Grandma Moses didn’t pick up a paintbrush until she was 80 years old. Steve Martin became a dad for the very first time at 67. Madonna has reinvented herself every single decade. Even James Bond was trying to figure out how to be old in Skyfall.
And, why is this?
Because being the same is boring.
We get so wrapped up in our fear that we fail to reinvent ourselves and wind up remaining on the same path. Then, we become totally checked out of whatever it is that we are doing. It’s so bad, even, that Gallup recently reported that only 34% of us are engaged at work.
So, why don’t the other 66% of us do something about it?
A few years ago, I sold the executive search firm I founded to the women who helped me build it. The terms of the sale gave me a five-year runway to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do in this next stage of my life. There were all sorts of ideas running through my head about what would make me happy.
I was wrong about almost every single one of them.
I am the person who loves being stage left. Whether it is interviewing people for big jobs, or supporting candidates for big elections, I love being just outside of the spotlight. I want to shine it brightly on the person center stage. Even as the CEO of my search firm, I felt my job as a leader was to shine light on my people.
Then I sold the firm. And, became faced with quickly having to figure it out. I was asked to give a talk. A big talk. A TEDx talk. And, that TEDx talk got attention, which led to another talk, then another. People started offering me money to speak. I became shocked to learn this was, in fact, a legit job. As it turns out, now I spend most of my time on center stage. But, in order to do that, I had to reinvent myself to get myself to that place where I was comfortable in center stage.
Reinvention is the process you need to go through when you realize that you are doing one thing, and you realize you want to be doing something else. But how do you determine when it’s time and how you’re ready?
Every generation from millennials, to Gen Xers, to Baby Boomers go through reinventions, normally at those sneaky life phase changes that seem so obvious but that we never see coming: millennials go from being students to early adults, Gen Xers see their kids no longer needing them quite as much, Boomers retire. Each of these generations want their work to have some purpose. They want their work to matter.
How do you reinvent yourself if you are feeling this same itch?
It all comes down to finding your confidence. You’ve got to figure out what you want to do and why you want to do it. It’s about determining who you want to be and the kind of life you want to lead. From there, you can decide how your work plays a role in helping you accomplish those answers – this is ultimately your calling.
Take a minute and think about what you are working towards every day — not what you want to be working towards, but what you are actually doing each and every day. Does that comport with the calling that you feel you have in your life? Is the work that you are doing serving that very calling?
If not, it’s time to reinvent yourself.
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Will you comment below about a reinvention you’ve had, or maybe a reinvention you hope to have. Share with us something you’d like to do, but aren’t quite sure how to get there. I would love to hear from you. Sign up for my monthly Limitless Letter, which is the loving kick-in-the-ass you never knew you needed. I’ll be in your inbox once a month with ideas about how to reinvent, how to find your confidence, and how to live a life that is limitless.