To reinvent or not to reinvent? That is the question. The only way to answer this question is to discover our purpose in life and then create a business and a lifestyle that supports that purpose. But where do we begin?
At the time that I am writing this post, COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we live and work. We cannot control what is going on around us, but we can control our reaction to what is happening. In physics class, we learn about action and reaction. Some people believe in Murphy’s Law that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. This person’s reaction is akin to darkness. By focusing on a positive action and energy, there is light. Every reinvention must start with the acknowledgement that your life depends on you and how you react to a situation. Sometimes we hit rock bottom and have to start from scratch.
Leadership Expert Ronald Heifetz recommends going outside and meditating. Ask, “What does success and happiness look like to me?”
For many of us, happiness includes health, family, love and friendship. Are you surrounded by like-minded people who are nurturing and enriching your life? Money and your career are two other important factors.
It is imperative to write everything down on a piece of paper so that you can see it clearly. Write your goals, prioritize and visualize yourself as successful. Once you have this list, focus on specific small actions or goals in order to reach the big ones.
When I was thinking of moving from Venezuela to Israel, some people said that I was crazy. I had a great job, an amazing life and lots of friends, but I needed to be with my children and find love. Those were my priorities.
My father had a successful business, and when he died, my two brothers were in their 20s, and I was in my teens. We all had to go to work in my father’s business and keep it going. My mother was only 47 years old at the time and used confidence and hard work to continue the business’ success. She was my first mentor. Over the years, I have had excellent mentors, including professors, bosses and my family.
Sometimes, mentors come naturally, and other times, we have to seek them out. I have found great advisors through Business Network International (BNI). One way to find a mentor is to ask for feedback from friends, family, vendors, clients and employees. It is important to not get hurt or angry at the person who delivers that feedback; it is just their opinion. Do not be afraid to hear how you can improve yourself or your business. Keep an open mind.
Take the Risk & Believe in Yourself
Once I had my goals in place and the advice from mentors, family and friends, meditation helped me see clearly what the next step was. I felt confident and just took the plunge. I said yes to new opportunities. I always told myself that I will regret whatever I didn’t do and will never be sorry for what I did.
Perseverance goes hand in hand with risk. Believe in yourself. Find strength in other examples. Did you know that the book “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” which became an all-time bestseller, was rejected by 144 publishers? The idea for Starbucks was rejected by 244 investors. What would have happened if they had stopped at 100 rejections?
In Venezuela in the 1970s, there was a Secretary of Intellectual Development. His name was Luis Alberto Machado, and he was on a mission to teach the people of Venezuela that everyone is intelligent, and we can achieve absolutely anything in life if we have the desire.
Every time I’ve reinvented myself, I had to go back to school, conduct my own research and attain new licenses and degrees. From sales of financial products to preservatives for cosmetics, every single thing I’ve learned has been useful sooner rather than later.
When my daughter was 19 years old, she found a job as an intern with a fashion designer. On the very first day of work she called me and said, “Mom you won’t believe this, but my first task today was sewing the labels to the garments by hand! I want to thank you for the sewing lessons you forced me to take when I was 14 years old. Because of those lessons, I was not fired on my first day on the job!”
My first experience as a volunteer was with the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO). This organization was my best “school” in life. There are no words to describe the satisfaction, the learning, the challenges and the amazing group of women who became my close friends. There was something new to learn or do each time that we met. From helping the needy to learning graphic design, taking creative writing classes and focusing on organizing skills, this group has been a valuable resource to me in so many ways.
Reinventing yourself is never easy, especially when the world seems to be constantly changing and challenging. We can never get yesterday back. What we can do is have an idea of what we want to do and take the steps to get there. Even if we take baby steps at first, we will grow with our ideas and the confidence our success brings.
Susana Zinn is a noted business leader with experience from around the world in the public relations, financial, manufacturing and insurance industries. Life events forced Zinn to reinvent herself five times. She lives in Los Angeles, California and can be contacted through suzyzinn.com.