I have been looking for a word that properly describes the process you go through after the mothership that isn’t too overblown, or trite, or freighted with unhelpful meaning. Having run through the options, I hadn’t found what I was after.
Transition doesn’t quite work for me and has been overused by the organisational consultants. In the way that every deliverable is a ‘solution’ these days, every change has become a ‘transition’, with the overblown expectations and fees to accompany it. It’s also a bit impersonal (hence the need to prefix it with the word ‘personal’).
‘Career Change’ is another term with an industry of consultants built around it. It also seems too narrow. When I left the mothership I had had a career and that came to an end. I had to start something new. Career change sounds to me like something you do in your twenties and thirties, a reset of your career path. It just doesn’t sound right at forty or fifty.
Re-invention is a word that has got some popularity, partly through Dorie Clark’s book “Reinventing You”, but it sounds a bit trivial. It’s what they do on those make-over shows on the telly. A new haircut, have your colours done, invest in some decent tailoring and bingo! – the new you. This is not about superficial changes, there’s no big reveal at the end of this.
‘Starting again’ could apply but it infers that you are beginning anew, from the bottom. Now, I certainly felt like a beginner in much of what I did (actually, more like a naive, gauche, clumsy teenager, to be honest) but I started with 25 years of business experience and a whole load of life skills. Even if I wanted to ignore them (and I didn’t), others could not and there was no way they could regard me and treat me like a teenage school leaver or a recent college graduate. It just doesn’t work like that.
No, none of these words seem to quite fit for me or the people I have tested them with.
The thing is, you have to change and become a different person in many ways but you also want to keep who you really are and what makes you special and unique. There are many things you need to discard and unlearn but also much that you need to keep and continue to use. On top of that, you need to add new skills and ways of thinking, building upon what you have retained, to create the new you.
Then I remembered a favourite talk of mine by Tom Peters, called “Re-imagine”. “That’s it”, I thought, “that’s the word”.
Like when you mash together all your lego kits into a big pile of stuff and build something completely new. You keep some of the bricks but discard others. You use some of the building techniques you have learnt but not others. You come up with some new ideas of your own and, voila, a new masterpiece. It’s not old, it’s not completely new, it’s an evolution.
(I discarded evolution as a word, by the way, because it’s too passive. We don’t make evolution happen, it happens to us.)
So, this is what you have to do. Reimagine you. After all, you imagined yourself to where you are today (whether consciously or unconsciously or a bit of each), so you can do it again.
Now, doesn’t that sound exciting?