At some point, we’ve all felt a burning desire to shake things up. Maybe it presents itself as an itch to move to a new city, the end of a relationship, loss of a job, feelings of complacency or perhaps you’re simply fed up with your current lifestyle.
Regardless of the circumstances, if it feels like this chapter is coming to an end, it behooves you to embrace it. Letting that part of you cease for now allows you to recalibrate and chart your next course with the right mindset.
Reinvention is a healthy part of our continual evolution as we have new experiences, learn new things and become more whole as a person. Those who understand this will reinvent themselves several times over the course of their lives; which will allow them to adapt and stay relevant.
This is similar to transformation in organizations, whereby people used of think of change as an initiative or event. However, in today’s progressive, fast paced, global landscape, change is constant. It’s a mindset and a way of operating.
As someone who manages transformational change in organizations, I’ve found many of the same building blocks used to enable sustainable, large-scale changes can be applied when spurring transformation on an individual level as well.
Vision – First you need to get crystal clear about where you want to go. Brainstorm and think big sky, anything is possible here. Who, what and where would you want to be next? And most importantly you need to understand why. Understanding your ‘why’ will provide the motivation you’ll need during the difficult and uncertain times.
Once you’ve got a solid understanding of what you want the future to look like, make it concrete by writing it out detail by detail, in a way that speaks to you.
Role Models – Next, look for others who are already doing what you want to do. This will help crystallize the vision you have for your future self. Even if you don’t know these exemplars personally, you can start by visualizing them and asking yourself “What would this person do?” or “How would he/she approach this situation?"
Key Behaviors – Once you've clearly mapped out the vision for your future self, take a hard, objective look at where you are today in comparison to that vision and identify the gaps. Ask yourself what key behaviors you will need to start, stop and continue in order to bridge those gaps.
Realign your Behaviors – Look at the list of the key behaviors and put together a tactical plan of exactly how and when you will make those changes.
Track/measure: Tracking and measuring your progress towards the new goals is a good way to hold yourself accountable and course correct as you go.
A few things to help along the way -
Environment: We can have the best intentions to change our behavior, but our environment often sabotages our progress. In order to increase the likelihood of success, it’s a good idea to alter your environment in ways that will encourage your desired behaviors and discourage the old behaviors. For example, if you are trying to eat healthier, remove all junk food from your home and stock it full of fruits and vegetables.
Don’t Communicate: In organizations, communicating the right message to the right stakeholders at the right time is critical. However, when it comes to individual change, it tends to backfire. Telling others your goals and plans sounds like a good way to hold yourself accountable, but research has shown for many people, simply talking about achieving a goal makes their brain react as if they had accomplished the goal, decreasing the motivation to actually do it. Another reason telling others about our plans may hinder us is that often times, the people in our lives hold a particular view of us, and some even have a vested interest in keeping it that way. Changing aspects of ourselves forces those around us to re-examine their currently held beliefs about us, and even about themselves. For some, this can be very uncomfortable and they may resist.
So the key takeaways are:
Get clear on what you want and why
Create a roadmap of how you will get from where you are today, to where you want to be
Track your progress and adjust as you go
Make it as easy on yourself as possible by altering your environment to support your goals