Reinvention is neither easy nor always smooth. Often, we encounter resistance. We don’t want to let go, even of things that cause us pain or that are obviously already out of our grasp. We often struggle with limiting beliefs or stories about ourselves that hold us back from trying new things.
But there is one way to keep your compass pointed to this new life, even in the midst of any resistance or struggles you may encounter on your path.
Each time you find yourself slipping into old habits—isolating yourself, making excuses not to look for work, procrastinating on a task that might help you advance in your career—don’t bother wondering why you’re doing it or beating yourself up.
Just ask yourself this: “What can I do in this moment to keep moving forward?”
Then, no matter what you feel in the moment—lonely, self-critical, tired, lazy, or disappointed—do something to maintain momentum, even if it’s one small thing. There’s an old adage that says that true courage isn’t about not feeling fear; it’s about feeling fear and acting anyway.
Choose courage instead of letting your fear choose your future for you.
If you're considering a reinvention, here are some pieces of advice that have steered me well through the process:
1. Know what you want.
Don't just understand what you don’t want. Work toward something with the reinvention. Don't just simply run away from something else.
2. Get clear on what you want and why.
Then when you get it, you will want what you have.
3. Don’t feel the need to justify your move.
If someone is curious about your why, tell him or her in simple and truthful terms. No one can argue with the facts. He or she may have opinions, but the five minutes he or she spends thinking about you is nothing like having to live your life 24 hours a day.
4. Find others.
Get in touch with a reinvention mentor and someone who has transitioned from one thing to another. Such people are available more places than you would think -- and more people are wanting to reinvent themselves than ever before.
5. Take action.
Every day you spend in stagnation is one less day you’ll spend in success. Small deliberate steps add up. Take one.
There are simply too many people looking at reinvention as a risk, when it is an opportunity with a poor name tag. Instead of asking yourself, What should I do? consider asking yourself, What do I want to get out of what it is that I do?
This rephrasing illuminated a lot for me during my reinvention and I hope it does for you, too. It is after all less about getting what you want and more about wanting what you get.
» Penelope Trunk: "Shortcuts to Reinventing Yourself"
» Inner Self: "Cycles of Seven"