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Reinventing Yourself

Below are the articles in the Reinventing Yourself category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.

Reinventing Yourself

Accessing the Power of Meaningful Work

In an interview late in his life, the psychologist Sigmund Freud was asked to expound on what he felt were the most important constituents of life. His answer? “Liebe und Arbeit.” Love and work.

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Freud’s answer is hardly a surprise: For most of human history, the meaning of work and the meaning of life intersected at survival. Work was life.

When cheap energy and mechanization started us down the path of staggering increases in productivity, some philosophers and visionaries began speculating about how we would use the extra “leisure time” we would gain from all this productivity. The reality has proved much different than projected. How do we spend the “extra time?” We work.

Yet for many of us, work that we would call “meaningful” remains elusive. We can’t always pinpoint what’s missing or what it is that would give our work lives meaning.

Finding Your Genius

Ultimately, the meaning in your work isn’t whether the enterprise you work for is local or “transnational,” but how closely the work you perform within that organization is in alignment with what author Dick Richards labels “your genius.”

Are You “On Purpose?”

Is your life being lived on purpose or just “to pay the bills?” This quiz offers questions to find the answer.

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Do you love what you do for a living?

Do you look forward to going to work every day or do you grudgingly show up in order to pay the bills? Do you work past quitting time because it's expected or because you're "into it" and lost track of time?

Many people know their calling in life, their true purpose, and live "on purpose."

Are you one of them?

Take this True or False Self-Quiz to determine whether you are operating from a place of purpose.

1. When I get up in the morning I look forward to the day ahead, whether it's a work day or my day off.

2. I love the work I do—any external reward I receive I consider "the icing on the cake."

Attraction—Getting What You Want to Come to You

The law of attraction. It’s not just some woo-woo theory. This article explores five key ingredients for attracting what one really wants.

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There’s a spring in Marissa’s step, and she simply radiates positive, upbeat, can-do energy. She’s “in the flow.” Good things continue to happen in her work and personal life with seeming effortlessness.

Contrast this with Kelly, who puts in twice as many hours at work—super-long, hard hours every day—yet rarely achieves what she’s striving so hard to create.

What’s the difference? Hint: It has to do with Marissa’s ability to attract what she wants. However, this kind of attraction has nothing to do with looks.

Rather, it’s about Marissa’s ability to attract abundance by living in a way that’s in tune with her purpose, her passions, her most vital and alive self.

The law of attraction. It’s not just some woo-woo theory, it’s scientific: like matter attracts like. It’s similar to a radio broadcast: when tuned into a particular station, you will only hear (attract) the frequency of radio waves that match that station’s signal. And when that happens, everything seems easy, not a struggle.

Being Big in Your Life—If Not Now, When?

This article looks at what is in the way of creating the life you want NOW.

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Picture a graveyard. Under the big oak tree in the far corner, there’s a granite headstone. Look closer. See the name engraved? Yep, it’s yours.

So you’re sitting here, looking at your own headstone. There’s your year of birth, and the year you—heaven forbid—pass. And between them, there’s a little, coy hyphen.

Now, here’s the good news: that hyphen is what you get to play with.


Let’s take a moment to think analytically about that hyphen. There are two things that anyone who aspires to be big must face. The first is knowing what you want to do. Or, in the words of poet Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (We’ll get to the second in a moment.)

Determining what you want out of life—your career, relationships and your free time—is a surprisingly hard process for many of us. It’s much easier to abide by the rules and plans of others than to look within ourselves and see clearly what we are meant to—and would really, really enjoy with the whole of our being—do.

Creating What You Want In Life

Designing and building the life you want—these steps can help guide you along that path.

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We all wish to live the life we really want. If that's the case, why does it seem that so few of us actually do?

Creating the life we want should be easy, but for many reasons it isn't. Sometimes we're too busy working, paying bills or picking up kids to give it much thought. Sometimes we don't know how to get clarity so we put it off until "later." Or, perhaps, we have ignored what we really wanted and, instead, created a life that others wanted for us (or themselves)—ouch.

How to Create the Life You Want

If you aren't living the life you want, how do you get back on track? How do you get clear on what you want? And how do you stay committed to it?

