Everyone knows the saying, “Behind every successful man is a great woman.” I say, “Behind every great woman is another great woman” – and they live within the same body. I’m sure there are fine women who stood by their successful men, but for the sake of this topic – The Reinvention of Yourself – let’s not stand behind anyone; let’s explore the person you have yet to become.
When it comes to the real you, how really true are you to her? Being true to yourself means you’re comfortable in your skin, your body, your heart, and your soul. At any given point, I’ll bet you were true to at least one of these vitals, but I dare anyone to claim to have mastered comfort in them all. Which is not to say it’s not possible. It may take a lifetime, but what a grand tour that would be – to focus on living, loving, and reinventing yourself until you fulfill your purpose.
Take one of my most favorite ladies of all time, Gabrielle Coco Chanel, the inventor of Chanel No. 5, who’s famous for designing the “little black dress.” She was much more than a fashion designer turned parfumier. The French couturier was a human anomaly who was an expert at reinvention. I believe by her life’s end at age 87, she had reinvented herself many times and had completed her lifetime purpose: she transformed the way women saw themselves and allowed freedom and fashion to unite with beauty and brains, with class and elegance leading her way. Chanel was at her peak in the 1920s, and by the time her earth life was over in 1971, the entire world knew her name and the famous interlocking twin Cs logo.
You may not become a legendary icon, but you can lead your way in 2018. Imagine what talents you may have lurking inside you that have yet to be tapped. Before you shake your head and say, “Not me – I’m comfortable where I am,” consider the fact that if you’re at or near mid-life, there could be half a century left for you to shine. You could reinvent yourself several times over in that amount of time!
For some life-changers, the tornado of an earth-shaking, life-altering circumstance is what provokes them to crawl out of their comfort zone and try something new. But you don’t have to wait until a recession hits, a terminal disease takes a loved one, or you lose your job before you act. What if you played a fast one on Father Time and took your life by the reigns, racing toward that new life while you’re lucid, instead of reeling from something horrific that forced you to see what was there all along: that you could actually live a different life? If you feel there’s another one in you, take heed in its calling – perhaps it’s the other great person in you who was left behind for comfort and balance… she’s there, just beneath the surface of your well-manicured life. You feel it when you watch someone reach the pinnacle of the mountain you wanted to climb. It’s the heart tug when your best friend masters that career you encouraged her to pursue but didn’t have the chutzpah to explore yourself.
If you’re thinking that you don’t have the courage or knowledge to pursue that fancy future, consider this: Chanel didn’t start out with a mission statement, a mentor, a toolkit for success, a timeline for achieving her goals, a list of action items, or any other modern concepts we associate with success. She took it one day, one step at a time. One dreadful life experience after another led her to laser-focus unwavering coolness and savvy to pursue a life in fashion and leave poverty behind. Who would ever imagine being forced to sew at an orphanage would come in handy after a singing career failed? Or that befriending an arrogant aristocrat would lead to redesigning the time-honored wardrobes of celebrities? Contrary to popular belief, no one becomes successful overnight, so be patient or you’ll miss the best part for those who are self-made: the journey.
The Reinvention of Yourself may set you on a path with twists and turns that will make you wonder why you ever waited so long to feel your heart flutter so. The journey will throw you valuable curveballs, so expect the unexpected – and don’t be afraid to take one step back in order to take three steps forward. And if that new you intrigues your partner, take them along for the ride; it’s no fun taking on the future alone. With any luck, you just might find your purpose. But try not to waste too much time thinking about it or analyzing the “what-ifs.” Some people spend a lifetime dreaming about their best self – you don’t want to die never trying!
Abella Carroll is a freelance writer