“As we move ahead in life, based on the natural laws that govern human growth and progress, enriched with experiences, and changing circumstances, our roles and goals keep on changing and to keep up with the momentum we need to keep on reinventing ourselves. Of course, we need to always be who we are but there can always be a better you”
These are a few lines that I had penned down five years back when I became a Consultant. I had to decide a name for my company and the word “Reinvent” kept coming back, but I thought it sounded like a formula and decided to reinvent it further and called my company “Reivent”. I realise now, that the fascination with this term was coming more out of my experience, as with the new venture of mine I was reinventing myself. Little did I know that this small piece would capture the essence of my work with people!
A few days back one of my clients read this out (it is printed on the book that I give them) loud and mentioned how it had set him thinking deeply. Now as I read it I feel it could have been worded better, but yet it captures the meaning of reinventing as I saw it then. Admittedly at the same time, today the meaning of the term has expanded.
My Understanding of Reinventing self… Today:
I am a big fan of animation movies and one of my favourites is the Kung Fu panda series. While I love all the sequels, there are a few scenes which I simply adore. Do you remember the first of the series, where Shifu, the master is trying to teach Kung Fu to Po the student panda and is being unsuccessful? Then one day he comes across Po in the kitchen doing a split midair, enjoying cookies. Thus now the master found a way of training his disciple the way that fits him, works for him. In that moment, I feel Master Shifu reinvented himself.
Being an ardent fan of Mr Bachchan and having seen his movies right from the 70s, I always feel inspired when I see how he has reinvented himself in the 2000’s.
My grandmother-in-law gave up wearing her nine-yard sari and got into a five-yard sari as she wanted to move ahead with times and called it a refreshing change. That also is a way of reinventing self.
In my previous days of working in our family business, as I had mentioned, I used to avoid conflict situations and felt it was a noble thing to do. It was protecting me for sure, but also pushing me into a bubble where I pretended that all is well.
As my world expanded and I got into the role of a coach, this behaviour was almost like pulling wool over my eyes and I felt that I was not serving my clients well because of this inhibition. As a coach worked with me I realised I wanted to stop pretending and told myself that whether I am training or sitting with a client and feel that something else is on their mind, I will bring it out in the open and discuss it. Just being vulnerable set me free because I allowed myself to be uncomfortable and have an honest dialogue with the client. I suddenly found myself feeling stronger as I had adapted myself to the new role I had stepped into and this change in attitude has helped create a new perspective in almost all situations in life. This for me is evolution, growth, personal development, re-invention.
Why am I writing this, what is it that I want to share?
As a coach what I see happening is while most people are open to coaching, there is also an apprehension. I feel this hesitation comes mostly from the comfort of living life with our well-anchored beliefs and values. Coaching is also a tool for personal development and enables people to take responsibility for their life and consciously work on reinventing themselves. But most people would rather continue to do what they have been habituated to do and wait for miraculous results.
As I meet people for business, I hear a common thread of discomfort about handling perplexing relations in office, career not shaping well or ways of the management. Now while I completely agree it is not possible to control the fast-moving external world or not feel a tad bit of pity for self, I also sense we have discovered a comfortable way of doing things or approaching problems and then keep telling ourselves this is who I am. Imagine in the movie Kung panda, if Master Shifu had not chosen to reinvent himself, how would have the universe responded?
I see a few friends who keep changing jobs as they are unhappy with their teams and management, and as they share their problems the core thinking is that they want everything and everyone to change, except them. I admit I too have been there and sometimes tend to slip in that place. But sometimes this resistance to look inward and grow can be the point where we miss our bus towards living life fully and completely. We want our lives to get better, have amazing relations and work promotions but then also want to be who were being since medieval times.
Rather than that how about taking a good look at ourselves, sensing, reflecting and shifting? It is about change, yes! But change does not mean losing self. What if we looked at change as a part of growth? Or maybe a way of adding one more dimension to our personality?
I believe change is inevitable. It is the law of nature. While we refuse to evolve consciously we forget that other people, circumstances, our goals, and unconsciously we too are changing and it’s our choice whether to be that child who wants things his way or discover ways to reinvent.
Where to begin?
You may begin in small ways like being aware of self, looking at situations and yourself from different perspectives, associating with people who help you grow. Then slowly move towards breaking the not so useful patterns and develop powerful routines. I will be sharing more about this in the weeks to come.
As we choose new goals and new horizons to walk towards, let us choose to develop and grow into that person who needs to evolve to get there. Also as the external environment is being true to the inevitable nature of change, can we shape ourselves to meet that change in a way where we do not lose our true spirit but just add more colours to it?
“If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be better than what you are” – Master Shifu