Doing what you have never done

Twenty-four years ago I sold water filters door to door.
Twenty-two years ago I had a real estate franchise.
Eighteen years ago I built an international distribution company.
Twelve years ago I led a turnaround for an educational software company.
Nine years ago I was president of a TV network.
Six years ago I became publisher of this magazine.
Three years ago I wrote a New York Times best-selling book.

Each venture was something I had never done before. Every time I started something new, I had no prior education, experience or training. Every endeavor was a complete invention or required a massive reinvention. Once upon a time people worked for one company and then retired with a pension. Later the strategy was to beef up their resumes by climbing the ladder of an industry, working for a few companies and then retiring on stock options.

Those success paths are gone. If you want to thrive (heck, survive!) in the 21st century, you’ll need to repeatedly reinvent yourself. Let me offer field-tested advice about how to do it successfully.

Five Keys to Reinventing Yourself
1. Leverage your strengths. While each of my endeavors was unique, they had one thing in common—they needed the strengths I had to be successful. We are ALL born with unique gifts, talents and advantages. You do things that most people can’t do (or can’t do as well as you). Identifying these special strengths is the first, most important key to your reinvention.

2. Identify what exhilarates you. Have you asked yourself, What is my passion? The answer doesn’t have to be grandiose, Earth-saving, life-changing or revolutionary. What are the subjects, products, markets, people, activities you really enjoy? What things do you find interesting and stimulating? What fills you with energy just thinking about it? The answers will usually lead toward a rewarding profession.

3. Be willing to step back. To leap into a new industry, you may need to take a step back to learn and study. Be willing to be an apprentice for a while. Find someone who has the success you aspire to and seek his or her mentorship and counsel. Be flexible, patient and teachable. Nothing worthwhile comes without effort and paying the price of tuition.

4. Be wary of the naysayers. Your friends, family and peers have known you as you have been. Change frightens most people. To many, it is especially frightening to watch someone else have the courage to radically reinvent themselves and chase their dreams. Why? Because it eliminates their excuse for not doing so. It is much easier to try to talk you out of your reinvention rather than act on theirs.

5. Build your support team. Find models, mentors and a peer group who share your ambition and will be allies in your new adventure. Also, indoctrinate yourself with supportive books, magazines (like SUCCESS!), audio programs and seminars as you develop skills, attitudes and knowledge in your new adventure.

Wait no longer: Reinvent yourself into the person you were always meant to be. Live the life of your grandest vision!

Author: Darren Hardy is the visionary force behind SUCCESS magazine as its Publisher and Founding Editor. Darren is also an accomplished entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, private equity investor, corporate advisor and high-performance mentor. Learn more about Darren