Simple? Yes. Easy? No.
Mark Sanborn in his book, "The Fred Factor" talks about how passion in your life and work can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. I've been thinking about how more of us can make this shift lately.
There is a new trend that I have been observing, which is many people are trying to reinvent themselves. And they are coming to me for advice because they have watched my personal journey. Sometimes they expect the secret pathway to how more people can know about their product or service and how they can sell themselves. Some expect to have enough paying customers right off the bat that this new product or service can become their sole source of income. And others are still trying to find out what it is they want to do in the world.
When I ask people why they are seeking help from me, they have shared that they see me as someone who has achieved a level of success that make things look easy. Little do they know that when I rewind the clock to when I first started re-inventing myself, it was anything but easy. I was putting in a lot of hours, connecting with as many people as I could and was willing to work for free, or very little, just to get experience. I was willing to put in the effort and time to get what I wanted. I wish there was a magic carpet that could take people to their new destination but it does not exist.
Reading Mark's book helped me reflect more on this topic and I want to share some tips that helped me along the way, in hopes they will help you.
Celebrate the small victories
Too often we focus on the big goal and get frustrated at how long it's taking to get there. By celebrating the goals you set along the way, you can sense progress. Not only do you feel like you've achieved something, you take a moment to reflect on the how far you just came. One of my goals is to become a professional speaker. I'll never forget my first paid speaking engagement. It was $100 to talk to a group of seniors about social media at the local park district. A far cry from my vision of being a keynote speaker, but it was a start. And I still cherish that moment to this day. I may not be where I want to be yet, but having to opportunity to be a keynote speaker at several events in 2014 have also given me a chance to celebrate what I have achieved and create hope for my continued journey on this path.
Be patient, but don't wait for things to happen
Just like we can't force oil and water to mix, we can't force our big goal to happen overnight. It takes time and we need to have patience. We also don't have to wait to be selected either. Go out and create what you want to see, just be realistic in your expectations. I wanted to start a networking group in my local community and had visions for what it should look like. I didn't wait for anyone to ask me to create this group. I went out and created something. I found a location, put out the invites and hoped a few people would show up. That first event had 13 people show up. 3 years later, over 500 people had attended monthly events and the group still holds events today after I moved away from the area. I didn't wait, but I was patient enough to know it wouldn't be what I envisioned right at the beginning.
Forget what you think you know
The best education comes from having an open mind. When I first started building a community for HuffPost Live, my focus was on converting commenters into on air guests. I spent months so focused on this because it was what we all expected would happen. We had so few successes doing it that way, it wasn't until I opened my mind up to other opportunities, that we found a new group of community members who would want to be on air guests, the bloggers. It wasn't until I forgot what I thought I knew, until we are able to learn what worked. The growth HuffPost Live continues to experience comes from a continual process of iteration.
Reinventing yourself is not complicated, but it's not easy. It takes work and the work never goes away, it just comes more naturally the longer you do it. Be prepared for the journey, and remember to celebrate the small victories, have patience to let things happen, but never be afraid to take action, and don't ever think you have all the answers. The best part of this journey of reinventing yourself is what you learn along the way.