The Art of Reinvention & Self-Reflection
“Breaking your own mold can only make you stronger and more confident to reach higher levels in your professional and personal life… In order to be more creative, you have to try new things, see things in a new way, put pieces together in a new manner.” - Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, therapist and author of Better Than Perfect.
"Doing what you always do will only give you what you always get” is a quote from last week’s post on How to Grow Some @#$!ing Balls that seemed to resonate well with a lot of readers and I’m so impressed to see/hear the ways you guys plan to implement that this year. My intuition has always led me to believe that effective personal progression comes from taking the time to reflect and strategise how to tweak minor changes in ourselves, our thinking and our behaviour for continuous growth. That's what I want to write about today: further ways of embracing change for positive reinvention through self-reflection.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CHANGE
Generally, humans are adverse to change. We’re creatures of comfort, seeking out rules and routine to help us predict, plan and make sense of a rather chaotic universe. While we all want to progress, whether in work, relationships or in our own self-development, more often than not the fear of change holds us back.
Yet, no matter how much we fight it, change is inevitable and is the only constant in the world. So, instead of rejecting it, I try to embrace it and find ways to manage my own change for the better. Change is what brings about growth, so if I'm not changing, I'm not growing. Without it, things plateau and very quickly become boring. Comfort zones are great but nothing grows there!
Artists like Madonna, Bowie or Rihanna constantly work on reinventing themselves and we learn from them that it’s never too late for a refresh, as they keep coming back with a new sound or look to engage their audience or develop their craft. There’s great value in drawing inspiration from the concept of reinvention - of continuously pushing ourselves to try new things, whether making changes to your blog, re-strategising your career or spicing up a dull romance.
Change naturally brings about re-invention, whether extrinsically (e.g. losing a job) or intrinsically (e.g. making a personal decision to do something different). Extrinsic changes happen to you. You lose your job or go through a breakup and have to manage that in order to survive - change or die, as they say. That’s usually the type of change that brings about a stark reinvention - a new hairstyle or move to a new city - as you’re forcibly dragged out of your comfort zone to shed your old skin and become the new and improved you.
But it doesn’t always have to be so aggressive. With an intrinsic change, you have a choice in how you maneuver through life, bringing about the kind of reinvention that develops slowly and steadily. It’s not necessarily about tossing out the old and starting anew, sometimes it’s a quiet reflection of the areas in your life that you’d like to improve upon. I find that by making a couple of small changes every day, I can impact the person I am, the work I create and the relationships I keep.
THE POWER OF SELF- REFLECTION & 7 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
A small way to kickstart the reinvention process is just to spend some time self-reflecting. I like to check in with myself daily, so as to make tiny adjustments to my thinking, behaviours, goals, etc… - changes that might just lead to a greater reinvention later on.
Whether in the form of quiet meditation or spending 5-10 minutes noting your thoughts down in a journal, here is a list of reflective and practical questions you can ask yourself at the end of each day, week, month or year, to mindfully be aware of you and your life:
1. WHAT WAS GOOD AND BAD ABOUT TODAY?
...& think about how you dealt with each situation.
2. WHAT DID I LEARN & HOW WILL I APPLY IT TOMORROW?
...we should always be learning, whether through new experiences or reading, etc... If you're struggling to answer this question, start actively seeking small ways to grow each day.
3. WHAT DID I OVERCOME AND/OR DID I DO ANYTHING TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL PROUD?
...this is about assessing how we deal with stressful stimuli and reminding ourselves that we can manage the difficult stuff. If you did something really good or handled yourself really well, praise yourself for it!
4. WHAT DID I DO TODAY FOR MYSELF, OTHERS OR MY FUTURE?
...I don't think we have to hit each one every day but you might become aware of a pattern developing e.g. you do more for others than yourself or vice versa, therefore can readjust accordingly for better balance.
5. WHAT MADE ME SMILE, LAUGH, FEEL JOY VS. WHAT FELT TIRING & DRAINING?
...do more of that of the good stuff and less of the draining stuff.
6. WHAT AM I GRATEFUL FOR?
...it's so important to be grateful and remind yourself of all the great things you already have going for you.
7. HOW DO I FEEL RIGHT NOW IN THIS MOMENT?
...spend a min just sitting with yourself and acknowledging your feelings. I like to throw words around my head to try and describe my current state of emotions until I find one that really sticks. It’s not a judgment thing, it’s just a noticing exercise and feels good to give yourself a little attention :)
Feel free to skip questions if they don’t apply to you right now or ask yourself more. You can give one-word answers or explore each question deeper. Recognise any resistance to questions. The emphasis is to simply start processing, to notice and take control of the changes that are happening or that you can make in your own life regularly. Let me know how and if you find it helps your reinvention. Happy reflecting!