Don’t Bother Reinventing Yourself
Posted August 5, 2016

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Solution CrossroadDon’t Bother Reinventing Yourself
By Tim Ressmeyer
August 6, 2016

There’s lots of talk about re-inventing yourself for a new career, your 2nd half, an encore career, etc.

My thought – don’t bother.

Ouch! Does that mean if you’re feeling stuck you shouldn’t try for something else?

Whoa! But isn’t that exactly what you did, Tim? Didn’t you leave a corporate role to become a coach? Isn’t that a “reinvention?”

There are two reasons I prefer not to use the term reinvention when I work with people looking to make a career transition.

1. Reinvention Sounds Very Daunting

People making a change are not always operating from a position of strength or confidence. A late-in-your-career layoff can be devastating. Making a significant career change because of a lifecycle disruption (think caring for aging parents or an ill partner) is hard enough. Feeling like you have to invent something as well can be frightening and overwhelming.

The career people have developed is typically not a true invention, but rather a sequence of decisions that led them to this point. Or, as I like to call it, an Accidental Life.

If inventing something is defined as originating or creating a product out of one’s own ingenuity, you may feel you are starting from scratch. That’s a tall order for someone who might not be in a really good place.

2. Reinvention Minimizes What You Have to Offer

You are more than the job title or career you are leaving behind. If you believe you have to start over, everything you have done to this point is minimized. You do have skills and talents that led to successes and accomplishments. They served you in one way to this point; in the future they will serve differently.

Leaving a career as an salesperson, executive, nurse, attorney, or hospitality worker does not mean that is all that you were, and you have to start all over. In each of these positions you might have also been communicator, leader, problem solver, or counselor along with a host of other strengths and skills.

Those are all skills you have honed and applied in the past. No need to reinvent! The next step is to identify and create something using what you already bring to the table. It’s not as daunting a leap, and it maximizes your natural and developed gifts, strengths, and passion.

For me, I looked back at my true skills, and what I really liked to do. I acknowledged there were things I wasn’t as good at, and if I didn’t need those skills moving forward I would instead focus on my strengths, and invest in those.

When you look honestly and your strengths and gifts – and pat yourself on the back for what you really bring to the table – you are able to shift your energy and see new opportunities. Sure it will take work to move from nursing to being a small business owner, or from being a restaurant manager to running operations at a retail establishment, but it’s not reinvention.

It’s uncovering and leveraging what you have, and confidently moving forward to make it happen.

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