25 Lessons in Life and Career Reinvention

Some New Year’s resolutions sound familiar: Lose weight, exercise more, quit a bad habit, prioritize family. But, whether you are unhappy with your current situation or you realize that’s finally time to pursue a lifelong dream, starting it can be daunting.

Reinvention is a Process, Not a Destination

As founder of ReinventionWorks, a digital learning platform that provides tools, networking, and education for those going through reinvention, I’m no stranger to the career reinvention process.

Not only am I on my third career reinvention, but I have conducted close to 50 interviews with people who have successfully transitioned from one career to another. Their stories are diverse, inspiring and instructive.

Some of the transitions include a book publisher who went on to run a conference for pet lovers, an attorney who became a digital analyst, a marketer who’s now creating an interactive system to teach young girls how to be entrepreneurs, and many others.

They may come to their reinvention from different starting points, but they share common lessons learned that anyone today could find useful.

Career Reinvention: 25 Lessons in Life and Your Career

If a career reinvention is in your future in 2016, get ready for a big dose of motivation in the following lessons learned from the experiences of these fellow Reinventionists:

“Stop being intimidated by the word Reinvention. It’s all just about learning, and that’s something we should be doing every day.” Saul Kaplan, Founder, Business Innovation Factory.

“This may sound simple, but start with something you love to do, that makes you happy…and for the right reasons.” Rob Graham

“Take chances. Try something new. Push beyond your comfort zone.” (multiple interviewees)

“Experiment – If you’re not sure what you want to reinvent to, dabble for a while.” Yvonne Divita

Constantly be looking for the next phase of your life. Every few years or so, write a business plan for yourself, your life. Work it out on paper — it’s a lot easier to put into action that way.” Rob Spider Graham, Principal, Certified Sales Training, who went on to quote Mark Twain: The only person who likes change is a wet baby.

“To help think about confidence and overcoming your discomfort, read The Confidence Code by Katty Kay, particularly if you’re a woman trying to reinvent.” Holly Lichtenfeld, Founder, Bright Girls Company.

“Once you make a decision, go at it relentlessly.” Richard Duval

“You have to have a persistent vision of your goals and your desires. You need to believe in what you’re doing because if you don’t, no one will believe in you either and you’ll always give yourself an escape clause to not really try at reinventing.” Rob Graham

“You have to have a certain amount of ego, particularly in a creative field, but present it in a balanced way.” Richard Duval, VineLines and Duval Images.

“Make a point of meeting new people…all the time. Schedule it and quantify it.” (all interviewees)

“If you plan on raising funds for your business venture, don’t rely solely on social media. It’s great for awareness, but not so much for conversions. Instead, directly email people you know or reach out to your LinkedIn contacts.” Holly Lichtenfeld

“Participate in activities, even if you don’t necessarily think you belong there because you never know when an opportunity could present itself. If you plan to go into business for yourself, always be selling yourself.” Richard Duval

“Don’t be a focus group of one. Everyone needs a sounding board.” Rob Graham

“Surround yourself with people who believe in you or who push you to believe in yourself even more than you do.” Holly Lichtenfeld

“Seek out other people on the reinvention journey with you.” Richard Duval

“Seek out a mentor or advisor.” Yvonne Divita, Co-Creator, Blog Paws; Founder, The Lipsticking Society

“Surround yourself with people smarter than you.” Richard Duval

“Overcome your fear to ask for help.” Holly Lichtenfeld

“Help other people. It can help you, too.” Yvonne Divita, Holly Lichtenfeld and Rob Graham– who emphasizes, “Don’t be the person who’s always taking and not giving.”

“There’s nothing wrong with keeping your day job and working nights and weekends on something that you really love to do, so you can find a way to segue to it…or test your level of commitment to reinvent.” Rob Graham

“Learn from your failures, large and small. Ask for input when things didn’t work out as you expected.” Richard Duval & Rob Graham– who added, “Failure is the best teacher you will ever have.”

“Create a tool you find useful to help you goal set or forge a new direction.” Holly Lichtenfeld has a white board where she posts her near-term goals; Saul Kaplan uses a brown paper bag!

“Study your new market/path” (Richard Duval), and “Conduct research and read…a lot!” Yvonne Divita, who recommends the book, The Art of Work by Jeff Goins.

“Reinventing into an entrepreneur isn’t necessarily for everyone, and it’s not necessarily fulfilling for everyone…but having a fulfilling career is about constantly updating your skills.” Holly Lichtenfeld

“Take those small steps. You have to start somewhere.” Saul Kaplan

Don’t let another year slip by wishing you were doing something different. More than half of all employed Americans—roughly 60 million people–are dissatisfied with their jobs. Although change is hard, frightening, and overwhelming, millions of people have been through it, and no one has to reinvent alone.

Let the advice of these wise Reinventionists motivate you to make 2016 your year of exciting and positive transformational change. Do what you love!

Image Source: Pixabay

Featured photo credit: Reinvention/Gerhard Bögner via pixabay.com

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