Reinvention in 50 Easy Steps

Reboot. Reinvent. Redo.

The times they are achanging and if we don’t change along with them, we will be left behind.

I would write you a long meaty post about how and why to reinvent yourself, but James Altucher already has.

This is the part that has me coming back to this over and over and it has given me the most hope.

F) Time it takes to reinvent yourself: five years.

Here’s a description of the five years:

  • Year One: you’re flailing and reading everything and just starting to DO.
  • Year Two: you know who you need to talk to and network with. You’re Doing every day. You finally know what the monopoly board looks like in your new endeavors.
  • Year Three: you’re good enough to start making money. It might not be a living yet.
  • Year Four: you’re making a good living
  • Year Five: you’re making wealth

Sometimes I get frustrated in years 1-4. I say, “why isn’t it happening yet?” and I punch the floor and hurt my hand and throw a coconut on the floor in a weird ritual. That’s okay. Just keep going. Or stop and pick a new field. It doesn’t matter. Eventually you’re dead and then it’s hard to reinvent yourself.

I’m in year 3. This tells me there is hope at the end of this long, convoluted, scary tunnel.

It’s right about here that the real doubts kick in. That feeling of being on the wrong path, of not being worthy because the results (the money) isn’t showing. This is where all those naysayers inside and outside of my head are persistently telling me I’ve had my chance, it’s time to give up and get back into the real world and get a job.

It’s hard not to believe them. It sucks not knowing for sure. This article has given me renewed determination to keep moving forward.

How about you? Where are you in your reinvention?




Working towards creating Your Effortless Business means trying new ways. Some will work and more won’t. If we view each non-working iteration as failure, we will slowly beat ourselves up and stop trying. But, if we view each as a learning experience and a way to also find out what won’t work we can keep trying until it works.

You only fail when you give up. – Johnny B Truant

This was a revelation for me. I’ve tried many things that didn’t work, and I’d walk away disappointed. Instead, I should have took what I learned and tried the next iteration.

That’s what I’m doing with my latest project and I will post updates here for you to follow along.

Janet Gets a Pep Talk

Knock knock!

Janet glanced at the clock. It was still only 7am. Who could it be at this hour? She tried to shake off the insecure thoughts as she walked to the front door so she could put a happy, public face on.

“Mike! Come in. Coffee? Why didn’t you just come around back?”

“Good morning. Yes, the usual, you always have good coffee. I wasn’t sure if you were dressed to receive, yet.”

Janet laughed at that and glanced down at her cut offs and baggy T. “You have a point there. At least I’m decent today. Let’s sit out back.”

“This really is a little piece of paradise you have here.” They both looked around at Janet’s garden. Janet smiled to herself thinking Mike didn’t know much about gardens if he couldn’t see the neglected plants that needed weeding and deadheading. Those delphiniums needed to be moved into a sunnier spot and the day lillies needed to be divided again.

Mike looked at the neglected plants and tried to remember the last time he had seen Janet’s garden look this bad. It was still beautiful and it was peaceful. “We haven’t talked in a few weeks, Janet, and I wanted to see how you were doing with your business growth.”

“Oh, you know, things take time.” Mike just looked at her. He wasn’t letting her off the hook that easily. “We have more work than we can handle and the two crews are going steady. Maggie is ready to step up to take over ordering the materials and maybe some of the team building. She has great ideas, but it feels like things are coming too fast. I haven’t had time to figure out what to do.”

Mike smiled. He knew exactly how she felt. “Change is hard. It means letting go of the way things were. Most people experience feelings of loss. Odd isn’t it. but true. People also have feelings of loss of control. It’s not unusual for people to go on binges of some kinds as a way to gain that control. Some people will pull back and try to make things the way they were, but you can’t go back. You are going to experience all kinds of strange feelings.”

“So, it’s not just me? I’m not unusual?” Janet joked.

“Oh, Janet, yes you are unique, but what you are feeling is not unusual.”

“Sometimes it feels like I haven’t done anything at the end of the day. I don’t always know what I should be doing. I should let Maggie do more. I should mentor her. But then what do I do? On the other hand, I know I should design systems to make the business run better, but I’ve never done that before. See what I mean. I can spend whole days trying to figure out what I should be doing, all the while doing busy work that I don’t need to do.”

Now Mike was outright laughing. He gave Janet a hug. “Congratulations, you have graduated from self-employed roofer to business owner. You can do this. I know you can. I know it, because you grasp what needs to happen. Running a business is pretty straightforward and it’s not rocket science to make a very good business. But it’s not easy and the hardest work will have to be done in your head. You do know what has to be done and you have the ability to do it and to learn how to do the parts you don’t know, yet. As many businesses as there are in the world and as many millions of roofing companies there are, yours is still unique because it’s yours. Even though all those businesses are similar, you can’t take their experiences and know for 100% certainty that you will get the same results and that is scary. Know this, Janet: you will get YOUR results. You will get out of it, what you put in. Your business will be awesome because it’s built by you. You need to square with the fact that you won’t always know how it will turn out, but you will always be able to manage it. Now, go and do what needs to be done.”

Janet wiped away tears. She took a deep breathe, squared her shoulders, looked Mike in the eyes and said, “Thank you. That is exactly what I needed to hear. I CAN do this. Have a great day, Mike. I have work to do.”

Janet Gets Scared

Janet rolled out of bed, grabbed her coffee and sat on her deck. Usually she was at her desk by now – checking email, reading the news and seeing what was happening with the world. Today she felt like she didn’t care, that she couldn’t take in any more information. She needed to think.

A lot was happening and happening fast. Sometimes she was scared. Her heart beat fast, her stomach churned and she just wanted to go home to bed. Other times she was thrilled, proud of herself and her team and happy with the way things were working out.

She felt like she was wobbling along on a tightrope. She felt dizzy, things were happening around her faster than she could deal with them.

She felt an underlying vague sense of unease, of not being in the right place all the time. She felt things weren’t right. She felt uncertain, that she wasn’t sure how things would work out in the end and she didn’t like feeling this way.

Was it worth it? She thought back to a year ago when it was just the three of them. They were doing all right. Wasn’t that enough?


Making Changes

You must lead the change

You must be a change agent. You must sell the change. People around you are happy with the way things are. They don’t see the need to go to all that trouble of making changes. It is up to you to sell them on the idea; to show them how to do it, to help them replace the old ways and to keep them motivated and moving ahead.

Fear of the unknown

People cling to the status quo because it is known. Even a very bad situation is better, to some people, than an unknown, maybe better one. Making changes triggers this fear of not knowing what to expect. Paint a picture of the way it will be. Make it clear that things will be better and let people (and yourself) know what that will look like.

Good is the enemy of great

If things are okay it is very hard for people to overcome that inertia. Don’t fix it, if it ain’t broke. But good enough, isn’t great. If things aren’t improving, then it’s time to shake things up so they can get better!

Fear of making mistakes

That is why capacity is so important. By having some capacity, you can afford to make some mistakes. If you are up against a deadline, or don’t have spare cash in the bank, a mistake can be devastating. Build some capacity in your business so that you have the room to try new things.

Making a change involves doing things differently

That takes conscious effort. Most of us run on autopilot most of the time. We have to. Can you imagine rethinking everything every day? Making changes means rethinking and doing things differently. Stay with it. You will have to think about it every day until it becomes automatic. They say that takes 30 days. Make a 30 day challenge for yourself. Chart your progress. Tell other people.

Making a change is really about creating new habits

Leo Babauta has made a study of habit creation and has a great post about it here.