Are you anticipating a career change and/or in the process of changing your occupational destination? If yes, then spend some time answering these four questions to embark on the Reinvention Challenge! Entrepreneurs will answer these questions when creating a new product or re-purposing an old one. If a shift in mindset or a revisiting of your strengths and preferences for career satisfaction is what you need, then applying these entrepreneurial principles will help you make your next move.
This economy is asking us to be more tolerant of the shifts in our careers. Companies are expecting more from us and we are also expecting more from ourselves, which requires that we re-purpose the product we are delivering, especially when changing fields.
If you feel lost as you reinvent your product (YOU), then ask yourself these four questions:
1. What will/should your product be?
- There are several texts that help you explore who you are further: Richard Bolles, “What color is your parachute?” (Amazon- Book $16.40; Manual $14.96), StrengthsFinder” by Tom Rath (Gallup $20) and Positive Leadership by Adam Seaman
- Ask yourself these supplemental questions which get to your most authentic self, where person insight can lead to professional success. Entrepreneurs must think deeply about their product as well as their threshold of sacrifice and projected level of reward that makes the efforts worth it. The reinvention challenge requires self-reflection in the same way that an entrepreneurial endeavor does. Taking the time to really know how you want to structure your days and how to use your strengths, will allow you to start your reinvention.
— What 100 things about your describe who you are (use adjectives, site hobbies, interests, what gets you excited, what upsets you, etc.)
— What are the 5 values I practice every day? If you have to make a list of values or narrow them down from a list you find online, please do.
2. For what industry is your product designed?
- With some self-knowledge in tow, think big and broadly here about what fields h, interests you have. What were your realizations and reflections based on the results of Strengthsfinder, Positive Leadership and/or Bolles’ book. What have you always been excited to get involved in– dream time!
- Perhaps surprisingly, reading content from newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs allows you to think broadly and in creative ways from an interdisciplinary perspective/approach to engage in a process that replicates that which an entrepreneur engages in when launching a product.
- Seek out industry-specific information on websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn– groups and individuals, follow professionals and thought leaders on Twitter as a way to synthesize what you learned when reflecting with field trends and opportunities to insert your unique self into a new opportunity either in your current employment or in another arena.
3. How or where will you sell your product?
- Leverage your local resources: Young professionals groups, BNIs, Volunteer opportunities, MeetUps; talking to people and building a network locally will help you gain footing for a larger market. Entrepreneurs identify information/monetary resources upon which to find solutions to their problems/ those that prevent them from getting to their next step. These to-do’s allow you to benefit from outside, expert experiences, gain the respect and partnership of professionals and practice pitching your new product (YOU) by talking about who you are and what you want to sell to many people.
- Build national connections: Engage with those interesting people and companies with whom you connected on LinkedIn and Twitter- Converse, ask for an informational interview, post industry-relevant articles, inspirational quotations; anything that will increase your impact and search appearances in website like LinkedIn.
4. Who is the target market for your new product?
- Perhaps it is your current company/workplace and this new knowledge will require a shift and advocacy on your part to find a new role. Gaining new skills by making connections across company, organizational or campus lines will make you a greater asset to the workplace, show new confidence in your skill set (realization of what you can offer) and feel more fulfilled in a place that may have been a drag to you before.
- Through this process, you may find that it is a new company/field that suits you best. Knowing this open doors and your mind, relieves you of any stress from not knowing what you want when you started at the first question and has taken you on a journey of reinvention that entrepreneurs live and breathe on.
Reflecting on these questions helps you learn the skills to give you hope as well as actionable information and connectedness to local and professional communities that will end up serving your interests long after you embarked on this journey.