The art of reinvention

I'm often asked by people I meet in the industry and through this journal, questions about change.

Be it about levelling up, 'what's next' or how to make the most of a certain project, job or career choice — the questions I receive all lead to young and emerging Designers asking themselves how they can reinvent themselves to remain relevant and progress through their careers.

Many readers were hit between the eyes with my post about The Perfectionist Trap — something simple and obvious to some of us, but not so obvious to many more.

Other readers ask themselves about what's next — what skills they need to remain relevant and what new things they should learn to stay on top of their game.

If you want your career to span decades, you have to learn how to reinvent yourself.

The world around you is changing. It's moving at a pace that you need to stay abreast of. If you choose not to stay focussed on the ebbs and flows of the world around you - you're not growing.

And if you're not growing, you're not progressing towards your own personal goals.

Progression is how you learn and grow.

Reinvention is how you stay relevant.

Throughout my career I've played the role of UI Designer, Art Director, Creative Director, Agency owner, Designer Director, Strategy Director, Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Strategist - the order is irrelevant - the hustle and the reinvention are the point.

I've seen many young and emerging Designers who fear change and fear growth even though they cry out for both.

There are two things that hold us back from reinventing ourselves and moving forward.

In the words of one of my mentors:

The fear of rejection and the laziness of executing is stopping you from winning.

So very true.

The fear of rejection is real, as is the fear of executing.

In the world we live in, it's going to be important to continually consider the role you're playing and the value you're providing to your own business, your employer and the goals you have in place for your career.

And you have to continually consider the role you're playing to the person you see in the fucking mirror!

I speak to many Designers and aspiring Strategists through my work and this journal who are seeing fundamental changes in the organisations they're working in and the industries they're working for.

Functions that were previously handed to a Designer are now being automated.

Much of what could be done by a Designer has now moved to outsourcing (freelance, contract and off-shoring).

They've noticed that the type of projects they're becoming involved in are more complex and requiring a completely different set of skills — forcing them to ask themselves, how do I level up?

This had lead to them beginning a search for something more.

Within those conversations, I've noticed that the lifecycle of the Designer begins with an aspiration to do something great and approximately 10 years into their career they begin looking for something new, something more — the next level in their careers.

I faced a similar dilemma.

I see it as question of reinvention.

We are asking ourselves not what is next in our careers, but what is the next version of ourselves.

Successful people are more than capable of reinventing themselves to adapt their lives and careers to the changing world around them.

They begin with an aspiration and a vision of what things might be like, and when they don't work out, they move onto the next thing quickly.

How do they do this?

  1. They're always learning. Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn.
  2. They're always pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone.
  3. They're efficient, productive and prolific. They're always creating, making, trying, failing and moving forward.
  4. They surround themselves with other successful people.
  5. They take learning from every experience.
  6. They share everything they know.
  7. They collaborate as often as they mentor.
  8. They're focussed on the one thing they're set out to achieve and aren't easily distracted.
  9. They set goals and work towards them.
  10. They hustle. Always.

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