Here are some steps that can help you get started:


Before getting what we want we must first know what that is. This may seem obvious but it trips up even the most intelligent people right out of the gate. Take out a blank sheet of paper and write "My Dream Life" at the top. List everything you want to have, do, be and share. From this list generate goals to help set you back on course.

Everyday Leadership: It’s An Inside Job

What are the inner qualities that remain constant among all types of effective leaders? Leadership is a way of life, an expression of our fullest and best nature and it starts on the inside.

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Too often, we believe that leadership is the domain of those with recognized authority, and the title to go with it: CEOs, association presidents, conductors, mayors.

“In a world that is changing as rapidly as this one, we need to think differently about leadership,” says Susan Collins, author of Our Children Are Watching: Ten Skills for Leading the Next Generation to Success. “Leading is not done by those few in high places, but by parents and teachers and managers and those governing—all working together to create the world that we want.”

When we dare to stand up for our beliefs or to follow through on our big dreams and ideas, when we act as though what we say and do in the world matters—matters greatly—we are leading.

In other words, leadership is a way of life, an expression of our fullest and best nature, our unique gifts. And it starts on the inside.

How to Reinvent Your Career

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. This article offers ways to reinvent yourself and your career in uncertain times.

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Are you an employee, entrepreneur or manager who suddenly finds it necessary to reinvent your career due to the economy, a layoff or going out of business? Or, do these uncertain times simply inspire you to make a change?

If so, you may wonder if you can make a fresh start without having to start over.

The good news is, you can. Here’s how:

Feel Your Feelings...

Get angry or frustrated or confused or scared or excited.... It’s natural and healthy. No need for the stiff upper lip. Also no need to deny any enthusiasm. Respect your feelings, and then move forward.

Inventory Your Passions

Ask yourself (or someone you trust): What do I like about me? What do I do better than anyone else? What do I own or use that makes me unique, whether it’s the tone of my voice or jazz collection or...?

How to Try on—and Actually Get—the Life of Your Dreams

How do you turn what you say you want into what you actually get?

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Many articles, books and workshops advise dreamers to act “as if.” Act as if you've already got your dream job. Act as if you’re successful. Act as if you’re confident.

If we subscribe to the theory behind the action, it means that if we try on the thing we've always wanted, we’re more likely to achieve it. Another version of this is the 12-Step refrain told to newcomers: “Fake it till you make it.”

Problems arise, however, if we don’t actually want the life we say we want. For instance, we may say we want to run our own business, but if we actually don’t want the added responsibility, acting “as if” will be an empty exercise.

So what’s the solution?

How does a person turn what they say they want into what they actually get? Here are some ways to begin.

Life's Choices Aren't All Easy, But They Are All Yours

Life is about making choices, and making choices—even wrong ones—is key to self-esteem.

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Choices come in two flavors: Active — when you make something happen and live with the consequences, and passive — when you “choose not to choose,” and continue to live with the status quo because the stakes appear too high for any changes choice might bring.

Active choices can be painful; feelings of fear and vulnerability often accompany these decisions. Just because we know what’s best of us doesn’t make it any easier. This kind of choice-making is risky, too. The most difficult choices don’t have any absolute right or wrong; there is no perfect solution. It takes great courage to face these hard decisions.

On the other hand, the postponement of choice can have serious backlashes in the way of stress, depression, discouragement, apathy, even physical illness. Procrastination seldom has any favorable results.

Lifestyle: Choice Not Chance

If we’re caught up in a lifestyle that’s not the one that we would choose, we should choose again.

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Suppose a stranger stopped you on the street and asked you this question posed by psychologist and poet Mary Oliver. What a wonderful thing to be able to respond that you would spend your life exactly as you spent your day.

Your answer could be anything: doing work you love, caring for and giving love to your family, contributing to your community or the world, creating art, building a business, climbing mountains, making music. Anything. The key is that how you lived today is how you would choose to live tomorrow and the next day and the next.

For some, the life they live day to day is not the life they would describe if they were asked Mary Oliver’s question. Instead, they might use phrases such as: “As soon as…” or “I’d like to…” or“I used to dream…” while explaining a daily life tangled up in too many demands and never enough time or energy to get to the things that matter most.

