Ever since I was very young I was obsessed with the art and science of reinventing myself.
I looked at the start of every school year as a way to start anew and show up differently. This year, I’d say to myself, I’ll do my hair everyday and speak up in class. Maybe I’ll even get to sit in the back of the bus with the cool kids.
But then, a week in, there i was again, violin in hand, hair in a messy bun before it was cool, sitting in the back of the classroom trying to disappear. It never worked, because every time, I was the same me underneath: nerdy, quirky, painfully shy, and terrified of being seen. And on top of that, it was always the same kids who hadn’t heard about my commitment to be new and different and cool. They went about their lives as if nothing had changed, not bothering to ask about my important summer transformation.
As an adult, I’ve found ways around these limitations and frequently toyed with showing up differently to see what would happen. Ultimately, I’ve found ways that allowed me to iterate, time and again, until I was able to show up more and more authentically and powerfully me.
The two things that I have found to be absolutely necessary for reinvention were the exact two things holding my reinvention back in school:
- You need to fundamentally change HOW you show up, which requires things like experimenting, changing how you see yourself, and ultimately faking it til you make it.
- It's helpful to practice BEing differently in a new community that does not require you to change their minds about who you are.
Every time I move, including my most recent move to Seattle, I see an opportunity to create new routines and ways of introducing myself.
I lived in DC for seven years and spent five of those in education. My entire network knew me as a teacher. I found it incredibly challenging to “rebrand” and be taken seriously as the entrepreneur and the Georgetown accredited, International Coach Federation certified executive leadership coach that I am.
I’d watch people’s brows furrow while their eyes seemed to scream, “but you’re a teacher, who are you to coach executives!?”
The same is true, still, even years later, of family members who haven’t seemed to allow my status as an outspoken activist, advocate, entrepreneur and leadership coach to fuze with their understanding of the meek teenager or quiet school teacher.
With each move, however, I have been able to start anew.
I’ve gotten a chance to not only practice introducing myself as an entrepreneur and leadership coach, but to also create a community around me who only knows me as such. It supports the evolution of my identity in my own heart and mind, which helps offset the imposter syndrome of evolution.
If you’re feeling the pull to reinvent in 2020, you’re not alone. Here are 8 tips to help you through the process:
- First, experiment. You may think you know precisely who you want to be. Get out of your comfort zone and try it on for size. Remind yourself that everything is an experiment.
- Visualize the new you in all parts of your life. How will you spend your day? How will you engage with family? Friends? At work? Visualize an entire day, start to finish, as mental practice.
- Evaluate who is in your life. Will you need to evolve your friend group as you evolve? Will a new job better support the new you? Are there people who you know will champion you?
- Cultivate a strong and supportive inner circle. Start with yourself and your inner dialogue. Make sure the five people you surround 5 yourself with understand and support your new wave length.
- Commit to the new you in thoughts, words, and actions. Visualize and use affirmations to declare who you are. Practice the art of being in a new and different way.
- Reflect the change in your physical environment. Get the haircut, upgrade a few pieces in your wardrobe, clean out your house and make the changes to what you and others see daily.
- Reflect the change in your online environment. Mass unfollow those who don’t jive with the new you and fill your feed with those 8 who do. Update the you on Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Live out loud. Be authentic and honest. Be transparent about your new direction and make it known.
Are you hoping to reinvent yourself in 2020? Have you tried to reinvent yourself before? What happened? Share your story with me below.