"There was a disturbance in my heart, a voice that spoke there and said, I want, I want, I want! It happened every afternoon, and when I tried to suppress it, it got even stronger." ~ Saul Bellow.
I have survived 3 redundancies in 18 months. It was the 3rd redundancy that was the Catalyst for me. I realised that if I wasn't going to make some changes in my life, the chances of me facing another redundancy were high. There was no way that I was going to face a 4th one!
I guess there are 2 factors involved as to why I didn't take up the challenge of change earlier, with the 1st or 2nd redundancy "“ I was too scared and I am a slow learner! Even though I wished it would be different for me, I just didn't know how to make it different or how to make a change!
With the 3rd redundancy I had no other option than to make the change. I had no more energy left to apply for jobs, approach recruitment consultants, go for interviews, do more psychometric testing, talk about my strengths, successes and career achievements and then deal with rejection all over again.
When you are in your 50's, getting a job that you love feels a bit like winning the "Lottery". I found myself no longer wanting to fit into the "traditional world of work".
I was also tired of handing over to other people the power of choice over how I should live my life. I realised that the window of opportunity to step out of my comfort zone was getting smaller and smaller the older I got.
Deep down I knew that I didn't want to find myself at 70 plus years regretting that I hadn't been brave enough to, step out and follow my dream.
What do I want to do with my life? What makes me happy?
December 31st, 2013, I found myself asking this question. I have asked myself that for many years, and never really found an answer.
This time, however, I felt that I had no more excuses as to why I couldn't, shouldn't or wouldn't step out and do what I wanted to do with my life, in order to be happy.
In my career particularly, I could never get to a place in any of my jobs where I was happy. I would take on roles because I felt like I had to, or the money was good, or the job was easy and, as a result, I drifted through my career doing the roles I could do, rather than doing what I wanted to do.
So, I literally took a deep breath, looked up into the sky (yes I know it sounds corny, but it's true), and I decided that I would Reinvent Myself and follow my dream to be a writer, speaker and coach.
New Years Day 2014, I shared my decision and my dream.
I announced at breakfast (only 3 people there "“ the others were recovering from New Years Eve celebrations) that I had made a big decision, and that I was going to follow my dream to be a writer, speaker and coach.
My husband and my best friend looked at me, smiled and then asked me, "How are You going to do this?"
I had no answer and that got me worried, and then I started to feel afraid. I knew that if I let my fear take over, then I would never begin. So, I took a deep breath and replied, "I don't know, but I am going to find out".
My husband then said, being the very pragmatic person that he is, "Get a plan and figure out what steps you need to take to Reinvent Yourself".
MY AHA MOMENT
When he said that, it clicked for me, and I realised why, for all those years, I had never been able to answer the question about what I should do with my life "“ I never had a plan. So, a few days later, I went and sought help from 2 friends to figure out a plan as to how I was going to reinvent myself.
This was the start of my Reinvention Journey and now, 9 months later, when I look back "“ wow, what a journey it has been! And there is more to come!
It has also been amazing that, when I share my story, people are inspired and they want my advice as to how they can start their journey to living their ideal life. So, for all of you who are about to embark on your journey of reinvention, here are 5 key lessons that I have learnt in the last 9 months.
My 5 Key Lessons
If you follow the advice from these 5 key lessons, you will be far better prepared, more focussed, have more clarity and will experience a less bumpier ride than I did when embarked on my journey of Reinvention. Your journey to achieving your ideal life will be pretty much guaranteed!
Lesson 1: You Need a Plan to Survive
"Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire." Napoleon Hill
I have never been a great planner. My personality type likes to be more spontaneous, but I am not sure that this love for spontaneity has served me well over the years.
Reflecting back on my life I realise now that I have had the opportunities where I could have been a writer, speaker and also coach. Some of the opportunities that I have taken up have been successful and others were just dead ends. I believe this happened because I had no vision, no plan and lived my life reacting to opportunities rather than being proactive.
I guess this quote sums up what had been happening to me all those years when I didn't have a plan in place.
"If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." "• Yogi Berra
My Plan is my road map that points me in a direction which takes me closer to living my ideal life. It defines my life purpose and what makes me happy. It also sets out within very realistic timeframes, the short, medium and long-term tasks and activities that I need to do so that I can move closer to my destination.
