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Issue 84

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In this issue ~~

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Reinventing Yourself

With the popularity of "makeover" shows these days, it's hard not to think about what it would be like to do a total makeover on yourself. Imagine waking up tomorrow morning and being the person you'd love to be and having the life you'd love to have!

A total makeover may be too extreme for most of us, but what about reinventing yourself? What would it be like to start living the life you'd love to live, and becoming the person who belongs in that life?

Early in our lives, many of us were guided, or pushed, onto a particular path.  As kids, we were all given labels of some sort. You may have been the smart one, the artistic one, the athletic one, the lazy one, the computer nerd. These labels can become our identity, and we then make career and life choices based on that identity.

Or perhaps you fell onto a life or career path. Opportunities came your way that were easy to grab onto. One led to another, and one day you woke up, looked around and asked, "How did I get here?"

Or you may have lived a fantastic and joyous life, but your once-exciting choices have become routine – you've grown all you can and taken all the juice from them you can. They no longer hold the challenge or attraction that drew you earlier in your life, and it's time to find something new.

Your desire to change may also be a natural life evolution. As you get older, you also grow in experience and wisdom. The things you've done in the past no longer challenge or interest you. Think about your first or second job and what it would be like doing that now. The time comes to take on new and bigger challenges, rather than coasting on what's easy and familiar. That could mean moving to a higher level or a whole different path.

Whatever the reason, at some point, it comes time to reinvent yourself. It may come about as a natural growth and evolution, or it may be a choice to catapult yourself into a new life and a new self. You may want to explore a new career, move to a different location, try out new relationships, activities and behaviors. With so many options and opportunities open to us, there's no reason to stay stuck for a lifetime in something you're bored with at best, or miserable in at worst.

Reinventing yourself can be exciting and scary. While your new path may be intriguing, making changes can be uncomfortable. Here are some tips to smooth the way:

~ Take it at your own pace. You may want to take a leap, or you may want to plan and prepare. Honor your own timing, rather than how fast or slow you or someone else thinks you should go.

~ Look at where you want to go. (If you're not sure, working with a life or career coach can be a huge help.) Then, look at what it will take to get there. Do you need to go back to school?  Gather information?  Do research? Make new business contacts or meet new friends?  Save money?

~ If you're in a situation you absolutely hate, and your transition plan will take some time, look at an interim step. You might want to look for a different job in the same industry, or find a different career where you could use your "transferable skills" to make a short-term leap. You may want to build new friendships before you let go of old ones that don't quite fit anymore. Or you might take vacation trips to new locations before you consider moving there.

~ Deal with the flak. Chances are, you'll get some negative feedback, or even downright sabotage, from your family and friends. People are resistant to change. Most of them would prefer you to stay who, what and where you are. You may need to be patient while others adjust to your new self and lifestyle and, sad though it may be, let go of those who aren't willing to take the journey with you. Most of all, don't let anyone talk you out of doing what you know in your heart is the right thing for you.

~ Remember that reinventing yourself means creating a new identity. When I quit acting after 25 years, it hit me that it wasn't just about not going to auditions or subscribing to BackStage anymore. It also meant that I needed to redefine who I had been since the age of 14. Be gentle with yourself, and move into that new identity by hanging out with people in your new life or career, and maybe by dressing and acting in new ways.

Whatever your age or circumstance, you're not stuck with who you were in the past. We often feel like who we're becoming has to be a linear progression from who we were – that it has to "make sense." But we're always growing, and taking a leap into a new life is okay to do. In fact, it may be getting you back onto a track you reluctantly detoured from many years ago.

Dare to dream who and what you could become, and then take steps to make it happen. It's a great adventure!

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Action Challenge

When you take away all the excuses and limitations, who is it that you would really like to be? Make a list of the characteristics of that person. What 3 steps can you take this month to bring you closer to that?

 

Wise Words

"Human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves..." 

~ Germaine Greer

"...if the next generation is to face the future with zest and self-confidence, we must educate them to be original as well as competent."

~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

"The more of it [our vision] we can describe, the clearer we also become about the vision's unknown aspects. Our intuitive drive to fill these blanks or unknown aspects will eventually take over and become a powerful force to guide us with a remarkable sense of certainty into an uncharted future."

~ Kurt Wright,Breaking the Rules: Removing the Obstacles to Effortless High Performance

"Every step you take should increase, not decrease, the breadth of your opportunities."

~ Andy Tuck

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Bookshelf

(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)

Reinventing Yourself: How To Become The Person You've Always Wanted To Be . . . Steve Chandler

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Reinventing Yourself . . . Jeff Davidson

Reinventing Yourself: Becoming the Person You Want to Be . . . Barnes Boffey

Inventing the Rest of Our Lives: Women in Second Adulthood . . . Suzanne Braun Levine

Reinventing Yourself: A Metaphysical Self-Renewal System . . . Dick Sutphen

On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity . . . Ellen Langer

Second Acts: Creating the Life You Really Want, Building the Career You Truly Desire . . . Stephen M. Pollan, Mark Levine

The Third Age: Six Principles for Personal Growth and Rejuvenation after Forty . . . William A. Sadler, Ph.D.

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© 2006 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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