Those of you who’ve known me for a while might recall that I have reinvented myself several times. After the death of both my parents and my husband in a 20-month time span, I reinvented myself on a massive scale. No longer a daughter or a wife, for the first time ever I was just ME. I floundered a bit before arriving at one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, to become a Mediator. And if you’ve ever had a conversation with me or heard me speak at a luncheon or networking event, you might also recall that I have strong opinions about reinvention. I’ve said many times that I think it’s a privilege, and anyone can do it.  Your age, and the number of times you reinvent yourself are immaterial.

So, what about you? Are you a parent, spouse, partner, employee, sibling, cousin, or team member? Do those labels comprise your identity? When one label changes, how does it affect the rest? Does your identity begin and end with your occupation? I hope not, because what happens when, either by choice or by default, your occupation changes? Does your identity change as well?

Now let’s take a deeper dive into your potential reinvention.  You’ve thought it through and you’re as ready as you’re ever going to be.  Here are some steps to give you an advantage:

Step #1: Ditch the labels. Your identity is much greater than a single label, so it’s probably not a good idea to limit yourself.

Step #2: Find a mentor. Look for someone who’s lived a little so that you can learn from his/her experience.

Step #3: Have some patience. You may not have a passion at the beginning of this reinvention process. Or, you may be super-passionate, but it’s not happening fast enough to suit you.

Step #4: Hurry up. I know, I know. I just told you to be patient. At the same time, you probably won’t get badly hurt if you get on with it before the world (or the opportunity) passes you by. Visualization is great, and so is action.

Step #5: Read books. I cannot emphasize this enough. Reading makes you smarter. Smarter people are generally more successful. Does it matter what you read? You have to decide that for yourself.

Step #6: Make your weaknesses your strengths. If you’re an introvert, remember to be a good listener and a relentless observer.

Step #7: Be grateful. Instead of making the negative list of everything that’s going wrong, try to remember what’s going right.

If and when you reinvent yourself, are you messing with your identity? I can definitely say, maybe. From personal experience, I admit that my life’s actual path has been nowhere close to what I imagined it would be. My identity has evolved and hopefully will continue to evolve as I learn, grow, experience, and change.

Reinvention along the way is not about my identity. It’s about my biography.

Please share your thoughts.  Or your story.  I love a good biography.