Why reinvent when everything seems fine?
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect” — Mark Twain
Impermanence is the only permanence. This makes our need for reinvention fluid.
Abundance is everywhere. Stats like in 2015 less than 10% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty or that the cost to launch a tech start up reduced from $5M in 2000 to only $5,000 in 2011 are impressive.
So if things are rosy, why change?
Innovation and rapid disruption means companies, skills and roles are becoming obsolete and displaced at an exponential rate. Think Blockbuster vs Netflix or Taxis vs Uber. Only 12% or 60 of the Fortune 500 companies existing in 1955 still exist today. Things have always been changing, but now they’re changing faster.
A second reason to reintend is the working landscape. Brexit and the US Presidential election demonstrate how rapid globalisation and technological advancements led people to feel excluded with no control. By 2030 it’s estimated 78 million millennials will make up the U.S workforce. Millennials, by what ever definition have different motivators from previous generations and job-hop at an even quicker rate.
I recall working at General Motors 5 years ago and watching a lovely clay modeller retire after 48 years. It was his first and only job. Reality is, the culture and security of staying in one job or industry doesn’t exist anymore.
Thrive to survive or stay afloat and drown?
While the two reasons above are crucial push factors, what I want to discuss is the key pull factor for reinvention; you.
People can be grouped in two categories of reinvention: those who are ‘fine’ and those ‘suffering’.
If you’re comfortably fine or highly successful you can still grow by reinvention. It’s often the hardest place because there doesn’t appear to be a reason to change. People may look strangely at you or judge you. The key here is to stay true to you. Recognise if you feel empty or numb. That life just flashes by.
If you are seeking a life of purpose and fulfilment, being able to help others through your own freedom and enjoyment, then don’t give up. As the saying goes, the higher you are the higher from you have to fall. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Conversely, if your life is suffering, this should be an even greater driver to reinvent. Somethings are in our control. Others are not. As Epictetus said “We control our opinion, choice, desire, aversion and in word, everything of our own doing”. So life sucks. It’s given you the short end of the stick.
You can change it. It’s a choice, your choice. Choice is a matter of mindset and mindset can be the biggest beast to battle. Change can happen from starting somewhere. Starting is the hardest part.
I am no exception. I began 2017 walking into the office of my respected corporate job after a few weeks off with ebbs and flows. I hoped that things would be different.
My company still had a great culture. Tick.
I worked in a highly coveted, sexy team. Tick.
The conditions were great. Tick.
The people were even greater. Tick.
So what is wrong?
I had changed. I had felt so for some time now.
I knew I had a greater purpose in life. I wanted to be and do more. To find my spark in life. What have I done to inch closer?
After months of deliberating, being crippled by fear and not knowing where to start, I created this blog. Reintention is my 4th attempt at a blog. I know there is heaps to be done on it.
I started and stopped 3 other times. I sat on the name alone for a good two months. Then I realised I had to rid of the notion of “perfection” or right and start.
I used what I refer as the “Steve Jobs Test” from his Stanford 2005 speech to reflect: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something“.
Silently, my answer had been no for a while.
What did it take for me to start?
1. The need to change. Yes I felt like I needed to.
2. Deep soul searching. With the support of a mentor I uncovered mental blockages. It was uncomfortable and quite confronting. I won’t lie. It felt like a shrink session.
Once I overcame those feelings and understood what was holding me back I asked “Can I handle fear “x, y and z?” And the answer was “Yes”.
When said out openly the problems didn’t seem as big at all. They were manageable and deal-withable. Even if they were bigger; once identified you can put things in place to minimise or alleviate them.
I will dive deeper into fears, overcoming uncertainty and saying yes soon.
So whatever it takes for you, uncover what holds you back, prevents you from starting or keeps you stuck.
In my next post, I will start with tools and ways to better understand yourself . Let’s call it a ‘pre-starting’ start.