A Reflection on Reinventing Oneself

Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking to almost 60 people attending a lunch sponsored by the Women in Networks (WiN) group at Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific here in Singapore.  The group’s executive sponsor Elizabeth Hernandez approached me about presenting to the group after seeing an article which featured the reinvention stories of my friend Carol and I.  See the article here.

She asked me to share my story with the group and provide a few key lessons that might resonate.  Although my personal story is about leaving a 20-year career with one company to pursue an entrepreneurial path, I believe there are potential lessons for anyone looking to find their next…whatever that may be…their next role within the company they already work for, their next pursuit of a hobby, or maybe even their next stage in life.

Below are the five things I summarized at the end of my talk.  If you are interested in seeing the entire 16 minute video overview, please click here:  http://youtu.be/GeoRsTH8N2g

In the meantime, here are my five learning points from this journey over the last two years:

  1. Reinvention might not be the right word.  There is a lot of good that is already there.  We shouldn’t just throw that all away and start from scratch.  We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  Perhaps a better word choice to describe the process is regrouping, refurbishing, redirecting…you choose!
  2. It takes a lot of hard work to figure out and match the needs of a healthy business, career or other outcome (whatever that may be for you) with the your own personal needs, desires and passions. It requires a relentless introspective approach about your own strengths, gaps and motivations.  There are lots of tools out there to assist.  It also requires a similar level of discipline to understand the needs of your potential “customer”  in ultimately finding where that sweet spot exists.  Then, go make a plan to get there.
  3. Once you do the homework, subsequent analysis and plan execution, be open to new learning and redirection, but also trust in yourself and your own convictions.  Be bold.  Put yourself out there.  Talk about your plan.
  4. Find out who are the true “supporters” of what it is that you want to do– those that understand and want the best for you…those that will be your cheerleader or sounding board when you need it most. If you can’t think of any – go find them. They will help you get through the low times and celebrate with you in the high times. For me, much of this came from the ReGroup (see story above).
  5. This is not a task to be checked off the list. It is an ever-evolving process. You will try some new things that you think are your absolute passions, but will discover otherwise when you dig a little deeper. But this takes time.  It is not something that is learned in one discussion. When you do the work described above and start to see and understand your own personal patterns over time, you will know that you are at least headed in the right direction.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the direction in which we are headed, that we forget to celebrate the progress we have made.  This opportunity to summarize and share my experiences over the past two years with the group at HP felt extremely rewarding.  Thanks Women in Networks group.  Now, there is more work to be done!  I’ll keep you updated.

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