Since 2015 when I started considering entrepreneurship as a possibility, I've read quite a few articles on reinventing yourself. Most deal with changing careers, personal circumstances, or your mindset when faced with adversity. The focus is often on achieving resilience and finding support groups. Another common theme is having the willpower to actually make a major change.
The common thread was that every author seemed to acknowledge that there is usually a major trigger that causes people to want to reinvent themselves.
In my case, that's definitely true. After a near meltdown last year, I realized it was time to reinvent Steve Caruso. Here's what I've found so far about reinvention.
Reinvention is Actually Self Discovery
Some people write about self reinvention as a personal marketing effort, like a company going through a rebrand. Others write about creating a new external reality for oneself (whether or not circumstances actually change).
I think of reinvention as something much more internal. For me, it's simply the process of discovering the real Steve Caruso. One awesome discovery I've made in the last year is that creativity is a key strength, which has enabled me to reinvent myself as a creative.
Reinvention is Not for Others' Benefit
Most of us try to be who others expect us to be, rather than being ourselves. This tendency can even surface during self reinvention, when we should be most independent. We can create an image of our future self based on others' expectations. But if reinvention is a process of discovering our true self, then the expectations others might have for us should be secondary. The first question of reinventing yourself, therefore, is "Who do you want to be?"
Reinvention is a Product of Learning
Self reinvention can be the outcome of learning. The protagonist in Paolo Coelho's The Alchemist is a great example. In the course of his epic journey toward self discovery, he must travel across the Straight of Gibraltar and the Sahara in search of his "personal legend." In the process, he uses wise insights from Melchizedek, a gypsy, a shopkeeper, the Alchemist and his books to reinvent himself throughout the story.
Reinvention Should be Ongoing
The process of reinventing yourself doesn't have to be a one off. Of course, a major rebrand usually appears as a discreet event with a finite scope. But in a sense, brands are reinventing themselves all the time, even if the core value proposition or brand strategy remains unchanged. Individuals should take a similar approach to self reinvention by creating a continuous feedback loop of self discovery and improvement.
Why Wait to Reinvent Yourself?
Self reinvention is a tremendous opportunity for learning, growing, and discovering our true selves. However, I think too many of us (myself included) procrastinate on the process, instead of prioritizing it. We shouldn't need a major life attack to trigger our reinvention.
The real question is this: who are you today and who do you want to be in the future? If there's a gap, is it about time to reinvent yourself?