Reinventing Yourself: How and Why to Change Paths

Reinventing Yourself: How and Why to Change Paths When I worked as a sports agent, I began hearing comments from people outside my profession that went like this:

Wow, I bet working in sports is fun. I don’t really love my job, but it pays the bills.

I suppose it is too late to transition into another field that I might like more.

I only have 15 more years in this and then….

These are the voices of people who aren’t engaged in their work. They likely don’t feel they have an opportunity to do what they do best each day, and they probably don’t have someone who encourages their development and believes their opinions count at work.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because this group is a big majority. Last month, Gallup’s report on worker engagement found that 2 out of every 3 workers does not feel involved with, engaged in, and committed to their work.

My heart breaks thinking of those stats, and when I hear the stories behind the numbers. The dissatisfaction comes through in one-on-one conversations, emails and letters. The question they ask the most is:

How did you reinvent yourself??

Six years ago, I shifted from a sports agent to owning my own business where I speak 50 or so times a year to companies and associations. I also coach executives, help build teams, and get them involved in e-learning. In broad terms, reinvention demands first having the courage to ask yourself:

What is at risk to make a change?

Am I willing to take that risk?

If I don’t, am I fulfilling my personal mission and using my gifts the best I can?

More specifically, reinvention involves three important, simple things.

1. Unify Your Tribe

Reinvention can be awfully lonely as you leave one familiar world to enter an uncertain one. It’s a lot less fearful when you find your tribe. These are people who understand where you are going and why, and can help you get there.

Your people don’t necessarily have to be close to you. I drew tons of inspiration from the University of Oregon Ducks football team and their “Win the Day” motto of practicing and competing.

Instead of being consumed with winning a national title, the Ducks focused on making each day, each moment, as excellent as possible. This mindset demanded that they forget about yesterday and tomorrow, and did the work they needed to do in the present. With this outlook, we move to where we most need to be, and create the biggest outcome with our skills and talents.

When I shifted from sports agent to speaker, I leaned on authors and speakers who were already where I wanted to be, and asked them for advice. I leaned on entrepreneurs for advice on growing my company in areas like e-learning. They inspired me and advised me; now we do that for one another.

You will need emotional support. When I took the risk to leave a comfortable job as a sport agent, my wonderful husband Fred supported my vision. I needed his patience, his ear, his understanding and belief in me. You need relationships with people who believe in you and can keep you believing.

Your tribe can be your spouse, your neighbor, a parent, your college friend, your aunt, uncle, college professor, former coach—you may have a few, but you need them to remind you that your vision is worthwhile, to keep you believing, to hold you accountable and to support you.

Be it close or far, unify your tribe of supporters.

2. Stay Focused on Your Vision

You will have tough days, so make sure you are rock solid on your why. When you lock your vision—your why—you can suffocate the doubt that creeps in when it gets tough.

Put notes everywhere to remind yourself of your why: your screensaver, your notes on your phone, sticky notes on the mirror. Imagine finishing your year and write an annual report describing the current state of yourself and your business. Pretend it’s three years and do the same.

When you have moments of doubt, read these descriptions for re-inspiration of why you took the risk and stepped into your mission. When you have clarity, you banish doubt.

3. Practice Grit.

Work your tail off. Period. When golfer Dustin Johnson won the recent U.S. Open, he redeemed himself for giving away the title the year before. In between were 12 months of working mentally and physically. He invested his time, resources and himself so that when he absolutely nailed his approach shot to the final green, he wasn’t experiencing an accident or luck.

He prepared for it. He envisioned it. He practiced it. Grit helped him stay focused in the final round when the USGA waffled on whether to penalize him.  That could have been a deal-breaking distraction, but Dustin was too focused to let it get the best of him.

Your Game Changer Takeaway

Don’t settle for less than what you can uniquely give the world. Dare to be engaged in your best work now. Remember this formula: Tribe + Vision + Grit = Reinvention.

With the support of key people who believe in you, you’re in position to pursue your vision through the difficult times of doubt. As you do the hard work of reinvention, you’ll build grit. Let me know how your reinvention is going and what you’re learning!

Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Her e-learning courses spark both personal growth for individuals and corporate development for organizations. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.