Movies, metaphors and moving forward
This week I was on a long flight. After exhausting all of the items I had brought to engage myself I started scrolling through the movies. None were really great, none really “sparked joy.” I finally decided any one of them would serve the purpose of occupying my time, so I just picked one.
But not before I decided that this whole process was a metaphor for life, as one does.
We want to be inspired before making a change, hoping that tomorrow will come with motivation and drive, and waiting to take action because none of today’s options seem particularly good. We spend hours browsing instead of picking a good enough option to move us one step forward.
And it makes sense, after all, feeling inspired is great, it makes everything so much easier to do and then we see the payoff of our actions.
However, the truth is, we get to see the payoff of our actions even if we take them when we are not inspired. Crazy, right?
It got me thinking. What if inspiration could be replaced with deliberate reinvention?
This idea of reinvention can be just as appealing, and it starts with the existing pieces, we don’t have to start totally over. We don’t have to be all one thing or all the other.
Reinvention is the action or process through which something is changed so much it appears to be entirely new, to bring into use again.
It’s crazy that we usually talk about reinvention as something that we DON’T want to do ie: don’t reinvent the wheel.
But what if reinvention could be as great as inspiration? What if it could be better?
And what if you can do it without rejection of who you are now, without self-judgment?
I hope you’re as intrigued by the whole idea as I am.
So, the first step in this process is the self-discovery portion. What do you want? Do you ever really think about it? Like really, really think about it?
What do you want your future to look like?
Sometimes this step can be harder than you think. It can take some time to figure out what you would imagine for your future if you actually could tease out all of the expectations that have been put onto you by others and you have adopted as your own.
What do YOU want? Not what other people want, maybe not even what you-from-5-years-ago wanted. Yup, you can change what you wanted at a different time in your life. It’s ok, it’s allowed.
It’s even encouraged.
Maybe today you start with figuring out what you want, and maybe that may take some time to do.
When you’re good and ready, move onto step 2: Evaluate where you are starting from.
This is the beauty of reinvention. It does NOT mean rejecting your old self, it means taking all those parts and moving forward. You don’t have to start totally over. You have a solid base, so many amazing skills, understanding, capacity for compassion, and an ability to be forward thinking. I mean, this is what we do for our patients all the time, we look for strategies and options for them to achieve a healthy and healed future version of themselves.
Why would we want to throw all of this away and start over?
Now that you are reassured that you’re already on the flight, you already know where you’re going, let’s move to step 3: With your future self in mind, pick something to start with. This is where you have to be cautious to avoid being sucked into the trap of waiting for inspiration. Your future self is waiting, and the future is starting every day. Just pick an option and see if it works (just like I ultimately picked the least bad movie).
Make a contribution to your future, any contribution.
It’s really just a matter of putting some of your future into today. It just takes some intention because we naturally spend our energy on today’s immediate concerns, work, bills, and family obligations. They are right in front of us.
But our future is in front of us too, so squeeze some time in for that as well.
And time is the core of the last step: be reasonable with your evaluation of how long this process will take. Reinvention is not a one-day project (although I am a big fan of one day projects) but it is not long-term torture either.
Pick the least bad option and move forward- no inspiration needed, and you still get the payoff.
So… what do you want your future to look like in 3 months, next year, or in 5 years? Does it excite you? If not, you get to change it to be what you want.
Let’s get started.