The process of starting over is a scary one.
You can replace “starting over” with “trying something new” or “taking a different road” or “reinventing yourself.”
Think of starting a new career in an industry you don't have experience in.
Think of going back to school instead of getting a mortgage.
Think of donating everything you own and travelling the world for a year.
Think of leaving your 9-5 job to pursue your creativity.
Basically, any life-altering change that causes you to realize, oh, there’s no predictable outcome.
Stepping into the unknown is always uncomfortable. You might be risking some of your financial security and giving up a little personal freedom. Plus, there’s that all-too-familiar fear of failure.
Because what if you put all this energy and passion into recreating this new self or chasing your personal BHAG and it falls completely flat? What if your dreams right now, right this second, don’t amount to anything in the future?
What if you burn through your time, money and effort, and then have nothing to show for it?
I feel anxious just writing that out. All the “what if’s.” This thought pattern is where people get stuck. I get stuck here all the time.
The uncertainty and loss of control is scary. But let's think back ten years ago. How old were you? Would you want to be doing the same thing that former-you was doing? Acting the way they were acting? Going through life with the same thoughts and behaviours?
There are aspects of my former self that I love, but I do not want to still be in the same place today as I was then.
We can either choose to stand still or move forward. And despite how difficult it is, every time we take a step in a new direction it turns out to have a lasting impression on the course of our lives.
Maybe it causes you to meet the right person, find a new career path, or have an incredible adventure. Or just learn a lesson (even one that you won't be aware of until later on).
We need to stop missing out on the possibilities that happen when we say no to standing still and yes to reinventing ourselves.
It’s ridiculously easy to continue straight along the road you’re on and hit cruise control. And, hey, this method works for some people (maybe?).
But what if when we hit a crossroad we turn left or right – even if the open road in front of us looks predictably sunny and carefree. Let's see what else is out there.
Because you can’t just sit around doing the same thing over and over and expect different results.
If something isn’t working in your life, you have the right to course correct.
As Jen Sincero says in her book, You Are a Badass, "Nobody who ever accomplished anything big or new or worth raising a celebratory fist in the air did it from their comfort zone."
I can guarantee your path won’t end up the way you expect it will. So, yes, there’s the risk of taking a chance on yourself and it failing. Failure is inevitable though, and it’s not a setback — it’s part of your growth.
The defining moment is when you get back up and keep trying. Keep reinventing yourself.
Take a chance and bet on your potential. How many days, months, years, can you go before you start lamenting about the time when you could have written a novel, or could have sold your paintings, or could have gone back to school?
Dear god, I don’t want to have a false sense of nostalgia over things I could have done.
Sometimes it takes a drastic event for you to wake up and realize something needs to change. Sometimes it’s a slow, progressive build until you realize you’re burnt out and desperate. And sometimes, one day you wake up and you just decide.
But it’s always a choice. It’s a deliberate decision to choose yourself instead of letting others choose for you.
In the words of James Altucher, "Nobody reinvents while sick in bed, hanging out with people who are no good, not exercising their creativity muscle, and not being positive in the face of almost certain failure."
As hard as it is, don’t wait. Get up and start moving. Give yourself approval. Just go for it, even though that moment when you’re about to make a change is usually when people will say you can’t.
No one else will give you permission to change your future.
You’re going to be so many things in your lifetime. You’re going to make choices that will affect your future every day. Stop waiting for the right time, the right advice or the right feeling.
Now, if you're thinking, hey, Chelle, I hear you. But how do I reinvent myself?
Below are the resources that I use for inspiration in continuing to push myself every day.
Reinvention is scary and uncomfortable and beautiful and empowering all at the same time, all mixed up together in your personal universe.
Don't be afraid to be someone today who you weren't yesterday.
. . .
Read the Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Reinventing Yourself from James Altucher. It's a voice of reason while you're trying to stay afloat.
Listen to the podcast Don't Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller (start with episode 3) to drag you out of a creative slump.
Pick up a copy of You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. Every chapter is full of honest wisdom.
Read Is Your Life *Actually* a Good One? Can You Even Decide? What Does Good Even MEAN These Days? by Ash Ambirge for the ultimate pep talk.