Next week the American Association of Christian Counselors holds their 25th anniversary conference. This reminds me of my history as co-founder of AACC and my decision to resign when we grew to about 15,000 members. My former partner and I worked to bring a smooth transition and I gave a public blessing to my successor as I left. But soon struggles arose in me that I had not anticipated. I felt a loss of my identity. It became more difficult to get books published. The speaking invitations dried up. I struggled with my self-worth. I prayed. Eventually I felt led to the conclusion that it was time to reinvent myself, to develop my career in a different direction, to build something new.
“Reinvent Your Career” is the theme of a cover story in Fortune Magazine (July 4, 2011). “There’s just one way to achieve job security,” according to Fortune. ”Reinvent yourself—no matter what your age, education, skill set, or the color of your collar…. Successful reinventors all come to embrace the future, using new technologies, particularly social media, to help them leverage their professional skills.” They do not view themselves as victims. They don’t react passively to career bumps. As best they can, they take control.
For me that meant diligently seeking God’s guidance, talking with a coach and with a couple of close friends, re-evaluating my skills, strengths, passions, interests, and spiritual gifts. I pondered what God had blessed in the past and what would be ideal for the next phase in my life journey. I learned. I read, I kept my eyes open. Mostly I waited, sometimes patiently. In time, my latent interests in coaching, leadership, mentoring and writing came into clearer focus.
Fortune writers have some additional suggestions. Reinvention may not be for everybody but it can be done:
- Recognize that reinvention can be terrifying, requiring that you admit what you don’t know, then actively learning the skills you need.
- Acknowledge that you may have to start from scratch.
- Become a more active networker.
- Get on line. “Reinvention these days is digital.” Find somebody to help you navigate the technology.
Based on your experience, what would you add? Please comment.