Reinvention takes time, and not many of us have a lot of it.
As I’m finishing and polishing my book, (2/2/13 UPDATE: it’s done. See it here.) I was again reminded that my year and a day of trying to figure out what career to pursue next was so much easier than it would be for a parent, with a full-time job and a mortgage.
I had huge gaps of time to travel,to wander and to contemplate the options.
Few of us have that luxury.
The upside to my down time was I took advantage of that unexpected freedom. I didn’t waste the time. These kinds of windows open maybe once, twice in a lifetime? When the window of opportunity closes, you often don’t get a second chance. Consider a life of regret and bitterness over tasks left undone, compared to trying and failing (or succeeding)?
Last night I spoke with a friend contemplating his next move. He’s swamped at work, busy with a family, the calendar full of kids’ activities.
This guy doesn’t have time to wander willy-nilly across the country like some romanticized wandering character, the dude version of Eat Pray Love. He’s got employees who need him, a family who depends on him- today, tonight and tomorrow.
What I like about this guy is that he doesn’t look at his schedule and throw in the towel, blaming circumstance for creating a wall he can’t run through. He’s thinking about options.
I suggested 15 minutes a day.
15 minutes devoted to reinvention, every weekday. No interruptions, no phone calls or Facebook. I suggested he block it in his calendar, block it as a high priority at a time of the day when he’s least likely going to have to postpone.
These 15 minutes are for doing research, posting for jobs and networking. This quarter-hour is devoted solely to him and his future plans. It’s time set aside to perhaps create the plan and set some goals. 15 minutes every day toward reinvention.
I told him, ” Do this and when someone asks you about your agenda, you can look them in the eye and honestly proclaim ‘I was actually working on it yesterday.’
No shame. No regret. That’s an awesome place to be.
The President of the United States has 15 free minutes a day, and he’s pretty slammed most of the time, I’m thinking.
We do too.
John Scott is the National Online Learning Coordinator and a media history professor at the School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He also counsels clients and groups on the art of reinvention. Follow John on Twitter @johnscottsf.