There is constant talk of reinvention. Companies need to reinvent themselves. People need to reinvent themselves. I live in a state (Michigan) that needs to reinvent itself.
How does a state reinvent itself? The state of Michigan has been associated with the auto industry for over 100 years. During the peak of the auto industry, Michigan was one of the wealthiest states in the nation. Today it is one of the poorest and the only state that has lost population between the last two census reports. I’ve often tried to think of what Michigan would look like if Henry Ford, R.E. Olds, and many of the other pioneers of the auto industry had started in Ohio (or some other state) rather than Michigan. I have to assume that we would have an economy and state government geared to a level of a different and maybe less robust industry. We also have the cereal industry started by W.K. Kellogg and C.W. Post. Our tourist industry is outstanding and we even have a thriving oil and gas industry. But… the state would look much different today had we not had the auto industry. How do we rethink who we are?
I can only draw on my personal experiences when I think about reinventing ourselves individually. My career seems to have progressed in decades. For the first ten years of my working career I worked in the engineering/construction business, building large power plants around the country and learning the project management business. Then one day I saw my first microcomputer and decided that this little box (actually a 35 pound “luggable” machine in the early days) was going to change our lives. Six months later I was developing software for the new and growing microcomputer industry. After ten years of working with computers and software I had to ask myself the age old question “what do I really want to do when I grow up” and came to the conclusion that I had felt fulfilled working in two very different industries because my goal everyday was to create (and be) the best leaders and develop the best functioning teams. I believed that if I could grow myself, help grow the people and develop good team dynamics, the business would take care of itself. My developing vision was helping leaders and teams continually improve their performance. I thought that would be fun if I could get up and do that every day. Thus began twenty years (and counting) of consulting and coaching in the leadership development and team building arena.
What fulfills you? Have you stopped to ask yourself that question? It may be scary and risky but it will also help you to continually reinvent yourself. A necessity in today’s rapidly changing world.