Never in our lifetime has there been a better time to re-invent yourself. The pandemic and economic recession present new challenges, but this is an important moment in history for anyone looking to make changes. Many are being forced into new situations, simply out of circumstance. While it may not seem like it, this could be a pivotal moment in time for anyone else who isn’t satisfied with the status quo in their life.
With so much economic uncertainty many of us face, making changes does pose a risk. The thing is if you’re prepared to take on this risk, you have the potential to reap great rewards. If you’re someone who wants to switch into a different line of work, start their own creative endeavors or dive head first into a side business, this is your time.
Now is the time to get creative
Society generally sends one of two messages: either it tells you to play it safe or gives unrealistic expectations that you can do anything you set your mind to.
The first message limits your mindset and potential. The second lulls you into a false sense of security that doesn’t correctly motivate you to persevere and do the necessary work to get you closer to your dreams. If you were fed either one of those vague ideologies and actually believed it, it’s time to get to work.
For those of us who didn’t exit the womb with a silver spoon in our mouth, financial stress bogs us down. Moreover, young women are often taught about money with the scarcity mindset. Whereas, young men are often taught the abundance mindset. This can create obstacles that you may not even know are stunting your potential for growth.
When you’re taught the scarcity mindset you believe money is limited. You take a more fear-based approach, and so you may make “safer” decisions. But there are ways to guarantee yourself some safety, while still taking risks. And if you want to make it in this new economy, you’re going to have to get creative and take some risks.
Find 1-2 things to focus on
You can’t do it all. I said it. I can’t tell you how badly I want to do it all. I have so many ideas, and so little time to execute them all — but even more, I have so little time to execute them well.
You can throw a bunch of things out into the universe and see which one sticks, but chances are nothing will stick until you focus your energy. The problem with creatives is we have so many ideas sometimes that we can’t figure out how which one we should pursue. So we might do a little of this, a little of that — never fully diving into any one realm but just tipping toeing into the shallows to test the waters. Then we stare blankly at our canvases or screens or notebooks or whatever and wonder what we are doing wrong.
Newsflash: it’s time to figure out what is most important to you and go all in. You’re not always going to feel motivated, so it’s time to get clear on what’s most important and what’s worthy of your valuable time.
And no one is telling you that this one thing is something you have to commit to forever. You could still explore those other avenues down the line.
Spend time figuring out what you should focus on
Don’t just focus on the first thing you think of that makes you happy. Put some time into this. You only get one shot at this life, so what’s most important for you to contribute to the world? If you’re serious about turning your passion from a daydream into a day job, you need to differentiate what is a conventional hobby from what is a potential stream of income.
Let’s go old school: take out a pen and a piece of paper. Make a Venn diagram – remember those? On the left side, make a heading for what you like to do and the right side, make another heading for what you are good at. Create lists for both, and then see what overlaps. Now from there, select the items that have potential to pay the bills.
You might like snowboarding, and you might even be good at it. But if you live in Florida and only snowboard on winter vacations, it’s probably not going to be the money maker.
This may seem obvious, but take calculated risks. There’s no sense in taking a risk just for the sake of taking a risk. If you have done the proper preparation, your plan won’t be as risky because you’ll have the tools to succeed. What you need is a strategy.
This can seem like a catch-22, because you don’t want to spend so much time studying your field that you never get started. But you also don’t want to dive head first into the unknown without any idea of what the life-vest even looks like.
You’ve probably heard sayings like, “You’ll never be ready. Start anyway” or some variation of those sentiments. It doesn’t apply to everything. Depending on what you’re getting yourself into, there is a certain amount of preparation that will lead to more successful outcomes.
For example, if you’re in a creative field, you might need a portfolio to showcase your work to future employers or potential clients. Don’t skip this step. You don’t need a massive portfolio when you’re starting out, but examples of your work can further prove your abilities.
If you’re starting a business or getting into a new field, you should have some business knowledge and ideas on how to properly market your products or services. This doesn’t necessarily mean going back to school. Check out books from the library. Watch Youtube videos. Follow people with similar businesses on social media. In other words, do your homework.
Reclaim your identity
Whether you’re choosing to reinvent yourself or forced to out of circumstance, there is so much to learn from this time. This may be one of the hardest times of your life, and you’re not alone in that. Everyone is going through something they have never gone through before. But if you are in survival mode, now is not the time to do what you’ve always been doing.
Entire industries are being disrupted right now. Most businesses are re-imagining the way they operate and continually pivoting their plans. So what you have been doing may not even be in the realm of possibility right now. That’s why it is so important to figure out where you’re needed in this economy and establish your authority. It might not be the path that you once dreamed for yourself, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
You dreamed up your future based on a world that no longer exists. Let that sit with you for a second.
So rather than struggling to walk down a crumbled road, pave a new path. Life changed. You changed. Reclaim who you are and what you stand for.
Write as you go
I’m a big planner – sometimes to a debilitating degree. There’s something to be said about living flexibly and figuring some things out as you go. I learned that from somebody important to me.
Something I’m learning to let go is the stress associated with not knowing the outcome of every event. This pandemic proved that life as we know it can change in an instant. Going back to the ideologies that society teaches us, I believe that the idea of following your dreams has its benefits. I just think the way society presents it is problematic.
Instead of chasing a profession as a dream, we need to chase a mission.
Once you know your mission, decisions will get easier to make. How you should spend your time will be clearer.
Every few years for as long as I can remember, I’ve gotten different ideas in my head about what I wanted to be when I grew up. A few years into my career, I’ve realized I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I think that’s okay. It isn’t about how I’m going to earn money for the rest of my life, because that will likely change. But I think my mission will remain in tact.
In its simplest form my mission has always been to help people. As I’ve grown, I’ve fine tuned how I want to go about that.
I want to help design a life and a career that matters to them. I want to help people maximize the time spent doing what they love. I want to help people who have walked through hard things get to the other side and see how much they matter to this world.
So, as you reinvent yourself, the most important thing for you to figure out is your mission. The rest you can write as you go. You only have one life, but if you do it right, it’s enough.