Sometimes, one of the things that happens when you have a significant life-change is that you come out on the other side of it and discover you have no idea who you are anymore. This is especially true if you’ve been married for a very long time and now you’re not. Your identity has changed for sure - you’re not a “spouse” any longer. No longer someone’s “better half,” or soul partner, or better yet, partner in crime. You’re on your own. By yourself. And who are you, now anyway, by yourself?
This is the question I had to ask myself after Brian died. Who am I as a single woman? Am I really any different now that I’m not married. Well, of course I am. The things I think about and attend to are radically different now. The things I do and places I go have definitely changed. And now that I have autonomy and independence that I hadn’t had in over 30 years, who am I? What do I like…by myself? Where do I like to go and what do I like to do? And what do I NOT like to do? And never want to do again? These are questions I needed to find out so that I could actually life another beautiful life.
And something else changed, too. Because I had decided quit my corporate job in order to stay home and raise our three children, it had been a long time since I was in the workforce. But I needed something that would supplement my income. No longer could I just be a volunteer in various ministries like I had had the privilege of doing before. I needed a job. But who was I? What could I do? What did I want to do? What would make me feel fulfilled and also bring in the money that I needed? Do I like to work? Or maybe I really enjoy my freedom better. How can I have both?
It was then that I realized, I had to reinvent myself. Now, celebrities and actors do it all the time when they feel like their reputation has gotten stagnant or even when they want to break out of being pigeon-holed in certain roles or stereotypes. So, sometimes reinventing yourself is not due to a tragic event, but just because you decide you want to. Just because you’re looking for more fulfillment in your life. Reinventing yourself can include, for example, changing your career, changing relationships, your appearance, your hobbies, changing your location - any or all of these at the same time. But true reinvention takes place when you change what’s on the inside - how you think and believe and behave. That’s the place to start.
So, the first step to reinventing yourself is to get to know yourself. Ask yourself questions, just like I did, to bring awareness of who you truly are, what brings you joy, what is your driving purpose? It may be as simple as starting with asking yourself, “What kind of dessert do I like? If I didn’t have to share or consider anyone else in my decision, what would I choose?” You’d be surprised how many people don’t even know this about themselves. Really. But then you can work from there. “What kind of TV shows do I like to watch?” “What do I want to do on a beautiful Saturday? What would make me happy?” What are somethings that I’ve never done because I’ve always had to consider others, but I’m dying to try? Like ballroom or country dancing, or playing golf, or traveling in an RV. And then be sure to ask yourself whyyou like these things. Find out why watching a certain type of TV show makes you happy. Really dig into the “why” because it’ll bring some good awareness. Here is a good place to find out what things you don’t like…and why? Again, digging into the “why” might reveal that you’re actually scared of something. And again, find out why. What is it that’s stopping you from living fully?
The second step, which is an extension of this self-awareness, is to find out what you think about yourself, and what you think others think about you. You can start by simply finishing this thought out, in bullet points or paragraph: “I am (blank).” And then move on to: “People would describe me as (blank).” Here, you also want to question “Why?” Why do I believe these things about me? Why do others think this about me? I actually have a guide sheet that you could download that will help you on this section. It’ll give you prompts like these to open up self-discovery. It’s a game-changer in finding out what you really think about yourself. And with that awareness, you can then make healthy changes if necessary. I’ll put a link in the show notes so you can download that pdf for free.
Okay, now that you’ve gotten to know yourself better, it’s time to make some choices about what’s next. What’s old that going to be thrown out, and what’s new that’s going to be added? The best way to make decisions is based on your core values. That’s the third step. Define your core values. Core values are those things that represent your highest priorities, your deepest held beliefs, and the passions that drive you. For example, some of my top core values are faith, family, integrity, connection or love, and peace. You can actually go to the Googles for a list of core values when you’re ready to make your list that might help you prioritize them. But from this list, I make all my decisions. If I want to consider a new career, I ask myself, “Is it in alignment with my faith? Does it support or perhaps hinder my family? Is there integrity within the organization and my role in it? Is there opportunity for connection and relationship with people in a loving way? And does it bring me peace? Does it create peace? Or instead, will it create chaos in my life? Knowing your core values allows you to make decisions easily when reinventing yourself.
Now, the fourth step is to seek God’s plans for your life. He is the One giving you direction, opening up doors, nudging you by the Spirit towards it, giving you divine revelation and revealing things to you that you have not known or seen before. God is expecting us to seek His opinion on this. He wants us to ask Him what HIS plans are for our life. He is Omniscient, He knows all things, so it makes sense that He knows what’s up ahead and He knows what’s best for us.
Psalm 127 verse 1 says “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” When reinventing ourselves, you are literally building something new. You! And if you’re going to build yourself anew, it just makes sense as a follower of God that you would let Him draw up the plans, provide the resources needed, and get it done. So, invite Him into your reinvention.
Reinventing yourself may sound like a lot of work. Sometimes you’re forced into, but sometimes you just get to decide if you want to. Either way it’s possible. And it’s kind of exciting. The possibilities are endless. Really! I want you to just use your imagination - your wildest imagination - to see who you could become.
Albert Einstein said, "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." He’s saying that it’s imagination that gives wings to knowledge, by pointing the way to new possibilities. If you’re a little stumped and your imagination isn’t letting you dream in a way that brings life and new possibilities, I would suggest you become a “possibilist.” What is a possibilist, you ask? Well, I talk about this quite a bit in episode number 41 if you want to go back and listen. But a possibilist is someone who is actively on the lookout for the possibilities in the world. Someone who believes anything is possible.
Friend, I encourage you to reinvent yourself. Do it! Don’t stay stuck or pigeon-holed. The world is your oyster. There’s nothing stopping you but you. And as you’re going through the steps, don’t skip over step number four: seek God’s plan for your life. Because we know that with God anything is possible. That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 19 verse 26. If you’ve invited Him into your reinvention, then you can be sure that it’s going to be beautiful and it’s going to be good. Another beautiful life.
Friend, I hope I’ve stirred something good up in you today. Hope. Possibilities. And a four-step strategy to reinventing yourself. Don’t forget to download the free pdf guide that will help in your self-discovery. If you’d like some help in your reinvention, I’d love to be your Life Coach to get you there.
I’ve put a link in the show notes for a free 30-minute call just so we can see if we’re a good fit to work together and show you how Life Coaching would work for you.
Have a great week, friends, full of possibilities. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.
Calendar Link for Life Coaching Consult Call: https://calendly.com/triciazodylifecoach/30min
PDF Guide - Reinventing Myself: Who Am I?
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