Reinventing yourself after 50 …..do you remember when you were in your 20’s you thought 30 was old? Then when you were reached your 30’s, you realised that 30 was still young, but 50 was ancient! The bar keeps rising. And guess what? There’s still room to find someone ‘old’, even at our age…..and it goes on. I suppose the old adage ‘you are as old as you feel’ still rings true.
However, we in our 50’s have lived active busy lives and are now different people. We have life experience, considerably more knowledge, and some wisdom, (although that doesn’t mean we still don’t do stupid things!).
We do things better now. We’re more skilled and a lot more productive and efficient. We give more bang to the buck! We have a past that influences our present, and this is for the better.
Change Is In Sight
But if you’re reading this article, you’re probably wanting something different. There’s a niggling voice telling you that you no longer want to keep on doing the same rinse and repeat thing. So now’s time to think about reinventing yourself!
Maybe a specific event has precipitated this desire for change, for example, a crisis will certainly concentrate the mind. You may have just come out of a long-term relationship and find yourself single again, having to navigate the world solo. You may just have a general feeling of dissatisfaction or uneasiness that life is passing you by – and you still don’t feel you have done anything extraordinary!
Whatever the reason, you have reached a stage in your life when you want to make a major change and reinvent yourself after 50.
The First Step To Reinventing Yourself After 50 Is To Admit That You Have A Problem
This may seem a bit like admitting you’re an alcoholic, but it’s not so different. You have to recognize the need to make changes.
This could be quite a shock as you will have had years of conditioning from doing the same thing over and over, and feeling that you have been in a constant unrelenting struggle. Then you have this realisation. You can’t keep doing the same thing, otherwise you will keep on getting the same result! A reality check so to speak.
Many questions will start flooding into your head. What is it you now want? What will you do? How will people react? etc etc..
Don’t worry! This is normal, and well done! You have taken that first important step. Stop putting up with the crap and reinvent yourself!
How Do You Know Whether You Want To Reinvent Yourself? Test Out Your Time Machine
How do you know whether you want to reinvent yourself? Don’t forget you’re reinventing yourself after 50! (But 50 is, of course, the new 30!)
First, ask the right questions.
Second, direct your focus to answer those questions.
The acid test for me is one question – Do I want to be doing/living like this in, say 5 years time?
Project yourself into the future and ask your questions. This may be a salutary exercise for you, but trust me, it’s a great exercise.
The point is that if you’re thinking you want to make a change but are fearful of what this entails, then you need to check out whether you want to continue with the status quo for the next eg 5 years of your life.
If the answer to this is ‘no’, then it is time to make a change. It really is time to do something about it, and do it now!
Have you thought about reinventing yourself in your career? If you’re feeling increasingly dissatisfied with your working life, watch this TED talk, how to quit your life and reboot:
This is not as easy as it sounds, but it makes sense that you should decide, and be decisive. Do you really want to reinvent yourself? What would you like to change? How do you want to reinvent yourself?
This will be about reinventing who you are and is not a matter of just changing your circumstances. My advice, therefore, is to work on you first, and your environment later. See this short clip from the personal development guru Tony Robbins.
Tony Robbins, Peak Performance Strategist, talks reinvention. How do you keep fresh ideas and motivations after turning 50?
Be Brave, Take Action!
Reinventing yourself after 50 is not going to be easy. There will probably be moments of extreme panic, and at times you will have fear for the future. This is because your head will want to keep pulling you back to your comfort zone and what is familiar, which is repeating the same patterns. So Stop Putting Up With The Same Old, Same Old!
Be aware that your brain is wired to find familiarity, and even the thought of change may put you in ‘survival mode’, although rationally you know you’re not happy doing the same thing. Sometimes, let’s face it, it will take a major crisis or life event to trigger the realisation that change is now a must.
It’s totally natural to feel fear, and you’ll now have to find your ‘action’ reserves and resources.
Above all, you will have to be exceptionally resourceful.
Redefine What Success Is For You
This is a really important exercise to do, as you’ll no doubt have long held stereotypical views of the definition of ‘success’. For example, you may be a professional in a managerial role on a good salary. This may mean you define success as being well educated and having a respectable well paid job, or having your own successful business.
If you want to change, you may have to throw these long-held beliefs all out of the window! You’ll have to attach a different meaning to the concept of success.
When you have held a position for a number of years that is constantly stressful, working long hours with high levels of responsibility you may wish to redefine what success is for you. And you may also wish to ditch the stereotypes.
Have A Vision and See Your Vision
Picture yourself at some point in the future (say one year from now) how you will be living. Put pen to paper and get your vision in writing. Map it out. I would recommend you have a journal.
At the same time, you’ll also have to do quite a bit of self-analysis and introspection.
It’s really important to ask WHY. You need to know why you’re doing this as there’ll be times when you’ll ask what the f** are you doing! Always keep the vision and your ‘why’ reasons there in front of you. This should be a constant reminder of where you’re heading.
I cannot emphasise enough to really analyse the ‘why’. If you don’t know your ‘why’, you won’t make this happen. Knowing the ‘why’ is the carrot on the end of the stick.
Find A Mentor
You’ll be nervous about taking a leap into the unknown. Never fear, there is someone who will have done this before and survived, and they can help and advise you. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel, there’s so much information out there – you can learn from others’ experiences.