Making “Impossible” Thinking Possible

Thinking impossible thoughts is not just the realm of fairy godmothers or eccentric inventors. Break out of mindsets and make the impossible possible.

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How can things ever change—how can business, science or society innovate solutions to world dilemmas; how can our personal lives change trajectories—if we can only imagine what has been possible up to now? We might try to fix problems through automation, motivation and process improvement. But ultimately these efforts will stagnate until we change our mental models....

We can all zoom in or out of our previous mindsets with a little practice. Wind and Crook suggest a variety of ways to begin to see differently—before a crisis or failure of the old model has made it too late. Here are a few:

•Listen to the radicals. What wisdom and opportunities are there in the sometimes “bizarre” ideas of the radical thinkers around you?

•Practice flying upside down. Like commercial airline pilots, who are trained in how to react to unusual emergencies (such as flying upside down!), we can look for ways to prepare for outrageous scenarios.

Recovering from Debt Addiction

Tips for finding the roots of debt addictive behavior, to improve finances, and get in control.

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John has a well-paying job, but carries a debt load equal to half his salary. He spends compulsively, buying things he doesn’t really need. Because he also doesn’t keep track of his finances, he frequently bounces checks. John would like to get control of his spending, but hasn’t been able to rein himself in.

Sarah never spends money unless she has to and neglects self-care such as dental check-ups. She is self-employed but doesn’t make enough to cover her basic expenses and uses credit cards to pay bills when she falls short. Her debt load is a great worry to her, but she feels helpless to change the situation.

John is a compulsive debtor and Sarah an underearner, but their core problem is the same. According to Jerrold Mundis, author of How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously, repeated debt results from dysfunctional or distorted subconscious attitudes and perceptions about money and self.

Scare Yourself Into the Life You Want

Do the thing you fear—and get the life you’ve always wanted.

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Go on…what’s stopping you? Go ahead and ask your boss for a raise. Speak up the next time you disagree with someone. Call that person you met in the elevator. Start that business you’ve been talking about for a decade. Audition for the part. You fill in the blank.

Are you afraid? If so, congratulations! You’ve just identified the pool you need to dive into to reclaim your life. If you pass, however, claiming the water’s too cold or you just don’t feel like swimming today, the fear wins. And you lose.

“Fear stands between you and your ability to go anywhere you like, do anything you want, and meet anyone you please,” writes Rhonda Britten, author of several books on fear, including Fearless Living and Fearless Loving.

When we face fear, when we act in spite of the fear, we grow. As we expand, we push through our perceived limitations, out far beyond our comfort zone. We embrace freedom and become unstoppable forces in our own lives. And it feels sooooo good!

Starting Over: Tips to Finding Grace in Difficult Times

How to recuperate, grow from, and even appreciate the most difficult experiences in our lives.

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Natural disaster. Divorce. Death of a loved one. Job loss. Career change.

There's not one of us who has escaped major change in our lives. And whether you bring on major change yourself or circumstances beyond your control are thrust upon you, starting over is never easy.

In fact, major life change can bring with it extreme heartache, debilitating stress and despair.

But you can do it. You have the means within yourself to recuperate and grow from any life-altering situation. Truly.

If you or a loved one is facing an experience that requires "starting over," keep the following points in mind. They'll help you get through a very difficult time with greater peace-of-mind and grace.

Take time to let go.Starting over often happens due to traumatic events. Even when you initiate the change that requires starting over, grief is natural. Take the necessary time to grieve your losses. Your timeframe for mourning may be different than someone else's, so be true to your own needs.

Starting Your Own Business

What you need to “be” and “have” in order to successfully navigate your own business.

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Lost your job during the economic meltdown and want to make sure that doesn't happen again?

Looking for more meaning and satisfaction in your work?

Want to be the one who decides how successful you are?

Got a great business idea burning inside you?

If any of those apply to you, you may be thinking of starting a business of your own. And though you may have a great deal of excitement, it pays to pause to consider whether entrepreneurship is really for you.

According to the latest Small Business Administration statistics, half of all new businesses fail before five years.

So before you give up the security of a steady paycheck, consider what you need to “be” and “have” in order to successfully navigate the waters of your own business.

