My personal reinvention (which I’ve just properly recognised)

I’m sitting in a Munich hotel room ahead of a service design workshop in the morning and I’m reflecting on some very deep and wise words from Reinhold Messner, a speaker at a recent event. He was the first person to climb Everest without carrying oxygen and set an innovative new direction for climbers (whilst demonstrating to the doubting medical community that it was physically possible).

Going up…

He spoke about personal reinvention and how after losing 7 toes in an accident he had to change the type of climbing he did. That set him in a new direction where he conquered Everest, all of the other super high peaks in the world, Antarctica and much more.

Everest selfie. You would, wouldn’t you?

He spoke about these challenges and how each time he moved to a new type of challenge it was a personal reinvention. He had to learn new skills, for example navigation on Antarctica. He changed the way he funded trips, and other different elements of achieving his new goal.

He said these periods of reinvention were spaced unevenly, one phase may last 5 years, another 10 years. He’s just completed his 6th reinvention by opening museums dedicated to his climbing efforts and sustainability, and now he moves on to his 7th which is film producing – he was about to fly to Nepal to complete his second film.

One in a series of six museums

I like the idea of recognising the reinventions we all go through in our lives and careers, and I feel lucky to currently be in my service design phase. Starting at Capital One where I learned design thinking, facilitation and training skills and worked on some great projects, and now at E.ON where I’ve had more training and the chance to work on projects that will influence what will happen as the world of energy decentralises.

I feel like I’ve found my home and I’m comfortable and confident working with people in design sprints, workshops and more. Now I’m wondering what (and when) my next reinvention might be and how connected it will be to what I’m doing now. Hearing Mr Messner talk about this concept means that I’ll be more conscious of opportunities to reinvent myself and might spot them earlier. I certainly wish I’d come to service design earlier in my career.

At the start of the year I posted my first service design blog about the service blueprint which went down well and led directly to my first public speaking opportunity on the same topic which was well received at a design meetup — DXN in Nottingham.

I wonder if I’m starting to sow the seeds for a future reinvention…

Me, now. The seeds of a new direction? Who knows…