Recently I spoke at a conference using the title of my book, “Success is a Given: Reading the Signs While Reinventing Your Life.” As would be expected, many in the audience were in the midst of reinvention, looking for purpose, reinventing their career or entering a new decade of life. These life transitions, I call “the search.”
Four major themes emerged though personal conversations:
- I don’t know my purpose
- I just turned 40 and I want something more
- I’m scared, frustrated and overwhelmed
- I don’t know what to do
It’s easy to let the drama of life-reinvention trigger unhealthy conversations that keep you farther away from your goals. The communication we have with others is always evidence of the emotions going on underneath.
I understand the emotions because I traveled a similar path about 10 years ago. I was getting ready to turn 40, I had worked in a factory all of my life and I was searching for a purpose and a new career. Once I actually quit my job, the world was open to possibilities…in fact, too many possibilities which is just as frightening as none at all.
You go from being marooned on an island with no escape to complete freedom floating in the middle of the ocean with no map, too many islands to choose from and just a couple of oars! It’s easy to let your attitude slip into negativity and desperation as you row in circles trying to chart your course.
Here are six easy tips to reinvention success.
1. Slow down
2. Get some structure
3. Create an inner purpose
5. Master your communication
6. Start where you are
Slow down and take a breath. This is not the time to panic. When you are searching too hard, you mistake activity for productivity. One woman said she was spending 10 hours a day searching on the computer to find just the right opportunity. I asked her if she was willing to go inward and listen to her voice. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you are rowing in the right direction.
Get some structure
To increase your personal effectiveness and productivity create some boundaries. If you are completely out of work, set up a schedule for yourself. Get up at the same time every day. Set up specific times for job searching, working out, and create daily routines. Creating boundaries for yourself makes you feel in control instead of lost at sea.
Create an Inner Purpose
Don’t allow searching for your life purpose be the big drama that’s keeping you stuck. Too many people are looking for some big magical ah-ha moment that signifies they finally got their purpose. Although some people claim to have such a moment, the reality is that life is lived in small segments of the “now.” Looking for the big purpose can be like trying to row to an island 5000 miles away. At some point it just gets exhausting and you never truly arrive.
Look first for an inner purpose and then you can always be on purpose no matter what you do to make money. For example, when I was in the midst of my life-purpose drama, I could not for the life of me figure out how to leave my factory job. I came up with an inner purpose called ICARE which stood for “Improving Communication and Relationships Everywhere.” Then I knew that was my north star for everything I did, even while working in the factory.
Give yourself a break. Do you really need to have all the answers right now? Life is about enjoying the journey. Give yourself some time to experiment. Try volunteering for a project. Take up a new hobby. Get to know yourself. If you are going through a re-invention such as divorce or career change, it’s important to experiment with life to know what you want to create for the next phase.
Master Your Communication
Watch the language you use while in the stages of reinvention. Be mindful of sounding like a victim.
Negative self talk becomes negative public talk. Change your attitude and your words will naturally follow.
One woman I talked to kept talking about “I don’t know what to do” and “the reason what I want isn’t possible is because…” No wonder she was feeling lost. My advice to her was to say instead, “I’m in an exciting period of life reinvention and I’m so fortunate to get to try new things, experiment with my life and create exactly what I want for the next phase.
Start where you are.
Life gives you opportunities in each moment to be purposeful. Don’t fall for the illusion that you need some fancy career or big life calling to be purposeful in your life. I remember creating a mantra while I was still at Kraft Foods. Instead of complaining about the job I would say, “Someone has to make cheese.” If you can be on purpose in the mundane, your presence will lead you to the bigger purpose you are searching for.
What myths are you believing about re-invention and success? Get your free copy of The 3 Success Myths and 4 Lies by clicking here.