Successfully Single: How to Thrive on Your Own

Over the course of their lives, many people will spend a significant amount of time being single, whether by choice or not. This article has tips on how to thrive as a single person, tips whose positive effect can carry over to times you're no longer single.

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In 1950, only 22 percent of American adults were single. Today, more than 50 percent are single—a massive demographic change.

What that means is that over the course of their lives, many people will spend a significant amount of time being single—by choice, by divorce, by death, or just in between relationships.

Interestingly, being married or coupled still tends to garner more status. But single people everywhere lead rich and fulfilling lives. And while the word single suggests "being alone," many single people have vast networks of friends and family and are not alone or lonely in the least.

If you find yourself single, temporarily or for the foreseeable future, here are some tips to help you be successfully single and thrive. (And really, these are useful tips even if you are partnered!)

Taking Stock of Your Life

As we step through the doorway from one year to the next, it’s natural to look back as well as ahead. But what if instead, a person used the first part of the year to take stock of his or her life?

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Who are you? What do you believe? What do you really need?

When we discover who we really are, we stop living on auto-pilot and start to live with intention, focus and purpose. Our choices become clearer. We begin to make active choices in our life, instead of making excuses or passively living with the status quo.

Here are a few questions to get you started. Have a journal or some way to record your thoughts. (Writing by hand keeps you in touch with your breath and your heart.)

•What is aching to be expressed?

•What needs healing?

•What unique gifts, talents and skills do you bring to the world? How are you using them (or not)?

The Business of Purpose

Know your purpose and you will create a meaningful life AND make a living.

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We’ve all met people who focus on the “what” they’re doing instead of the “why” they’re doing it. It’s difficult to feel passionate about something when we’re missing the meaning behind what we’re doing and why we’re here.

So why are we here? What’s our purpose?

How a person defines purpose has as much to do with his or her mindset as it does with personal, philosophical, cultural, religious and scientific beliefs.

The Purpose of Knowing Your Purpose

Defining purpose in work, life and business is not about the daily tasks, it’s about the reason for the tasks in the first place – the why, not the what. Discovering purpose allows a person to create the vision behind the tasks, and knowing that vision can dramatically change results.

The Courage to be Authentic

While security may appear to be the absence of change, the only genuine security lies in taking risks.

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What could be riskier than diving out of an airplane or climbing a glacier-covered peak or accelerating a race car into a curve at the Indy 500?

For one person it might be quitting a secure, well-paying job to go back to school. For another, it could be deciding to leave a marriage after 18 years or reporting that the company they work for is endangering the environment or people’s lives.

Though it may not appear so at first glance, psychological risks that summon us to put our personal values and beliefs on the line may ultimately feel more dangerous than those of physical derring-do. Yet these are the challenges that we are asked to face time and again if we are to continue to grow as individuals. Each time we take a risk that contributes to our personal growth or enhances our self-esteem or enriches our lives, we make the choice to stretch ourselves, knowing there are no guarantees and chancing possible failure.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating After Divorce

When most of our communication is spent defending ourselves, there’s not much room for meaningful contact. This quiz helps identify the problem and offers alternative perspectives.

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Angie is 47 and recently divorced. She married her high school sweetheart and hasn’t been on a date in 25 years. Toward the end of her marriage, there certainly weren’t a lot of romantic sparks, so she feels completely out of touch with her sensual side. She’s dabbled in online dating and been on a few fix-ups, but couldn’t enjoy herself. She felt so nervous about doing or saying the wrong thing, she was convinced she would never get a second date. Her low self-esteem showed, and she wasn’t able to make a strong connection with anyone.

Whether you’re male or female, if you can relate to Angie’s struggles with dating after divorce, try these tips to dip a toe back into the dating pool. Before you know it, you may be diving right in.

DO Explore Your Playful Side

After divorce, your self-confidence may be low and you may not feel attractive. A great way to reawaken your senses is to explore your playfulness. Put yourself out there, engage with your social network in a light way. Focus on eye contact and open body language. Laugh readily and re-learn how to have fun.

The Empty Nest: What Happens When the Chicks Fly

How to adapt and flourish after the children have left home.

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From the second they arrive on the planet, just inches long and utterly dependent, our children occupy a place in our hearts deeper than most any other relationship.

