How To Reinvent Your Career And Start Over
By Heather Cherry—
There will always come a time in your life when you feel it’s necessary to reinvent yourself or your career. Sometimes your career gets stale—maybe you feel as if you’re running in the mud (and getting nowhere). Perhaps your job has become overwhelming (or underwhelming), or you’re in search of something that feels more fulfilling.
If this is you—you’re not alone. According to a Microsoft survey, over 41 percent of workers are considering quitting or changing professions in 2021.
The reasons for the shift are varied. For some, their perspective on what a “dream job” is has changed. In comparison, others aren’t happy with how they’ve been treated, including reducing benefits, diminishing work-life balance, or even toxic workplace culture.
Many people who dare to leave their old, unhappy lives to pursue their passions find a renewed zest for life. Ultimately, if you’re looking to reinvent your career or start over, here’s how to get started.
Dive Into Self-Reflection
The hardest part of any change is getting started. But before you can take steps to make the change, you need to develop a firm understanding of who you are and what you have to offer in your new endeavor. You can uncover this with self-reinvention—changing your old ways and learning new things relevant to your goals.
Self-reinvention requires introspection, realizing who you want to be while developing a deeper understanding of yourself. It also requires eliminating bad habits while cultivating good ones—ultimately taking action to help you evolve into a better version of yourself. So get started with self-reflection and ask yourself these difficult questions.
- Am I happy doing this anymore?
- Is this worth the struggles I face?
- What do I like about myself?
- What can I take away from my current situation that will help me?
- Is there something else I’d instead do? If so, what is it?
Your identity isn’t fixed—you are evolving as you learn and experience new things.
Focus On A Growth Mindset
Reinvention is only possible when growth is driving the change. Growth mindset people are permanently improving their intelligence and ability to learn new skills—whether through hard work, training, or perseverance.
Whereas a fixed mindset suggests intelligence is static, making you believe your qualities are final.
When you’re up against the obstacles of reinvention, you may be thinking it’s impossible to change. However, it is scientifically proven that you’re destined to change multiple times throughout your life.
Think about Michael Jordan—he went from basketball player to baseball player to businessman. Reinventing himself time and time again, he’s now a household name that changed professional basketball forever. Then there is Arnold Schwarzenegger who transformed himself from a professional bodybuilder, to Hollywood superstar, to serving two terms as the governor of California.
Focusing on a growth mindset can help you shift how you view yourself and the opportunities ahead. Those with a growth mindset believe that learning is a continual process. They also accept (and even welcome) failure because it is an opportunity to learn and move forward.
Reinvent Your Personal Brand
Humans have a strong need for safety and security, so it will feel even more challenging to leave familiar territory. This is even more relevant if you’re reinventing yourself after you’ve been in one particular job or place for an extended time.
People reinvent themselves all the time—they take on a new challenge, shift into more meaningful work, or rebut perceptions of hindered progress. Sometimes the shift is subtle, and it might be as simple as a slight change to your everyday routine.
Here are five steps to reinvent your personal brand.
- Define your destination: Decide where you want to invest your energy. Then you’ll need to elevate the skills that may be necessary to get you there.
- Leverage your unique selling proposition: People will remember what sets you apart from the crowd. Identify your distinguishing traits and focus on how they can help you excel.
- Reframe your narrative: Think about how you can spin your previous experience into your new endeavor. Your narrative should be consistent with your past—which may come down to your personality traits. For example, suppose you’re jumping into a completely new role. In that case, your narrative might focus on a transferable feature (like your work ethic).
- Reintroduce yourself: After you’ve embraced your new brand, you’ll need to introduce yourself to your existing colleagues or network. It may be tempting to skip this step, but re-educating your acquaintances and friends about your new journey will help you succeed.
- Show your value: After you’ve demonstrated your ability, find ways to show your value. This might look like public speaking, starting a blog, sharing content on social media, or publishing an article in a trade publication.
Regardless of where you’re at in your career, evaluate your dreams, assess your goals, and think about how your personal brand can propel you forward.
Explore A Range of Options
When you decide to reinvent yourself, anything can happen—including the unthinkable. The unlimited possibilities may feel overwhelming, but they can feel less intimidating when you explicitly consider the most unimaginable of outcomes.
In many cases, you’ve already overcome a similar obstacle—or at the very least, something challenging. Reflect on when you took a stand for something you believed in—or when you regret that you didn’t. Consider the people you’ve identified as “your heroes” and think about what they stood for. Are there common themes between those and your identity? How do these commonalities make you feel?
Now, think about reinventing yourself and starting over.
- What are the best-case and worst-case scenarios?
- How does that make you feel?
When you explore a range of options, including the best-case and worst-case scenarios, you allow yourself to problem solve—allowing you to troubleshoot or problem-solve before it becomes an issue.
Take Steve Jobs as an example. He reinvented Apple into the conglomerate it’s known to be today, but his path wasn’t streamlined. For nearly a decade, he had left the company, returning when Apple purchased NeXT and appointed him as interim CEO. In just one year, Jobs restored the company to profitability—orchestrating Apple’s renaissance with products like the iPod and iPhone.
Reinvention will become evident at some point in your life. It may be sooner than you think, especially if you feel disconnected from your goals or dreams. The rift between who you are and who you think you are will create a barrier to success. Explore the unthinkable, and most importantly, listen to what your “gut” is telling you since it’s closely connected to your brain and plays an essential part in intuitive decision-making.
Heather Cherry is a Marketing Copywriter. Her specialty is authentic storytelling. She self-published, Market Your A$$ Off. She holds a master’s degree in Professional Writing from Chatham University.