Have you ever tried to reinvent yourself? Chances are, if you ever considered or tried it, you found yourself stymied. What exactly do you need to do to create a new you? In what ways would you be different, if you succeeded?
Frankly, I really don’t believe in personal reinvention. In fact, even as a personal brand strategist, I don’t much care for the idea of creating a personal brand. As I see it, any effort undertaken to develop and project a contrived image into the world is pretty much the same a developing a substitute to stand in for you.
This is not a new idea.
If you listen to classic rock, you may be familiar with The Who’s song, “Substitute.” Rumored to be their desire to be a substitute for the Rolling Stones, the lyrics are a wonderful commentary on the blurring of image with reality:
“But I’m a substitute for another guy
I look pretty tall but my heels are high
The simple things you see are all complicated
I look pretty young, but I’m just back-dated, yeah”
Being a substitute, band co-founder Pete Townshend wrote, is like being born with a plastic spoon in your mouth.
If you agree with me, you probably can see that “reinventing” oneself or “creating” a personal brand is at best very hard, and at worst like sentencing yourself to living inside a box determined by limited choices that may not let you bring out your very best.
So, what to do?
Well, I know that it may seem simplistic, but the first step is to see who you really are. Some ways to do this are:
- Do some introspective exercises that reveal your values, vision, passions, purpose, and strengths;
- Get feedback from other people, either by asking them directly or by using a survey instrument;
- Spend time discovering and developing your story, and find the themes that you bring to your career and life successes.
- Answer some basic questions about your career, including what you most love to do, who you most want to work with or serve, and how you can make a difference for them;
- Taking some time to focus on some transformative behaviors that allow you to make a difference. *
And finally, if you find yourself getting stuck, it’s a good idea to work with a coach or trusted advisor. And if you’e interested in coaching, contact me to learn more.
# # #
* Yes, I know. I linked to a Seth Godin post about…ahem…ways to reinvent yourself. Forget that – but do look at the behaviors!!