Yes, I am writing to you. Take it seriously. I am fully convinced that you are going to have to reinvent yourself. Yes or yes. There is no way back. Professional (and personal) reinvention has always been one of my topics of interest. In fact, in my life I have had and wanted to reinvent myself on several occasions. And I have no doubt that you will also have to reinvent yourself, specially with the current crisis and its huge consequences in the economy.
In the 20th century, professional reinvention was something very anecdotal, not frequent. During last century, most professionals, after completing their first stages in the professional world as apprentices or fellows, used to find a profession and a company … and they stayed practically their entire lives in it. They were ascending or not, depending on their skills, their ambition, and other factors … and ended years later retiring in the same organization. In the last part of the 20th century, many workers, perhaps, did not work in the same company throughout their lives, but they did work mostly in the same sector of activity. It was usual for someone to make a career in a professional sector and in a specific activity. After spending a few years in a company, some changed for different reasons, but usually the sector of activity and the professional function were the same. Reinvention was very rare: some professionals who by vocation wanted to start a new career in a field that was really of their interest, or people who, after an economic crisis, after being laid off or after a personal crisis, decided to reorient their career and reinvent themselves professionally. As I said before, only a small minority.
Now, well into the 21st century and with all the changes that the COVID-19 crisis will bring, I am fully convinced that the vast majority of professionals are going to have to reinvent themselves. Yes, you probably too. And before this imminent professional reinvention, I wanted to share with you some ideas about it.
The first is that you can reinvent yourself for conviction or necessity. That is, you can do it with a positive motivation, being clear that you want to do it or you can do it because you have no choice. Obviously, in the first case, the results achieved by most professionals are much better, more sustainable over time, and reinvention brings higher levels of personal satisfaction and happiness. Since 2001 when I started my professional activity as a consultant, I have helped many professionals reinvent themselves. And I can guarantee you that there is a big difference between those who are determined to follow their passion and those who reinvent themselves because they have no choice.
Second, you must prepare as soon as possible for this (imminent) professional reinvention. In this sense I recommend you to analyze the following aspects:
- Who. I mean your target audience, that is, who will you help in the future. Your target will probably change long after the crisis. Surely they will no longer be the same people or companies … and if they are, they will have significantly changed their way of being and behaving.
- What. You must rethink what is your what, that is, what professional activity you will develop, or what value, what needs will you want to satisfy in others. Begin to think about what your target will need with all the changes that the crisis will bring. And start (as soon as possible) to prepare for it.
- How. Probably you’ll also have to change your how, I mean, how you help your clients. We are moving towards a more global environment, with greater importance in the online world, with more remote work… Start thinking about how you are going to develop your professional activity.
- Why. Perhaps the most important question of all. With the crisis and the confinement period at home, many professionals have had time to think about what they really value in their lives. They have thought about the meaning of the work they have been doing. It is a great time to rethink your purpose: why are you going to do what you are going to do after your (imminent) professional reinvention.
Sorry to be so frank, but I am convinced that your professional reinvention will be really inevitable. You decide if you are cause or you are effect. If you face reinvention reactively or proactively. Your attitude is going to be key in your professional reinvention. And I finish with a quote that I love and perfectly summarizes what I wanted to tell you in this post. “The only one thing that scares me more than change, is staying the same”.