Several years ago I crossed the big “five-o” and began the process of staring over at 50. I pledged to make 50 to 75 the best years of my life and embrace experiences differently. My previous years had been “fine”, but I wanted more. Raising kids takes a lot of attention away from “self” and I knew by age 54 my wife and I would be living in the empty-nest. Striving to be reinventing yourself at this age may seem a little cliche, but if I didn’t start now, eventually I would be out of runway. I had to get out of my comfort zone and start doing things differently.
Recently I have spent a lot of time talking to my friend Mark (not his real name). He is going through a challenging time at age 47. His wife was being distant and he found out she was having an affair. He wanted to save his marriage, but she picked the other guy and is divorcing him. Their situation was not horrible. Mark was not abusive and is fit and handsome. He is a nice guy. But as they say, nice guys sometimes finish last. He does not want to break up his family, but he has not choice. While I have never faced the situation with infidelity and the end of a marriage, I do know that life tosses curve balls at us in many areas. Mark, like many, is choosing not to be a victim, but to figure out how to move forward and be the best father, son, brother, coworker, friend, and ex-husband.
Mark and I talk a lot about reinventing yourself. How can we live the life we want to live in the second half? My career has gotten clobbered by COVID and I am having to retool how I earn a living.This year is going to be the lowest income I have had since I was thirty years old and that hurts both my financial statement and my ego. But it is the reality, and rather than hiding my head in the sand, I am excited to see how I can rebound and out perform my best years. Yes, at times I feel stuck, but that cannot stop me from moving forward.
This week we dropped our youngest child off at college on the other side of the country. She is a good kid and both my wife and I are close to her. But she got into her dream college and is ready to go. Thus we have to be ready to enter this next phase of our life together. Reinventing yourself is not always a solo endeavor.
I have been keeping notes on ideas that Mark and I talk about as well as listening to podcasts that cover the subject of reinventing yourself. I have come up with fifteen things that you have to do if you want to instill real change. Many of these I have already started over the past four years (this is a 25 year journey I am on, and it is not something you can accomplish in a single afternoon.
15 Tips To Reinventing Yourself
- Gratitude. Even when in a bad situation, look for the things that you are grateful for in life. Sometimes these are hiding behind the big issue (like the ones Mark is facing), while other times they are right in front of you (both my kids are doing well, and that fills me with gratitude.)
- Be Honest With Yourself. Sometimes you are scared or have failed. Do not pretend you are okay. If there are real issues that are holding you back, become very aware of the realities. Too often people do such a good job of hiding the real issues, they hide them from self.
- Explore The Past. Looking back and understanding all that happened in your past can help you make decisions moving forward. The hardest thing for me is when there are pieces of the puzzle I do not know. When I know what happened (things I did and the actions of others) I can process what got me here.
- Let Go Of The Past. What happened before does not define you. If you made mistakes (and we all have) let them go and be prepared to move ahead with new actions.
- Empathy. The world is not just you and your problems. When you are engaged with another, try to feel empathy for their situation. While Mark is not happy with what has happened, he has done an amazing job of understanding the pain his wife had felt in the past (real and imagined).
- Forgive Others. As you go through life you will encounter people who will hurt your feelings. Sometimes they mean it, other times it is not on purpose. Either way, forgiving people lets you push on to your next phase of life.
- Forgive Yourself. This one is hard. I spent years holding onto bad feelings about myself for things my ego and personality did (rather than my soul). I am learning now to behave differently, but to embrace my soul over ego I must forgive myself for actions of the past.
- Believe You Can Change. This one is hard. We all fall into patterns and do not believe we can behave in new ways. But you can.
- Study philosophy, religions, the humanities, etc… There is a lot of wisdom in the classic teachings of the last few dozen centuries. I began reading about Taoism and it has changed how I see much of human engagement.
- Give Back. Find a way to give time, money, or other support to charities. Being of service to others will help you open your heart and soul.
- Exercise and Eat Right. Being in better physical condition directly impacts your mental health. I found that running clears my mind and when I make good food choices I tend to feel better.
- Mediation / Prayer / Mindfulness. There is a big connection between mind, body, and soul. Whatever you do to clear you mind and connect with the universe or a higher power will give you clarity.
- Review Your Day. Look at your words, thoughts, and deeds at the end of everyday. Ask yourself what you would do differently if you had a do-over, then treat the next day as a fresh start.
- Take Action. Sitting around thinking about how reinventing yourself will not get you results. The progress you make will only come from the actions that you take.
- Be Patient. Reinventing yourself will take years. I began when I turned 50, and that was over four years ago. I only recently began to see the real progress that I wanted. Even if it takes you ten years to become the awesome person you want to become, if you get there it will be worth the wait.
Bonus Tip. Block the toxic people from your life. I recently did this with people whom I knew did not like me (because they told other people, who repeated their feelings to me). None of these people were that close to me in family or social circles, so I simply deleted them from all social media. It felt weird, but I never once missed them.
If you are committed to reinventing yourself, I have begun doing a limited coaching program. Unlike most coaches, I will not hard sell you to work with me. You have to call me and let me know you think it might be a good fit and I will give you the details. I am happy to give anyone a free 30 minute phone consultation, but you have to call me at 512-970-0398. I am not collecting emails and putting you into some sales funnel. You call, we talk. If it goes to voicemail, leave a message. I will call back. (If you are shy, you can email me at email@example.com – but leave a phone number because I will call you). If it is a good fit, together we will create a vision for how you can reinvent yourself starting today.
About Thom Singer
After a successful career in sales and marketing, Thom Singer became a growth leadership speaker in 2009. A decade later he has brought his high energy presentations and action-oriented content to over 900 audiences. Thom knows that as the speaker or master of ceremonies he has a responsibility to set the tone for a strong conference attendee experience. Known as “The Conference Catalyst” he creates an atmosphere of fun and interaction that lasts beyond his presentation.
Thom earned his Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) in 2014 and is committed to the business of meetings. He is the author of 12 books and is the host of the popular “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast. On his show he has interviewed over 400 entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, business leaders and others with a focus on discovering how the most successful people get farther across the gap between potential and results.
At 50 years old Thom decided to reinvent his life and make age 50 to 75 the best years of his life. This meant saying yes to things that scared him, and trying new things. Since that time Thom has jumped off buildings, took up running (and lost 30 lbs) and began performing stand up comedy.