Five Stories We Tell Ourselves About Self-Reinvention

As far as I’m concerned, there’s never been a better time to reinvent yourself.

Partly that’s due to the self-reinvention that’s going on inside of me, but mostly it comes from the collective place at which we’ve arrived. We’re poised on the edge of new territory and many of us are hoping our world is on the brink of reinventing itself. All of which makes us much more willing to ask:

Why not start now with my own personal self-reinvention?

Of course it feels especially risky during uncertain times. But perhaps that means there’s no better time to go for it, because the proverbial decks have already been cleared: we’ve been mutually foreclosed, furloughed, laid off, 401K-depleted, and salary-reduced, so what have we got to lose?

Rather than battening down the hatches, maybe it’s time to hoist our sails and proclaim the Coast is clear.


As I write this I realize it sounds a little like I’m talking about some kind of nautical fresh start. Self-reinvention is more complex, though. At first glance, it appears to be about the call of the “new” and “different.”

When you scratch beneath the surface, however, self-reinvention is truly about discovering something old and ancient within, which requires us to dive deep to claim the parts of us that are unlived and yearning to be expressed.

And that’s the tricky part, my friends. Because in that transition from here to there, you (and me) will encounter thunderous internal and external static. Red flags will abound.

So be prepared!

I tell myself (and others) that among the best ways to prepare are to know your story, patterns, and history, and how they will show up during your transition.

So here are five common stories that may trip you up on the way to self-reinvention, and some suggestions to begin to deal with them:

  1. The Responsibility Story: “I’m responsible for so many things/people/situations that I don’t have time to reinvent myself.” Flip this story by recognizing that true responsibility starts with you, and works outward. If ever there was a time to embrace this, it’s now. Give some of that responsibility back to others, and for once put yourself first.
  2. The Scarcity Story: “Nothing ever works out so why bother trying?” Flip this story by connecting with others who are committed to reinvention. You will be pulled along by their enthusiasm, and begin to cultivate your own.
  3. The Perfection Story: “If I can’t be the best I won’t even consider it.” Flip this story by recognizing that human beings have to make mistakes before they get really good at something. Making mistakes makes you better at what you do, because you learn and grow from them.
  4. The Magic Story: “If it doesn’t come easily/fast then it’s not meant to be.” Flip this story by recognizing that magic happens when you take an active role in creating it yourself. And if you fully embrace the process of reinvention, rather than waiting for magic, you may be surprised by how fast things actually do start to click into place.
  5. The I Just Want to Have Fun Story: “It’s too hard, too much work – it will cut into my time for the rest of my life.” Flip this story by recognizing that reinvention can be fun too, and that if you are pursuing something you truly value, you are fully capable of creating joy in the doing of it. In fact, it will actually give you more energy for the rest of your life.

Do you have a story about self-reinvention? If so, I’d love to hear it!

One thought on “Five Stories We Tell Ourselves About Self-Reinvention

  1. Pingback: Five Ways to Increase Your Comfort During Transition « Why Not Start Now?

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