A Word of Caution about Your Plan
A plan is important, but don't let it define your journey. For me, the experience of the journey has been the best part! If I were rigid about following my Plan, I wouldn't have been able to experiment and take a left turn instead of going straight ahead. Many of my wonderful experiences have been a result of taking a left hand turn.
Remember that Reinvention is a life long journey and that your PLAN needs to reflect this.
Lesson 2. To Thrive, You Need to Embrace Change
"People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, second hand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out". ~Warren G. Bennis
I now realise (which I kind of knew anyway) that Reinvention and Change go together. Because change is a constant part of our lives, reinvention is part of the change-life package.
We need to constantly reinvent ourselves, as we have to adapt to the changes that impact on our lives. I knew I had a lot of fears around change. I also knew that I had to deal with these fears, so that I could truly embrace Reinvention and accept that once I began this journey, it would be a life long one. Change would also be part of the package.
Lesson 3. Face Your Fears
"Facing your fears robs them of their power." ~ Mark Burnett
It's funny how the Universe sends you the Right Message at the Right Time! I came across this quote in an article I was reading about "Managing Your Fears". The article talked about the 2 acronyms for FEAR.
Forget Everything And Run OR Face Everything And Rise. When I read this, it resonated with me and I knew that I had to choose Face Everything And Rise.
I then sat down and asked myself, "What did I have to lose if I went on this Journey?" The answer of course was, "Nothing!" However, my biggest fear was failing. So, I tried to write down the top 3 failure scenarios that I could possibly face on this journey. Surprise! I couldn't come up with 1, let alone 3 failures! This very simple exercise helped me to face my fears – particularly my fear of failure.
I honestly felt relieved and excited about my future and about embarking on my journey. Something I had not felt for a long time. My fear of failure could no longer stop me from chasing my dreams.
Lesson 4. Deal with your Limiting Self Beliefs or You will never Start.
" If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin."~ Ivan Turgenev
I guarantee that your inner self will be telling you that you need to change, but for some of us there will be reasons as to why we will not be listening. If you are struggling to listen to your inner voice of change, read my blog Goodbye Dirty Harry, Hello Angel This blog is about my self-limiting beliefs that were articulated so well in my head by my voice of negativity, aka DIRTY HARRY.
Do not get sucked in to the compelling arguments that your Dirty Harry will present to you. The arguments he gives you, as to why you should not embrace REINVENTION, are all YOUR LIMITING SELF BELIEFS. He reinforces every negative self-belief and you will believe it to be true about yourself.
If you listen to him and stay in your (dis)comfort zone, life will be unsatisfying for you. You will have a constant feeling of discomfort with your self, sadness, frustration and a constant feeling of yuck!!
I suggest, which is what I did, and thank God I did it, that you spend time getting to know Angel (your positive voice) – she is my positivity, my inner voice of empowerment and self-belief. When I listen to her, I feel energised, courageous and invincible.
My Journey of Reinvention, with Angel on my side, is exciting and far more rewarding that hanging out with Dirty Harry would be!
Lesson 5. Be prepared to stay for the ride
…because the Reinvention Journey is a roller coaster ride of emotion – personally challenging, scary, exciting, painful, lonely and exhilarating.
You may have heard the expression "life is like a roller coaster ride"; that's exactly how it was for me! In the last 9 months I have experienced a huge range of emotions. I have gone from feeling really scared, overwhelmed and fearful to exhilaration and joy!
Going on this journey has had many twists and turns, there were high moments and there were low moments. What is amazing about it is that I have discovered that I have a choice about how I respond to my life challenges. I can be scared, fearful or frustrated OR I can choose to open my heart, take a deep breath, laugh out loud and enjoy the excitement of the ride.
So, be prepared for the ride and use your Power of Choice as it will determine your responses and reactions to the challenges of your journey – scary, fearful versus exciting and exhilarating! I know what I would choose!
Before I wrap it up, I would like to leave you with a quote from C.S Lewis about Reinvention "“ for me, the quote sums up why we need to choose Reinvention.
"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad".
C. S. Lewis