We’ve spent the last seven weeks talking about reinvention and the need to make some changes in our lives in order to get on with whatever is next for us. Bishop T.D. Jakes states, “In life we can correct the problem by no longer expending our greatest effort in the wrong places.” You may say, “Wait a minute. I’ve had a lot of success working in my current place of employment and career. How could it be the ‘wrong place’?” That’s where our previous discussions come in. We’re talking about how sometimes you can be going along quite well and then suddenly the road stops, the rug is pulled out, or, in a moment, you’ve become yesterday’s news. Your right place suddenly becomes the wrong place, so instead of continuing to give it your best effort, you’ve got to stop and find the new right place!
This is easier said than done. Sure, we can all find a new job, career, or place to reinvent ourselves, but as hard as finding those may be, they aren’t the hardest things to do. Reinvention requires not only physical changes, but mental and emotional changes, too, and when we suddenly must switch gears and put our efforts into new ventures and transformed identities, we often find ourselves hanging on emotionally to what used to be our sweet spot. As difficult as it can be, though, we must let go of what we once loved.
Anatole France stated, “What we leave behind us is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot described this feeling of death of a life once lived and loved: “The transition – sometimes abrupt and at other times protracted – is usually a time of fear, ambivalence, and chaos, during which it is hard to articulate where you are heading or how you will get there, and life feels out of balance and unfocused.” Each of these writers is correct. The process of reinvention is very much the death of one life in favor of another, but it is often thrust upon us unwillingly, causing much angst and fear. Still, if we are to reinvent, we must accept that it is a necessary part of the process. Reinvention requires letting go of what you loved and grieving its loss before you can grab hold of the new life ahead.
John Tarnoff stated, “Processing a loss takes time. But the productive course of action is to move as quickly as possible from protesting the loss and blaming yourself or others to turning the situation to your advantage.” Again, this is easier said than done. No two people grieve exactly alike and everyone will take a different amount of time to get through the process and complete their reinvention. However, it can and will be accomplished by getting to the point of letting go of the past, even a great one that suddenly came to an end, and striving to go forward to the better life ahead.
Today’s reinvention lesson: Let go.
Go and reinvent yourself and lead well.