It’s strange, really: You know you’re not the same, nor are the circumstances, but you resist it anyway because it’s out of the norm, a bit uncomfortable but mostly tough.
Starting anew, starting again or starting over -- however you choose to spew it -- can be daunting and definitely overwhelming. But it is a necessity if we want to contribute our talents and abilities to the world. It’s necessary if we want to play on a higher level.
When I walked away from a television news broadcasting career and started my company, I entered a very different world and things couldn’t have been more different. For years, reporting the news of the day was routine and had become “normal” for me. I was receiving a steady paycheck and benefits, and I built a decent nest egg. Things were like my favorite Holly Hobbie blanket -- good and comfortable (and if you remember Holly Hobbie, congrats, you came from a generation of big hair and cut-out dolls).
I didn’t fret branding issues because I was a part of the station's brand. I didn’t bother with the comings and goings of promotions, that was someone else’s job. Commercials, billboard ads, headshots, and personal appearances were managed by a talented in-house team.
When I made the decision to start a communications company, Rising Media LLC, it required a long hard look at myself, and I encountered many challenges that I wasn’t prepared to tackle (and from what I now know, no one is never really quite prepared for it). I wasn’t the same woman who had, years prior, delivered the news to a ready-made audience. I had changed. I had a lot of questions about that change and very few answers. It seemed that most of the people who were victorious in re-starting or starting over a career or business all had very different ways of getting there, but the advice was unanimous: You’ve got to figure it out for yourself.
It took time before I realized that I needed to reinvent myself. It took more time to understand how to do it. There was an urgency looming over me. I knew if I wanted my business to survive the start-up phase, I better get with the program and do so quickly. But there was one question: What exactly is the “program”?
Once I carved my way out of confusion, I began studying other entrepreneurs that danced with recharging and renewing themselves. One after another, I read their books and articles and took detailed notes. What was most interesting is that no two people chose the exact path.
“Refreshing!” I blurted out loud. There was no formula or proven strategy. That gave me room to stay true to myself and invent a brand that was not only inspired others but one that was indeed a true reflection of who I am.
As I previously mentioned, there are many paths to reinvention but there are a few things I have found that works for everyone. These seven thoughts should be included in your planning.
1. Reeducation: Buy into yourself. Sign up for conferences, take a class at your local college and read, read, read! Starting over can be a great move if you’re doing so with a fresh perspective. It is a challenge for anyone desiring to start again with the same old mindset which will likely get the same old results. Keep your mind sharp, study and interact with other achievers, it’ll give you a big boost.
2. Take Small Bites: One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to do a complete over-haul. They want to redo it all in 3 days. Admittedly, we live in an instant gratification society but here in “ReInventLand,” we must pump the brakes.
Do everything in phases. Starting out I had three phases and my allotment of time and finances helped determined which item from my to-do list would go in which phase. You may have more phases or you may add on as time moves forward but you can’t do it all at once. Sorry multi-taskers, you just can’t.
3. To Move Forward, Take a Look Back: Take a trip down memory lane and list your jobs. Tally up all the things you liked about the work of your past. What made you feel accomplished? What seemed like passion instead of a chore?
From there, take the top two or three “likes” and run with those assets. Use them to help narrow down you next move for a new job or a start-up. Allow this to be your foundation.
4. Get Ready: It’s Lonely…but You’ll be OK! When I left the newsroom, I also left behind some colleagues that became friends, a network of people in my database. I left behind the 9 AM and 2 PM meetings during which we discussed the happenings of the day. The daily email chains and phone calls to and from contacts and interviewees were also gone. I also walked away from being “seen” every day.
My circle closed.
While we have access to stay connected with people from the past, it gets old quickly because they’re back at work and you’ve moved on to something else. The conversations are minimum.
You are essentially starting over, and you’re building up. Loneliness comes with that downtime.
New clients and new people will come, but know that it takes time.
5. Write What’s Right: Oprah was right, writing in a journal is powerful. It helps flush thoughts and it opens the passage in many ways. On the road to revamping yourself you need fresh ideas and perspectives. Some days, your creativity might be held hostage by fear or doubt. Write any-way. Keep journaling ideas and track those spontaneous thoughts.
Before I landed my first sponsor of my Woman of Power Leadership Conference, I had two note-books filled with ideas and strategies for the event. I wrote descriptors of the types of people I wanted to do business with. I wrote about the relationships that would be formed and all of the goodness we could all share in. It’s amazing how writing your thoughts, dreams and desires can help design your future.
6. Strike a Pose: Remember the old Hollywood slogan, You ought to be in pictures? Well it still rings true today. If you are revamping, consider starting out with a good headshot. One that cap-tures you in the moment of your new campaign. Never underestimate the energy that surrounds you as you reposition your footing. In this fast-moving digital world, a quality image gives people an idea of who you are. We’re a visual society, take the time to put a well-intentioned photo out on all of your social platforms and releases. Often times your smiling portrait is the first thing new clients will see. Ask yourself a very important question: What do you want them to see, your profes-sional headshot or a poorly lit picture of you from 10 years ago?
7. Unfollow the Masses: Be unique. Follow your own muse. We’re all wired differently but we still try to make ourselves fit into what’s popular.
What works for most people may not work for you, and spinning your wheels trying to make it work can be costly. Don’t be afraid to stand out, in fact embrace it- be different and be extraordi-nary. It’s totally acceptable to be yourself as long as you accept you for who you are and what you stand for. It’s all good!
As a rule of thumb, know your wheelhouse in and out and don’t sell yourself short on any of that knowledge. You can’t do it all but you can do what you do best and do it well.
Let’s do this!
Raquel Eatmon is the CEO of Rising Media and the Founder of Project Heard and WoP Confer-ence. She is a former TV news anchor and enjoys speaking to audiences around the world on Media, Women’s Equality, Leadership & Entrepreneurship. Connect with her here through Project Heard.