Reinventing Yourself – Why and How

reinventing yourselfYou are probably in the process of reinventing yourself and you might not even realize it as those types of changes are often slow, subtle, and on the surface unrecognizable. But sometimes we find ourselves at certain points in life where reinventing yourself is not just desired, but mandatory.

Reinventing Yourself – Why and How

Many life changes can force you into the position of reinventing yourself. While some may be drastic, others may not. The biggies… death of spouse, partner or loved one… loss of a job, divorce, an unexpected and unpleasant medical diagnosis, failure of a business… bankruptcy… etc.

Some of the smaller and less drastic reasons for reinventing yourself might include, reaching a certain age or milestone, the itch to do something new either professionally or personally, or just the simple reason of being bored with life and wanting to get out of a rut. (Remember, the opposite of happiness is boredom!)

We are always in the process of reinventing ourselves as we are always evolving and changing. I mean, who can actually say that they are the same exact person that they were five, 10, or 20 years ago. What we want out of life changes, our beliefs and attitudes towards life change, and what we like and do not like changes even if we are aware of it or not.

It is never too late to be what you might have been and reinventing yourself is often necessary to do just that. After all, how many stories have you heard of people who are “of an age” doing things that you would have never thought possible? Some graduate from college finally, heck, some even finish medical school and become doctors. Some finish great athletic feats such as running their first marathon, or are still running in their 80’s and have finished hundreds of them.

Is reinventing yourself easy? As with all questions like this the answer is, “it depends.”

Assuming a worse case scenario or life-event that leaves you at “ground zero” where you have nowhere to go but up, reinventing yourself might be relatively easy, as you have no other options. And reinventing yourself from such a position might occur more organically as you recover, grow, and move beyond whatever it is that may have happened.

On the other hand, reinventing yourself might be more of a challenge if the changes you seek are“voluntary” because in order to transform… well you have to want to. You have to know what you want, why you want it, and truly want and commit to change.

In either instance, I believe the first step in reinventing yourself is to strip away everything in life that is non-essential; and that “stripping-away” can happen either because of external factors or because you choose to simplify your life on your own. As Bruce Lee said, “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

Once you have life distilled to the point that you are left with just things you “need” now is the time to get clear on the things that you want. Myself, when faced with this dilemma many years ago I found it quite helpful to ask myself the following question… “If you could only do three things for the rest of your life… what would they be?”

Try to answer that question with the assumption that money is no object but focus instead on what three things would bring you the most joy in life if they were the only three things you could do every day for the rest of your life. To put it in a clearer context, imagine you were stranded on a deserted island… What three things could you do to fill your time and bring you the most happiness?

By answering that question, you address more of your internal needs and desires in regards to what you want. And after that, if you choose to, you can begin to plan and take the needed action steps to go in that direction. (This is when having a life coach is most helpful.)

But what about reinventing yourself from the outside-in? For me, this is the fun part as I believe that just the smallest external changes can cause unexpected and pretty cool results and if you want to, you can even turn this into a fun game.

Just start doing things differently! If you drink coffee, switch to tea. Change your hairstyle or your wardrobe… change your perfume, your cologne, your shampoo, your soap…  Do things differently while letting go of the old and embracing the new. The funny thing is that these little changes on the outside can have a huge impact on your confidence and attitude, which in turn can have even larger impacts on how you move and operate in the world around you.

I have reinvented myself several times throughout my life, sometimes because I had to, and other times because I wanted to. But every time a major shift happens in life, be it leaving a job or a relationship, moving, losing a loved on, we have to take control of who we will become or risk never reaching our full potential. And often to reach your full potential you have to be open to and willing to reinvent yourself.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten – August 1997 – I have probably reinvented myself a dozen times since this photo was taken 19 years ago.

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