15 Steps I Took to Successfully Reinvent Myself After Losing Everything
Just because everything in your life is running smoothly right now doesn’t mean that that’s going to last. You may dream of starting a new business. You could move across the country. You fall in and out of love. You lose a loved one.
In other words, life happens and it completely turns your life upside down.
Around four years ago, it seemed like I was living the dream. I successfully sold my startup, had a guaranteed job for a year with a very large salary and was newly married. Little did I know that six months later I would purchase a startup that lost every cent I owned. Overnight, I went from multi-millionaire to broke.
That experience taught me a lot about reinventing myself by adapting to change and rolling with the punches.
Related: How to Reinvent Yourself
If you’re in a situation where you have to reinvent yourself, here are 15 ways that can guide you through this transformative journey.
1. Do you really want to change?
There are times in our lives when we’re forced to reinvent ourselves. For example, when my business failed, I had no place to go but forward. Many business owners are in similar situations. I've found that if you don't want to change, you never will. In my circumstance, I didn't want my family on the street so I forced myself to adapt to the abrupt change.
2. Wake up early.
I was never a super early morning person. And, to be honest, I’m not the type of person who ready to tackle the day at 4 a.m. I have, however, made it a point to wake-up no later than 6:30 a.m. every day.
Once I started waking up earlier I discovered that I had more time to do activities that would make me a better person -- both professionally and personally. I find that nobody is up this early and I can get a lot more done. Especially at work.
3. Prioritize your tasks.
Reinventing yourself doesn’t happen overnight. Remember that hard work I mentioned earlier? That takes dedication and patience. To make the transformation run more smoothly, you should dedicate at least one hour per day towards achieving your goals. That means that you need to prioritize your goals and tasks by creating to-do-lists and time management tools so that you get the most out of your team so that you can focus on reinventing yourself.
4. Attach yourself to the right people.
In today’s interconnected world it’s easier than ever to network with people from all over the world. While people have associated social networking with meeting new friends and finding job opportunities, you can also connect with people who can change you for the better. Seth Godin uses the example of Shepard Fairey. The name may not be familiar, but you know his iconic poster of Barack Obama.
“The Internet helped it spread. The poster connected one supporter to another, became an icon, a freely shared ID badge and ultimately a parody. And in the center of the spread was the artist. While Fairey didn’t make a penny selling the image, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he connected, and that connection gave his art leverage. He’ll never need to look for work or revenue again. It will find him.”
Whether if it’s reading or attending a workshop or webinar, find ways to enhance your knowledge. It will make you a more well-rounded individual and help you grow both personally and professionally. Lifelong learning also makes you more motivated, develop mental skills, and introduces you to new people and thoughts. I like to do this by reading books.
6. Find a mentor.
“Someone has to show you how to move and breathe,” writes James Altucher. There are types of mentors out there;
- Direct. The mentor is in front of you and will guide you.
- Indirect. These are mentors who aren’t physically with you, like authors.
- Everything is a mentor. Altucher states, “If you are a zero, and have passion for reinvention, then everything you look at will be a metaphor for what you want to do.”
If you have mentor that insists that you do things their way, that’s find. Learn it their way and then do it your way.
7. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Try new things, experiment with fun projects. After I lost my business I started several different companies. I tried everything from being a blogger, running an agency to starting a payments company. Some were successful, others failures. What's truly important is that you aren't afraid to try. Do what you enjoy and this will help you figure it out while hopefully making some money in the process.
8. Be honest with yourself -- and others.
You have to be honest with yourself and others along the path. I'm nota humble person. So when my business failed I didn't want to talk with anyone about it. Time to get over yourself. The more people know, the more they can help you. This is very true of yourself as well. Learn to be honest with yourself and face some of those fears.
9. Don’t justify your decision.
Speaking of honesty, if anyone questions your decision, be transparent with them. There’s a reason why you made the decision reinvent yourself and if you have facts and passion to back that up, their opinion shouldn’t prevent you from going forward. And, ultimately, they’re going to have to respect that.
10. Get out of your comfort zone.
We’re creatures of habit. But, breaking out your comfort zone forces you to have new experiences, meet new people, and learn something new.
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, therapist and author of "Better Than Perfect" tells Entrepreneur, “Breaking your own mold can only make you stronger and more confident to reach higher levels in your professional and personal life.” Dr. Lombardo adds, “In order to be more creative, you have to try new things, see things in a new way, put pieces together in a new manner.”
11. Manage your finances.
Reinventing yourself won’t always be free. For example, if you want to change careers, you may have to take workshops or college courses. Because of that, it’s important that you create a budget and stick to it so that you have the funds to complete your transformation.
Here is my tip: take 20 percent of whatever you make and put it into the bank for a rainy day. I like to have at least 12 months personal runway sitting in the bank "cash" at all times. As entrepreneurs we make a lot of money some months and have other months where we don't make anything. Learn to manage your finances better on a variable income.
12. Follow the 24-hour rule.
If you meet someone at a networking event, for example, you should follow-up with them within 24 hours to stay fresh in their minds and begin building a strong relationship. It’s also polite and frees up time since you aren’t letting your follow-up responses build-up into an unmanageable list.
13. Make new lists every day.
When you make lists everyday on the areas that you focus on you’ll notice that certain items will stick and others won’t. Instead of devoting your energy on areas that you’re not passionate about, you can dedicate that energy to achieving a goal that is attainable and desirable.
14. Take one step at a time.
Reinvention is a process that could take years. Don’t overwhelm yourself by getting consumed on the big picture. Take steps to accomplish your end goals. For example, if you want to get in better shape, than the first step would be going for a walk, the next step would be setting a schedule, then getting a gym membership and finally eating healthier. Take it one step at a time.
15. Accept failure.
You’re not going to pick-up a guitar and instantly be transformed into Jimi Hendrix. You’re going to fail a lot when attempting to play “Voodoo Child.” Reinvention takes hard work and patience.
Along the way you have to accept that you’re going to fail. Embrace it. Learn from it. And keep moving forward. Because you can do this.