Yesterday I got a call from someone who’s reading my book, The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention. She’s interested in working with a coach to help her navigate a career change, so she reached out to get some information about how to hire me. She did not react well when she heard the news: I no longer work with individuals one-on-one.
What happens when you’re sailing merrily down one path in your reinvention, only to realize you’ve changed your mind about what you want? (My switch came as a result of deciding it was time to devote myself to projects that aligned with my original mission–helping people on a mass scale.) Here’s what you can expect, along with some tips that will help you chart a new course:
It hurts. Many times we’ve got a lot invested in our original reinvention dream, so it can be a big blow to the ego to do an about-face. Much of my success as the “Queen of Reinvention” was built on working with individuals and small groups, so it was very painful for me to have to say no. But one of the core tenets of reinvention is what I like to call “ruthless self-honesty.” This means that you must listen to your heart and be willing to act on what it says, even when it’s difficult.
There may be fallout with others. My team member who spoke with the caller reported that she sounded somewhat angry and upset that she couldn’t hire me. This is the second fact behind changing our mind: When we decide to pursue our goal in a different way, oftentimes people are unhappy with us. This can stem from feeling like we’ve wasted their time or, as in my case, their wanting us to do something that is no longer in alignment with what we want.
Now I’ll admit that I like people to like me, so I was bothered by the fact that the caller was mad. But another lesson of reinvention is this: if you try to please everyone else, you’ll end up not pleasing yourself.
Expect resistance–from yourself. When we’ve put time, energy and effort into a particular path, there can be a lot of internal resistance to changing course. This was a big one for me: after spending nine years building my company based on one-on-one and small group coaching, I had HUGE resistance! (So much so that it took me six months to admit to myself that it was time for a change, and another six months to admit it to my clients.) When faced with this roadblock it’s important to give yourself time to work through the decision, but you can’t let yourself off the hook for making the change. Remember–your dream is at stake.
In the end, we resolved the situation by offering to send the caller a list of other coaches we could recommend. And this outcome demonstrates one of the most fundamental truths of reinvention: Never be afraid to make a change, because the spot you vacate is perfect for someone else!