“What you have to do in this world you cannot do alone.
Every successful human enterprise is a collaboration – a drawing together of diverse resources and energies to achieve a single end.”
~ Barbara Sher
Reinvention can be desperately lonely.
First, just getting yourself to the cliff-edge of acknowledging you need a change involves stress and work and real courage. At a talk I attended years ago by Stephen Levine, a master in the field of grief and grieving, he admitted; “When I let go of something – I leave claw marks!”
So at the beginning of the change you’re already worn down.
Strong. Committed. Yet tired too.
It’s not unusual for even our bodies to be broken, or in crisis, from all the stress of a career path that no longer fits. Been there myself.
So it’s especially a let down when you’re finally ready to figure out a new career path and then find almost no support.
Even those closest to you, while they want to be supportive, don’t really understand.
It can be scary for family and friends – both from concern for you and because your change triggers their own fears. So they offer well-meaning advice or ideas. And it’s seldom very helpful or the support you really need.
Isolation is the Enemy of Reinvention
“Whatever you have to do in this world you cannot do alone.”
Friends and family are a blessing and make the way easier, but reinvention requires more. You need specific support. Yet asking for support goes against our grain, against the myth of the strong individual, and it goes against the unspoken (and crazy) message that our careers are a D0-It-Yourself project.
But the truth is – you need support – no matter how smart or accomplished or creative you are. You need it because you (and the rest of us) get stuck.
In isolation it’s inevitable to get stuck in our own head. It’s deadly easy to get trapped behind the invisible limits of our own thinking, assumptions, and old messages. And we’re guaranteed to get mired in our fears and doubts. The bigger the change, the harder it is to see beyond our blinders.
Stuck in our own head is the #1 way we get stuck in a career change. And true support is one of the best ways to get out of your head.
If isolation is the enemy of reinvention and support is its trusted friend, how do you get the support you need?
STEP #1: Open to Support.
That’s it. Claim your readiness for support. Open yourself to receive it.
I encourage you to even proclaim your readiness in writing: in your journal, or a note to God, or even on a post-it note to put where you’ll see it. When you say “Yes” to receiving support, you open the door to the help you need. And now you’ll have access to the energy of that intention. Energy to actively explore what support may be available to you.
Plus now your eyes are open – to notice any support opportunities that Life brings your way. Because, once you’ve said “Yes,” it often happens that way.
The Gift of Support
“Whatever you have to do in this world you cannot do alone”
Since support is an essential nutrient for reinvention, one-on-one support may be the first and most nutritious dose of support to consider gifting yourself.
STEP #2: Find Your Guide.
So the second, and possibly easiest, step toward support is to find a coach or support person who fits you and has deep expertise in the change you’re navigating. This involves an investment and can take some research, but can also happen surprisingly quickly once you’re ready to invite and welcome the support.
I do believe reinvention is possible without a guide – but it’s a much longer journey. In my experience, nothing can save more time and grief and money than having an experienced guide.
The gift of a guide is no longer being alone in your head with the reinvention puzzle. You get to bring it into the light – and share it with someone who understands, affirms, knows the territory, can bring perspective, and offer real support. Your guide will help get you out of your head and into vital, fruitful motion.
I regularly see people, who’ve felt stuck for years about a career calling, find their clarity with the help of a guide in just a matter of weeks. While ideally a support journey over time, even just one meeting may catalyze an important shift.
I realize that as a calling coach myself, it could seem self-serving for me to suggest this. But it’s not marketing. It’s a hard-won and very personal lesson. Learning to invite support has been a lifelong, and continuing, lesson for me. Even during my last reinvention I waited way too long to reach out for support – and paid the price. I have a coach myself, and it was an easy choice when I found the right person.
If you want a guide, you will recognize the right person – they will resonate. Trust yourself as you explore. And stay open to those little signs from the universe.
- What if you don’t want individual support?
- Or you don’t think you can afford it?
- Or you haven’t found your right guide yet?
You get to decide. No one knows your support needs better than you. If that’s not what you need, or not what you want now, feel free to skip Step #2 and proceed directly to finding a community of support.
Some people only want one-on-one support – it’s their preference, style, or instinct. And often just one guide, or a personal collection of support relationships, can be enough.
Yet for deep change, more may be called for – an even bigger container of support.
Beyond Support: There’s Magic in Community
“I don’t have to do this alone.”
This is one of the most common comments I hear, breathed out like an answered prayer, at small group events and programs I’ve facilitated and attended.
There is magic in community – especially during times of big change and transformation.
Not just any community, not generic community, not even family and friends. A reinvention tribe is a small circle of people with whom you have shared purpose, care, and trust. And the magic is most powerful when that community is forged with others on a similar journey of change. Mutual support. Reinvention travel companions.
There is healing just being in the company of others who understand: others who share similar doubts and fears, who recognize the depth of your growing pains, and who can celebrate your victories.
When you find your reinvention tribe you are delighted to find people who are smart, very real, and just good people – and they are asking the same questions that you’ve been asking. They too are making courageous choices, facing uncertainty, and following something deep in themselves that requires a big change.
It’s a relief.
In this safe company of peers you get it more directly – you’re not flawed or off track. Instead, you can be proud of your changes, claim your courage, and love your commitment to growth. There is BIG magic in community.
Do you feel the call to community? If so, that’s the next step – to find your reinvention tribe.*
* How do your find a community of support? Where is your reinvention tribe? That’s our focus for parts II and III of this series; where we’ll explore the variety of forms a reinvention tribe can take (including a few that are low cost or completely free) and I’ll share some hints for finding a tribe that’s right for your specific reinvention needs.
To read Part II of Reinvention Takes a Tribe click this LINK.
To read Part III of Reinvention Takes a Tribe click this LINK.