Reinvention means you commit to the idea that you won’t remain stagnant in your life. It’s not about drastically stopping one thing to pursue something else. It is about trying new things regularly and committing to putting some skills behind the new things you enjoy.
If you asked anyone on December 31, 2019, if they thought 2020 would look like this 6 months in, they would have looked at you like you had 2 heads. No one, not even the psychics, predicted that life would change so sharply and drastically in a matter of a few months.
And the changes keep coming. Companies are changing their names. People are questioning and re-evaluating their beliefs. Businesses in certain sectors are growing, while companies that were staples of the American economy for decades are filing for bankruptcy. Amid all the changes, there is an underlying concern about what will be left of our society and economy once the shock wears off.
Although we can’t predict the future, what we are learning from 2020 is that change, in the 21st century, is going to happen a lot faster than it used to. So if we want to thrive no matter what changes come our way, now is the time to harness the power of reinvention as a life skill.
Growing up, no one ever explained what life skills were, especially as it relates to reinvention. My relationship with the concept came solely from musicians.
Whenever an artist came out with a new album, they would “reinvent” themselves. This meant they would make drastic changes to their public persona. They changed their hair. They changed their look. They had new dancers, a new entourage, and seemed to have a new personality.
Suddenly, black, army fatigue-wearing Janet Jackson from Rhythm Nation 1814 became sexy, mid-drift showing Janet from the Janet. album. (Army Janet and Sexy Janet both made excellent albums by the way.)
From those examples, I thought reinvention required drastic change. If you want to lose weight, you go vegan tomorrow and exercise every day. If you have a dream, you quit your job and go after it without looking back. Only non-believers worry about practical things like food, shelter, and clothing.
In reality, that’s not how reinvention works. Or how it sticks.
Reinventing yourself isn’t about drastically stopping one thing to pursue something else. It is about trying new things regularly and committing to putting some skills behind the new things you enjoy. That’s it.
You reinvent yourself when you commit to the idea that you won’t remain stagnant in your life. Instead, you decide to use your life as your own personal R&D department. You follow your curiosity. You try stuff. In doing so, you stay ahead of the curve and roll with any changes that life might bring. Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you work for a large corporate defense firm. Before 2020, you barely had time to breathe, but because of the pandemic, you are working from home and have some wiggle room in your schedule. You’ve always been curious about hand lettering and calligraphy, so you decide to take an online course.
You enjoy the course. You engage and have Zoom coffee chats with some of your classmates. On one of these chats, you hear about a hand lettering retreat in Bali in 2021. Typically, you wouldn’t spend that much money on a non-legal retreat, but this time, you decide to go anyway.
On the retreat, you meet a local entrepreneur who is developing innovations in artificial intelligence (AI). You keep in touch with this entrepreneur after you return home. Your new Bali friend teaches you more about AI, and you continue to practice your hand lettering skills. At some point, you get curious about turning your hand lettering into a business, but don’t know how?
You talk with your Bali friend about it. Together you both decide to create an AI platform designed to deliver custom hand-lettered invitations at affordable prices with a launch date of June 2022.
Because the last pandemic-related quarantine is over when the business launches, it takes off. Everyone wants to throw a party or host an event because they couldn’t have one for so long. And all those people want hand-lettered invitations.
As you look back on your life in 2022, you realize that you have reinvented yourself. Two years ago, you were a corporate defense attorney. Now you are an AI entrepreneur who used to practice law.
Although that story is made up, it could happen and does happen regularly. If you commit to reinvention as a life skill, you never know where you might end up. And that’s what makes life exciting in the long run. And if you like this concept and want some concrete steps to start reinventing yourself today, here are 7 ideas:
These may seem like small and straightforward tasks, but that’s the point. Reinvention isn’t about all-or-nothing or drastic changes. The starting point of reinvention is giving yourself the freedom to try stuff. Once you do that, you will be on the long-life path of reinventing yourself over time, and that’s a skill you can use no matter what happens in the world that year.
What are your thoughts on reinvention? What might be some concrete steps you can take to start trying new things? Let me know in the comments below.