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Reinventing Yourself in Changing Times                                                     

by Helen Selenati

Many of us have had to make accommodations in our lives in response to changes in our work environment, personal circumstances, or our own interests and developmental needs. When life offers us an opportunity to reinvent ourselves to meet these changing life circumstances, we should welcome the opportunity with optimism and enthusiasm.

Howard Thurman once wrote: ”Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”

To find out what makes you come alive you only need to look at occasions in your past when you were passionate about something. What was the essence behind it?  What was it that touched and moved you? Think back of occasions when you were so absorbed in what you were doing, that time stood still. This is when you were in the flow and you were alive and living your passion. Each one of us can live our passion if we are prepared to follow our dreams.

One of the first questions you should ask yourself when faced with the challenge of reinventing yourself is: “What would I be doing today if money was not an object?”  It is a fallacy that you can’t make a living by doing what you love. If you can dream it, you can do it. You can live your dream by starting today. The difference between dreams and wishes is that dreams require hard work.

To transform your dreams into reality you need the courage to turn fear and doubt into hope and possibilities, followed by action and results. But first you must be clear about your purpose, intension, and integrity. You have to stand in your purpose before you can start working on your dreams.  Keep your purpose statement simple and short and allow your dreams to evolve from your purpose. The next step is to turn your dream into specific projects with appropriate strategies and schedules.

Once you have a clear goal, share your intention with others in a way that will hold you accountable for your actions. Tell everyone who is interested in listening to you about your plans and you will be surprised how much unexpected support and information you will receive in return. Make specific requests from others that are in a position to help you. Demonstrate your commitment to your plan by doing something everyday towards making your dream a reality. When you set an intention and then act on it to demonstrate your commitment, amazing things occur.

Standing fully in your purpose and being clear about your intention can give you fortitude for dealing with challenging times. It is also important to uphold your integrity throughout the process of building your dream. Keep your agreements with yourself and others and always be honest. Give yourself credit where credit is due and acknowledge that you did what you said you would.

Your purpose becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren’t. Without a clear purpose you have no foundation on which you base decisions, allocate your time, and use your resources. People who don’t know their purpose try to do too much – and that causes stress, fatigue and conflict. You become effective in implementing your dream by being selective in what you do.

In the process of creating your dream, follow what moves you and be more committed to your dream than to doubt or reality. You have to have the courage to make your dream a reality and to overcome the obstacles. You can be successful in building the life you want if you put everything into following your dream, focus on everything you want, and leave the rest out

When formulating your dream you need to be clear and specific about what you want. You need to create a plan and then write it down. A vital part of the planning process is to remove all the obstacles that might get in your way of being successful.  For support you need to build a resource network among your friends and acquaintances.  You should use every opportunity you get to share your dream with others – all the time and wherever you go.  When you are credible and enthusiastic about your plans, people will be inspired to support you and help you.  Make specific requests when you need help and then follow up.  When you demonstrate your commitment others will follow through for you.

When removing the obstacles that could get in the way of achieving your dream you will have to deal with your doubter, confusion, money issues and the fear factor. Obstacles can be overwhelming at times, but your have the choice – you can either have the results you want or the reasons why not. The doubter can be an ally because it has inherent wisdom.  The challenge is to transform the doubter into the realist.  The realist wants to know what the plan is and whether the strategies and schedules are realistic and feasible.

Confusion happens due to a discrepancy between your dream and reality – and this creates tension.  Tension seeks resolution and resolution usually occurs in the direction of most commitment.  Ask yourself: Are you more committed to your dream or your reality? 

FEAR is an acronym for False Expectations About Reality.  Imagined fear causes us to ruminate without action and pushes us towards wishful thinking.  Imagined fear is based on learned, untrue beliefs that have no foundation in current reality and exists only in our minds.  Once you become aware of where your fear comes from, and you become conscious of these untrue beliefs, you can work on changing these. Freedom from fear arises with the awareness of knowing that you are not your emotions or the constructs in your mind.  To create your dream, you need to unlearn your thought systems that are based on fear.

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Not all fear is imagined - real fear has an appropriate object, it is based on facts and can direct us towards what action needs to be taken. It serves to clarify our thinking and guides our appropriate decisions. To get clarity about the kind of fear that you are facing, ask yourself these questions:  Is what I fear happening right now?  What is the probability that it will happen in the near future?  Can I take action to meet it rather than avoid it?  Will my actions increase my growth?  Are my fears keeping me from having what I want?  In following your dream you sometimes need to feel the fear and do it anyway. 

When it comes time to plan your strategies and set the schedules, make sure that your dream is well developed and don’t allow reality to kill your passion.  You need to bring passion to your problem solving and find the courage to take action. Utilize the input form reality to inform you about where you are so you can design appropriate strategies for getting to where you want to be. Your attitudes and beliefs determine the size of the gap between your dream and your reality. You need ongoing action, integrity and commitment to narrow this gap.  If you are more committed to your reality every setback will be sign to stop dreaming.  Make sure that fear and doubt are not projected into your dreams, they belong in reality.

When working with your obstacles, list them and then categorize each one as either a belief or an action item.  Design a strategy to overcome each action item and work on your negative beliefs with your coach or psychotherapist. Attitudes and beliefs are never neutral – we choose what we believe.  It is important to recognize whet your negative beliefs have cost you. All too often it is your passion or your hopes and dreams.

While working on reinventing yourself, it is important to be more involved with the process that will get you to your dream rather than focusing on the end product. Life is a journey, not a destination – don’t just be along for the ride. Don’t wait for circumstances to change – if you change, circumstances will rise up to meet you. Life is full of opportunities, we just have to recognize them and be ready to take advantage of them when they show up.

Helen Selenati is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Coach. She has a private practice in Redwood City and can be reached at helen@selenati.com or by calling 650-596-0807. Also visit www.selenati.com

There is no use in trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

I dare say you haven’t had much practice.” said the queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”                                                      - Lewis Carroll.




Copyright © 2004 - 2017 Helen Selenati