Every now and then you will feel down. Your career will look meager to you when you look back and you won’t feel your accomplishments as such. You will feel dull and boring, and tired and it just won’t make sense anymore…and it will show. Eventually, if you don’t move away from that feeling, your performance will slow down, you will miss targets and your overall reputation will decay. It is that bad yes, and the world is that cruel, yes.
But you can change that by reinventing yourself. Of course you can do that a number of times before you’re out of “re-inventions”, but there is no actual known limit to how many times you can reinvent yourself to get back on your feet. Entropy might explain it better: there is a limited amount of energy available to use and that accounts for you as well. Truth be told, each time you think of what reinventing yourself can take, you just sigh and go down another level.
If that’s the case, the answer is simple: you have been doing it wrong. The whole idea of reinventing seems to carry over an unspoken concept: reinventing means you can’t use anything you’ve used so far, you can’t do anything you’ve done so far and you must be and do everything differently. Well, no wonder you are getting too tired to even think of doing it all over again.
The thing with anything unspoken is that it can be deceiving. Reinventing yourself does not need to mean you have to change 100% of what you do or are. It just mean that you may need to find a variation for some of the things you’re used to do in a certain way. Change enough of them and you will find yourself slowly changing who you are, into something different which basically means…you will have reinvented yourself without completely changing who you are and what you do.
Think yourself as a total made out of modules, as if you were made out of Legos. If you wanted to change your outfit all you would is remove the legos that make up your torso and change them for other ones. If you wanted a new hat, you would remove your lego hat and find a new one. The advantage of this approach is visible but let us also make it explicit: being modular allows you to change the overall without changing it all in the process.
That feeling you experience when you are down and just don’t want to go through your routine anymore is the first warning and should also be the very first pointer as to what needs to be changed and how. The most common error we all make is read those signs either too late, or too wrong. We are used to powering through crisis until we can’t take it anymore. That’s when we read and our interpretation is total, biased by the moment we read the signs on: too late.
Reinventing yourself then seems impossibly tiring and you might even think there’s no sense to it. It feels as if changing meant stop being who you are and becoming something else when it actually means something closer to “hey, what if we do it differently tomorrow?”.
Don’t try changing all the bricks at once, just focus on those that will take you back up. You do not need to change it all, just the part that’s not working any more.