January 17, 2018
I’ve been thinking about reinvention lately.
I think it’s logical when you’re searching for direction to start looking at changes. If you follow that trail, sometimes you wind up contemplating a whole new you. It can be exciting and scary at the same time.
Maybe a little too scary for some people.
And also maybe too exciting. People sometimes get too amped up when they think about making changes. They wake up one day inspired and suddenly it’s all new hair cuts and a tattoo and major pronouncements on Facebook. Then a day or two later the sudden surge blows itself out and they’re back where they started. Or, even worse, they’re lower than when they started because the “big shift” didn’t work.
I don’t think reinvention is a hair cut. Or a tattoo. Those things can be outward representations of a reinvention, but the reinvention itself happens inside, not outside. It’s about changing the way you think about yourself and the world. It’s about not settling for who and what you are anymore. It has to come from within, and preferably without huge pronouncements on Facebook. Forget Facebook. This is quiet work and it’s hard.
Reinvention is a process. You can’t just decide you’re different today and leave it at that. The actual change comes from the million things you do and say and think every day. These have to be the extension of things you’ve decided to change on the inside. If you want to reinvent yourself as a fit person, for example, you must first value fitness, and then do the really hard stuff – eat healthy and exercise. Getting fit isn’t a meme on Instagram. It’s choosing broccoli over fries and going to the gym. And then doing it again. And again. And again. And again. Day in, day out. Meal by meal.
It’s the same with anything else. You’re going to reinvent yourself as a better spouse. Fabulous. Day by day you’re more sensitive to your partner. You control your temper. You support. You try to understand and meet their needs. You ditch your ego and stop trying to win all the time. Whatever the issues are, you take them day by day. You work at it. Ideally your partner does too.
You want to reinvent yourself as a professional, working musician. Awesome. You start valuing your craft and practicing diligently, day by day. You start valuing yourself and stop taking “exposure” gigs all the time. You develop better habits like showing up early and not getting wasted on gigs. You learn about the industry. You treat it like a business. You put yourself in the bigger arena, even if it’s intimidating. You develop the attitude and behaviour of a professional and over time – perhaps very quickly – you become one.
But it’s a daily thing, not a one-time shot.
And what happens when you do the work? You begin to see yourself as this new person. You begin to see the results of your labour in your career or relationships or opportunities. You begin to develop self-confidence. Other people begin to notice, too, and they don’t need Facebook to do it.
The thing is people feel like they don’t have it in them to change. They’re wrong. They do have it in them, but I think they sometimes don’t realize how much work it will take. Or they screw up once and beat themselves up and quit. If you’re serious about reinventing yourself, you have to keep going. Apologize where necessary, understand your mistake, correct your course, and push on. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
“John, why are you telling us this?”
Ah yes, that old question. It comes up more and more. Well, partly because this blog is challenging me to consider myself. Mostly it’s the reactions I feel to my own posts and the constant struggle I have to feel like I can post them. Obviously some red flags there. But there’s also the bigger picture. I’m still trying to find my way, and I know there are weaknesses in my internal game that need to be sorted out so I can do the things I want to do.
I’m trying to reinvent myself as a more confident, intrepid, hopeful, and self-valuing person. I’m trying to reinvent myself as a motivator. As a professional musician. As perhaps a different kind of writer than I've been in the past. I’m in the process of change, too, and I’m hoping this post will boost me as much as it might boost you.
Ah yes, you. Maybe you’re ready for a reinvention as well. Maybe you’re looking around and you’re not happy with your health or income or job or home or relationships or where you live. Maybe you’re locked in some sort of drama all the time. Maybe you’re addicted to something. Maybe you have big dreams that remain unfulfilled because you aren’t yet the kind of person who can bring them to life. You don’t need me to tell you if it’s time to change. You already know, whether you acknowledge it or not.
Think seriously about how you need to change on the inside to create what you want on the outside. Identify the specific things you do and say and think that hold you back from being that person. Stop doing those things. Start doing better things. Consistently. If you need professional help, get it. If you need education, get it. If you need mentorship, get it. You absolutely can reinvent yourself. You can start today.