We nurture, guide, feed and protect them for years. The relationship brings us a complex mixture of joy, frustration, sadness, delight, anger, pride and love. Our children occupy our focus like nothing else, as they grow taller and more independent with every year.

And then they go away.

Of course, we knew that from the beginning. And that’s been the goal all along. But that doesn't make an empty nest any easier when it finally comes.

Fortunately, an empty nest is also the beginning of another era for parents, one that can be equally fulfilling.

The New Age of Retirement

Break free of the stereotypical definition of "retiring" and see how to bring meaning, health and wellness to your golden years.

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For many the word "retirement" conjures up images of "Gramps" out in the workshop making bird feeders and toys for the grandkids while "Gramma" serves afternoon tea following a game of bridge with the ladies.

That stereotypical image, along with the idea that aging is inevitably accompanied by diminishing mental capacity, is no longer true—if, in fact, it ever was.

A National Institute on Aging report, 65+ in the United States: 2005, found the 65+ population:

• Is better educated.

• Lives longer.

• Has a lower rate of disability and disease.

• Has more economic clout.

• Has more options for a fulfilling retirement than any previous generation in history.

• Will double over the next 25 years (from 420 million worldwide to over 974 million by 2030).

Think New Thoughts

The practice of positive, hopeful thinking transforms our lives. How do we do this?

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Improving the tenor of our thoughts may seem to be a modern idea, but as Twain’s quote indicates, the fact that we can make our own misery by what we dwell upon is an age-old concern.

Why We Should Care About Our Thoughts

According to the Stress Confidential Helpline, scans on patients’ brains have indicated that the types of thoughts we have influence the balance of brain chemicals. So by learning to think more positively we can cause chemicals to be secreted that boost our psychological and physical health.

Indeed, it’s well-documented that among the ill, those who remain hopeful and have a positive attitude tend to do better.

Also, when we focus on the worst aspects of a situation that has happened to us, we ensure that our experience of it will be the worst it could be. Fortunately, the reverse is true as well.

Too Many Passions?

Jack-of-all-trades, master of none! reveals the bias against those who choose a varied work life, but those “Renaissance Souls” have a lot to offer.

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Jeff is nearing age 50 and has followed one passion after another into a variety of careers. Although each choice made perfect sense to him, his parents and friends keep asking when he’s going to get serious and rise to the top in just one profession.

The old saying: Jack-of-all-trades, master of none! reveals the bias against those who choose a varied work life rather than committing to a unidirectional path. There was a time, however, when society admired such a person. In fact, some of our greatest contributors have been talented in a variety of areas.

Leonardo da Vinci, painter of masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa, also designed and built bicycles, canals, musical instruments and flying machines. Benjamin Franklin not only helped draft the Declaration of Independence, he was also an inventor, statesman, printer, scientist, author, and student of French culture and language. More recently, Maya Angelou, best known as an author and poet, is also a successful songwriter, journalist, actress, singer, dancer, civil rights worker and professor. And she speaks eight languages!

Top 10 “Top 10” Lists to Create

Top 10 lists are everywhere, fulfilling the desire for bite-sized, digestible morsels of learning or humor. Here, then, is an opportunity to create ten of one’s own.

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Top 10 lists give us tips on housework or investment practices, satire on current events or political issues, and ideas for consideration on personal growth.

With this Top 10, however, you are the writer. Use these Top 10 lists (and any others you may create) to remind yourself of what’s good and shining about you and your life. Use them to become more aware of what you know and what you can do to affect your world. Use them to reconnect with your dreams, to remember what you want deep inside. Enjoy!

1. Top 10 Things I Love About My Life.

2. Top 10 Ways I Positively Affect Those Around Me.

3. Top 10 Things That Are Uniquely “Me.”

4. Top 10 Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die.

Top 10 Ways to Take Charge of Your Life

10 amazing tips to help you take charge of your life.

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Too often we take care of other people's needs, never getting to the activities that would have the most meaning for us. Here are 10 ways to take back your life.

1. Create goals. Get clear on what you really want, write it down and start to take action toward your goals.

2. Commit to your own agenda. As much as possible, before helping others each day, complete the tasks that move you toward your goals.

3. Set boundaries. When you heed your own agenda, you will likely need to set boundaries with the people in your life.

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