How does a person really ‘reinvent’ themselves?

Over the past several years, this idea of ‘reinventing’ ourselves has become a very popular concept. I have watched C-level executives move from corporate arenas to entrepreneurship, from a hardware/software orientation to a cloud/full service focus, and from senior level directors to full time consultant. Many struggle with how to make themselves matter or relevant in their new arena. It is not for the fainthearted, this I know for sure. Fields can be crowded with those who are not reinventing themselves yet are leveraging long-held positions, experience, and track records in their chosen field. So – how does one truly reinvent themselves? Is it really possible?

I actually believe we have the opportunity, and perhaps even the responsibility, to reinvent ourselves every day. Our reinvention effort does not have to be tied to a complete 180-degree career change or a shift in our primary industry focus. Frankly, to not keep honing and refining ourselves renders us obsolete and we will fall behind in a highly competitive world. A few thoughts to consider:

1. Continue to GROW and learn. This means reading, listening, absorbing, and integrating new ideas and approaches. By default this means you will add more value – which in essence enables you to differentiate yourself to your clients and customers. Doing things the same old way is simply not good enough. Try new things – practically (not academically) to enhance your offerings.

2. Have a reason to reinvent. Reinventing for the sake of reinventing is an empty rationale. What is driving us to change our game? More money? More purpose? More contribution? Whatever our rationale, it needs to be tied to something greater than ourselves to have sustainability.

3. Leverage smarts and experience. Being smart is not enough. We  need to do something with our ideas, subject matter expertise, and experience. We will not be successful by collecting degrees, certifications, or even multiple positions. We have to use these experiences to deliver value to others. So – keep a running list of cool ideas, ways to apply what we know and what we have learned…then do it! They mean nothing unless we execute against them.

4. One day at a time. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think a year in advance. Sometimes a day is about all we can fathom! Alcoholics Anonymous has mastered this concept, and we can all learn from it. Take one cool idea a day – and do it! This could be a Pilates class, a new marketing letter, or a new approach with a difficult employee. Think about it – if we did this, we would have executed 365 NEW ideas in a year. Wow – that is a powerful way to move the needle.

5. Finally (and this one is hard for me) – keep your eyes focused on YOURSELF, resisting the urge to compare yourself to others. Over the past several years, along my own journey as I move from corporate experience to entrepreneurship, it has been tempting to look over my shoulder and ask the proverbial “what if?” question. This does not serve me well. I am running my own race – as we all are. It is a lot more fun – and frankly, more positive – to benchmark where I am now and where I want to be versus comparing myself to others. At the end of the day, reinvention is all about positive change and growth within ourselves – and everyone is on their own individual path.

What do you think? What tips do you have relative to the concept of reinvention?