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Reinventing for These Times
By Laura Berman Fortgang,
Author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction

As third quarter draws to a close and the fourth one creeps up on us, it is only natural to evaluate and review. For a lot of us, that is nothing new since it's been a year (or more) of having to make new plans and alter our status quo. It's been a time of re-invention. Whether by force or by choice, whether it has been an individual looking for direction for their life and work or a company or organization struggling to find its prime revenue stream, there has been a collective 'itch' to find the core of ourselves in order to redirect the future.

RE-IN-VEN-TION -- to create again in different form -- a conventional definition that I would like to challenge. We usually think re-invention is a radical change -- an extreme turn to a new direction. It may be, but it also may be an evolution -- a peeling back of the onion, if you will, to reveal another layer. It is the next iteration of you. It is bringing what is in you out to be included anew in the package you live and present to the world.

Not too long ago Hewlett Packard underwent a re-invention. They did not have a choice. They had to accelerate themselves to catch up with the look and feel of the times, but in essence, what they had done, was gone back to the core of who they always were. They were leaders in technology. They rode on their laurels for too long and lost their lead. Now, they want back in. They are not 'scratching' what was great about them. They are keeping that and improving on it. That is what I invite you to do.

As scary as this time can be for many people, it is important to stay positive and keep taking thoughtful action. You can't afford even a day off.

As Thomas Edison said:

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

What must you do to improve what already works?

What does not work that must be sacrificed?

What have you left behind that is begging to be let back in?

What skill or product needs your attention to really fly?

What is naturally emerging that may not seem like a logical choice but must emerge nonetheless?

With our current circumstances, many people are being forced to reinvent because their industry has shrunk or they are unexpectedly unemployed or re-entering the workforce. Those who are still employed could stand to explore reinvention as well, since it is in the air and could come in handy. Here is an acronym for REINVENT.

Retro fit your strengths
Take stock of what you do well and recognize where else they could be used.For example, I coached a man who led construction crews and now there is no construction work. His strength as team leader who commanded respect and got good results is a skill that can be used in many industries. He needed to play that up on his resume.

Explore past dreams
Now is the time to take action on dreams or passions that went unfulfilled. What do you have to lose? Another client put his love of cooking back into use to get employment while he waited for other opportunities in his field to open back up. Someone else is honoring their old dream of being a teacher and launching a new career after years as an executive.

Invest in yourself
An advanced degree, a course just for fun, a sprucing up of your wardrobe, a change in appearance or an appointment to take care of a long-term ailment are all ways to invest in yourself as you reinvent. Doing something that makes you feel good and worth more in your own eyes or the eyes of an employer is what I am referring to here.

Negate naysayers
When you are digging deep to reinvent or find what's next, you need positive, patient people around you. Keep naysayers at bay by putting distance between you or being very clear about what you can and cannot hear or tolerate from people. (It's OK to say so, really!) Also, you may want to keep away from the TV news or reading the paper, which could instill fear and keep you from following your instincts as you reinvent. Sometimes reinvention is about beating the odds and you have to believe it's possible so stay away from bad news.

Vet your creativity
Jobs that can be done cheaper elsewhere (like China or India) or that can be automated have already been reduced or terminated. Those that can use their right brain and innovate are the talent of today and the future. It's time to nurture your creativity like never before. Practices that can reignite it are: meditation, the arts (just to explore, you don't have to be good at it) and improv, to name a few.

Expel the 'shoulds'
Yes, there are the realities of paying the mortgage and keeping food on the table but let me remind you there is never a good time to make a change. You just make it and watch divine providence follow. As I tried to explain at a lecture last night, it is hard for new opportunities to show up when you are mired in worry and 'shoulds'. Those things we don't really want to do but HAVE to do (or so we think) are 'shoulds'. Even if it's just for a couple of short weeks, see what your life would be like if you expelled the 'shoulds'. How might you take new risks or break the mold?

Network into luck
Reinventing requires you letting everyone you know know that you are headed in a new direction. It is putting yourself in opportunity's way that will help great luck find you. You have to get out there and take chances meeting new people and helping old ones change their perception of you. To have results in your reinvention, you have to connect with people who can help.

Take continuous action
No matter how hopeless it can seem sometimes, it is important to stay in action. Keep searching, keep researching, keep meeting people, keep exploring, keep meditating, keep journaling and keep your spirits up.

Reinvention can be quick but often it is slow. However, in eighteen years of coaching, I can't think of anyone who was sorry that they did it.

What is naturally emerging that may not seem like a logical choice but must emerge nonetheless? Now is the time. REINVENT to a brighter future.

©2009 Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction

Author Bio

Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction, is a pioneer in the life-coaching profession. A renowned speaker and the president and owner of InterCoach, Inc., a full-service life-coaching business that works with individuals, small businesses, and corporations, she is also the author of The Little Book on Meaning, Living Your Best Life and Take Yourself to the Top. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

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