Actively seek out others who have already succeeded and achieved their ‘dream’. This is vitally important as this is how you learn to fast-track your own success. This doesn’t have to be a one-to-one sit down with someone in the flesh. In fact, you may not know anyone near you. The internet is a fantastic resource and you’ll find any amount of information online and so much of it is free…… just google and you shall find. Check out Utube too, there is a ton of information on Utube.
Don’t Give A F *** What Other People Think
If you do, you’ll not do anything. You’ve spent years worrying about what other people think and maintaining your status in society and your career.
There will always be people out there who will criticise, but guess what? Maybe they’re envious that you have the guts to put yourself out there and they don’t?
Get Used To Learning, You Will Be The Eternal Student
The job of learning is never done, and if you want to reinvent yourself after 50, no matter your age you’ll need to learn new skills and expand your knowledge generally.
An obvious area for learning may be in a career change. You’ll need to learn the skills of a new trade, and do it pretty fast!
But you may also wish to educate yourself on how to improve you, that is Personal or ‘Self’ Development. I cannot emphasize enough how important it will be to focus on this area of learning.
One of the key books you may wish to read on this topic, and one I would strongly advise you read is:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. This is an illuminating read. I bought this book years ago, but at that time only merely skimmed the content, flipping through the chapters at great speed. I was even conceited enough to tell myself I already have these habits! (Therefore I didn’t need to read the book).
I was wrong! Buy it, read it, and don’t leave it on the shelf. There will be stuff in there that will change the way you look at your life. You will learn about the mistakes you have been making for years, and how to make simple changes that will improve not only your life but those of your close family and friends too.
Work On Your Strengths
Great news! You don’t need to focus on your weaknesses. Work hard at what you’re good at, and be great at it! You have many skills and abilities and you probably underestimate your abilities. These skills will be cross transferable to anything you do.
For example, organizational skills. You will have acquired these skills in your job and at home, these valuable skills will be required in anywhere!
Stay Focussed On The Outcome
You will get what you focus on. Think of the times in your life when you’ve achieved a goal. Ask yourself, what did you do to achieve that goal? It’s useful to recap here and remind yourself what you did. Let’s take an example, such as taking an exam. If you want to pass an exam what do you have to do? It seems obvious, but this involves you focussing and working.
This may mean you have to prioritise your life to find the time to be able to focus on what is important for you to be able to achieve the goal.
Accept That The Journey Will Be Hard Work And There Will Be Set Backs
Be at your best, set your standards. And patience is definitely a virtue. There is no way around it, if you want to have a new life, this will be hard work, it will take time and you have to give yourself time.
Let’s say you have decided you want to move overseas, and this means you’ll have to learn a new language. This is not going to happen overnight, you have to be realistic, but also set a challenging time period. Think of a ‘realistic’ time period, then half it! There’s lots of help out there to help you to fast track your learning, but there is no getting around it. You will have to put in the work if you want to achieve your goals.
Fail, Fail And Fail Again, Keep Going, Keep Failing To Succeed
Many people give up. They will try and try, but they will come to a point when they say, ‘just accept it’, move on. You are not that person.
This is like walking, just keep walking and putting one foot in front of another. Eventually, you will arrive at your destination.
Accept you can’t be perfect and that making mistakes is how you learn.
Be Disciplined With Your Time
You may have to make some short-term sacrifices. For example, you want to make a career change but you need to keep working in your day job. So when are you going to find the time to work on your new venture? No doubt you will have to retrain during the evenings and weekends. This will mean you will have to be well organized with your time and be disciplined.
Look After Yourself
It’s so important to look after yourself, which includes regular exercise. It’s so easy to neglect this side of your life. But always schedule at least 15-20 mins for some exercise every day. This could be as simple as a brisk walk, or a few lengths in the swimming pool. Exercise is not just good for you physically but is a mental refresher too.
Don’t also forget that good quality sleep is really important, and to have a healthy diet too.
Choose Your Friends Well
You must have friends who genuinely want what’s best for you and will support you in your ambitions.
Everybody has friends you are forever ‘victims’, they’re always negative and let’s face it, they’re trainers. You will really have to reduce time spent with the drainers and embrace your radiators! Have friends who radiate warmth, not drain your energy. This is not good for where you’re going!
Celebrate Small Achievements
This may be a long journey, so it’s really important to recognize when something good happens. When you have some success, take time to pat yourself on the back, celebrate and give yourself a little treat. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it can be something little, like coffee and cake or a bottle of wine and an Indian take away. But make sure you do reward yourself when you make progress.
What Can You Give?
You may be broke, you may be on your uppers, no matter, you can always give. You’ll see opportunities everywhere you go. Perhaps you can give time to someone to listen and give some practical advice. It may be money you can give. Perhaps there is a charity you support.
What’s important is that you remain grateful for what you have, recognize there are many people out there who are less fortunate and give when you can.
The End In Sight
Reinventing yourself after 50 is not going to be easy, but this can be a really exciting time and the rewards are very worthwhile. If this is something you have achieved, I would love to hear from you, please tell us your story.
If reinventing yourself after 50 is something you’re thinking about doing, I wish you every success in your journey. Please give me your feedback on this article, is there anything else that would be helpful for other readers who are thinking about make a major change in their lives?
If so, please do comment in the box below.
Best wishes and take care.