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This article, “How to Reinvent Yourself and Improve Your Life,” is the fourth installment in the Lessons From the Gridiron Series. You can read previous installments by following the links below:
How to Reinvent Yourself and Improve Your Life
The batter confidently and calmly strode to the batters box. He dug his cleats into the dirt, settled into his stance, and awaited the first pitch. The pitcher delivered a pitch down the heart of the plate, and moments later, the ball sailed over the fence just left of dead-center field.
One at bat. One pitch. One home run.
The small crowd cheered as the batter rounded the base paths and pumped his fist. The rest of the team poured out from the dugout and mobbed the batter.
It was a moment that occurs with regularity during a baseball game, yet this home run was different, monumental even.
It had been launched by Heisman Trophy winner and former-NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.
Reinvention: From the Gridiron to the Diamond
Set aside any personal feelings of ambivalence you may have for Tim Tebow for a moment and appreciate the facts of the previously described sequence of events. Tebow, a polarizing athlete, broadcaster, and public figure, had just homered in his first professional baseball at-bat.
Yes, he is playing an instructional league. Yes, the competition is non-elite. But to reinvent yourself in the manner that Tebow did in that moment is a remarkable example.
Tebow last played competitive baseball approximately twelve years ago as a high school junior. Ever since hanging up the baseball mitt at that time, his life has been focused on football. He achieved tremendous success during his collegiate career at Florida, where his performance on the gridiron indicated that he was destined for a long career in the NFL.
Yet, aside from a handful of special moments, Tebow struggled to live up to expectations as an NFL quarterback. Though he displayed unquestioned grit and toughness, questions about his passing ability loomed large. After being traded from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets, Tebow struggled to fit. Over the next few seasons, he bounced from the New England Patriots to the Philadelphia Eagles.
To his credit, Tim Tebow never stopped trying to succeed as a football player. Though he is now pursuing a baseball career, we may not have seen the last of Tim Tebow under center on the gridiron.
When Adversity Strikes, Reinvent Yourself
Despite our best efforts and intentions, life will not always be kind to us. When adversity rears its ugly head and slams doors in our faces, we can give up or choose to pursue a new path. The following steps can put you on the path to reinvent yourself.
1. Identify and apply transferable skills. Each person is unique and possesses abilities and skills which are transferable in nature. Tebow is attempting to transfer his strength and overall advanced athletic abilities from the gridiron to the diamond. Likewise, a downsized IT sales team leader may attempt to utilize his charm, emotional intelligence, and negotiation skills to reinvent herself as a real estate broker. Or perhaps a teacher who is an expert communicator and problem solver may seek to reinvent himself as a life coach.
2. Determine your values and passions. While transferable skills make indicate your values and passions, it is possible that your former career was holding you back from your best contributions. When life gives you lemons, don’t instantly look to make lemonade. Pause and take stock of the situation. Ask yourself how you arrived at this current place. Examine your options. This is an opportunity to do what excites you! Perhaps you will choose to make lemon meringue instead.
3. Find a mentor. Learning from a mentor is one of the best ways to reinvent yourself. If you are sincere, hard-working, teachable, and dedicated, you will find a mentor who is willing to invest in you. Later, you can pay it forward by mentoring someone else in their journey.
4. Tap into your network. While a mentor will be integral to your successful transition, one person is not sufficient. Reach out to everyone you know and share your plans with them. Articulating your position, hopes, and dreams will not only open up opportunities, but it will also help you clarify the path ahead of you.
5. Be patient and resilient. Times of transition can often be the most trying times. Success is not often something to be found overnight. When Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985, he initially struggled to find success despite his undeniable skill and brilliance. In 1986, he funded the The Graphics Group, which later became known as Pixar. This group eventually created the hit feature Toy Story and was later purchased by Disney, in turn making Jobs the largest Disney shareholder. This is just one example of the power of patience and resilience in attempting to reinvent yourself.
6. Stop at nothing to reinvent yourself until you succeed. Tebow kept trying and kept searching even when things didn’t go his way on the football field. He played alternate positions, stayed ready, and made the most of his opportunities. When this didn’t work out, he pursued other paths such as broadcasting. Now he is giving baseball a try, playing for the New York Mets instructional team.
7. Embrace past failures and learn from them. Failure need not lead to embarrassment . We all fail. Take your lumps, learn from the experience, and move on.
8. Project confidence. When trying to reinvent yourself, you will experience doubt and hardship. Sometimes, you may have to fake it until you make it. But if you display a lack of confidence, it will show. Create a list of your skills and best qualities and review it on a daily basis. Keep a copy in several places around your home, office, or maintain a digital copy on your phone.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step in the right direction. That direction may change over time. When it does, remain bold and view hardship as an opportunity.
In what ways have you had to reinvent yourself? Personally? Professionally? Financially? How did you do it?