply love to talk about books, new recipes or the latest news in gaming. Perhaps it’s simply choosing a friend for some new swim lessons or finding a weekend running partner. This should be noted as being somewhat different than the support group that you built up before you started your journey of reinvention. You can use this system, of course. However, it is generally better to keep those who are supporting your emotional well-being and those who are helping you along in your new journey on other matters separate. If nothing else, this spreads out the amount of time that people might need to dedicate to your journey. It’s much easier to get people to agree to help you and join you in new activities if they aren’t constantly with you. Bonding with these groups is perfectly fine, even encouraged. These groups can help reset and amplify your mindset.
Check the Finances
Of course, when going through this time, it is important to make sure that your finances are stable. Not everyone who needs reinvention can afford to go on a trip costing thousands of dollars or can leave the job that they have. Someone in their mid-twenties or even early thirties who is reinventing themselves might still be paying off their college debt or mortgage. Just about everything costs money. Those who are reinventing themselves later in life might have a slightly easier time with this, but it should still be planned for. A career change, in particular, should be researched and looked at. Even those who aren’t natural economists should make sure that they know how their process of reinvention should affect them. If the financial aspect is an obvious barrier, then there is no need to despair. This simply provides a new short-term goal that can be overcome.
Dealing with Failure
One of the most important aspects about accepting that reinvention could happen at any time is how to treat failure. Many people have this thought that as life goes on, it only goes upwards. That everything gets better as time goes on. Of course, real life is nowhere near that simple. Life goes up and down, side to side and all around in a big loop. Failures will most certainly pop up along the way, which can seem absolutely crushing especially when you are in the sort of mental state where you feel like a reinvention is needed. Yet, this is by far the most important time in your life to make sure that those failures do not crush your spirit. Instead, take the failures in stride. Examine them, see them as a challenge, and something you should learn from.
The mindset going forward must always be focused on getting to the goal, no matter what that goal is. The plans can change, but the goal is always the goal.
If waves of failure come crashing down, it can feel like it’s time to drown. No matter how tough the failure is, adjustments must be made, and your head should be held high. Former US presidential candidate, Al Gore is one of many good examples of someone who faced his failure and turned it into a true reinvention. After his heartbreaking defeat to George H.W. Bush in 2000, he had to find somewhere else to put his energy and motivation. Whereas his policy on environmental protection and climate change were what he was truly passionate about, he would no longer get the chance to turn the entire country towards this goal. Instead, he started making appearances and giving presentations on climate change, which eventually led to his award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore took his defeat and turned it into a product that the entire world recognized as beneficial, winning a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. While one only wonders what could’ve happened if he had won , the fact is that he reinvented himself and made his passion into his full-time focus.
Check That You Are Along the Right Path
Undoubtedly, reinvention is a hard process. This goes for people of all ages, genders, cultures or any other qualification. However, this is partially great. It means that many people have to strive through the same process in order to actually achieve their goals. The final step on the path to reinvention is to analyze your reinvention every few years. Examine where you are and if you are any more comfortable than where you were. Life doesn’t stay still, so neither should you. The process of transformation does not happen overnight; No matter what, it’s important to keep an eye on the ultimate goal. Who do you want to be at the end of this journey? This turbulent period is simply a storm. It can be hard to find your way, while you are being beaten from every angle by wind, rain and lightning. However, every storm will pass. It is up to you to come out on the other side, showing your new colors and renewed passions to the world. You are the go-to authority in this journey. Remember that you can do anything not everything, a wise person once said.