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7 Key Strategies to Surviving and Thriving

written by Kathryn Sandford February 4, 2021
7 Key Strategies to Surviving and Thriving

“There was a disturbance in my heart, a voice that spoke there and said, I want, I want, I want! It happened every afternoon, and when I tried to suppress it, it got even stronger.” Saul Bellow

Strategy 1: There will always be SIGNS that will be telling you to REINVENT.

Read the signs early on and act rather than ignore what is happening to you.

I have survived 3 redundancies in 18 months. It was the 3rd redundancy that was the catalyst for me to realising that I had to do something different, because if I didn’t change what I was doing I would keep getting the same results.

I had no other option. I had no more energy left to start applying for jobs, approaching recruitment consultants, going for interviews, doing more psychometric testing, talking about my strengths, successes and career achievements, and then having to deal with rejection.

When you are in your 50’s, getting another job feels a bit like winning the “Lotto.” I found myself no longer wanting to fit into the “traditional world of work.”

On December 1, 2013, I once again found myself asking a question I have constantly asked myself over the last 30 years: “What do I want to do with my life?” I was sick of handing over to other people the power of choice as to how I should live my life. I realised that my window of opportunity was getting smaller and smaller the older I got.

I also knew that I didn’t want to find myself at 70 years old regretting that I hadn’t been brave, stepped up and followed my dream.

So with no more options left, no more excuses as to why I couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t follow my dream – I literally took a deep breath, looked up into the sky (yes, I know it sounds corny, but its true) and I decided that I would create change in my life and go follow my dream to be a writer, speaker and coach.

Take action and act on your inner voice early on. Be Courageous and GO DO IT.

Listen to your own voice, your own soul, too many people listen to the noise of the world, instead of themselves. Leon Brown

Strategy 2: The Importance of a Plan.

“Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.” Napoleon Hill

I have never been a great planner – my personality type likes to be more spontaneous, but I am not sure that this love for spontaneity has served me well over the years.

Reflecting back on my life, I realise now that I have had opportunities where I could have been a writer, speaker and coach. Some of the opportunities that I have taken advantage of have been successful and others have not, but none of them have been sustainable or have really gone anywhere.

The reason I believe this happened is because I had no vision, no plan, and lived my life reacting to opportunities rather than being proactive. I guess this quote sums up what had been happening to me all those years when I didn’t have a plan in place.

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else. Yogi Berra

This time was different, and with the help of two friends, Matty and Menilik, we wrote a plan which we initially called “Kathryn’s 2014 Timeline for Success.”

I still use that title; however, in the last month or so I have started to refer to this plan as My Reinvention Plan – it outlines the steps/tasks/activities that I needed to action in 2014 that would take me toward my dream of living my life as a writer, speaker and coach.

The Plan does not have any set deadlines only guidelines as to when the tasks should be completed. This Plan is my road map which points me in a direction that hopefully will take me closer to living my dream life.

I didn’t know where I would be on December 31, 2014, and I had no set goals or expectations as to what I should have achieved – all I knew was that I had a roadmap that would guide me to a place where I can consider what I need to do in the next stage of my journey that will take me closer to living my dream life.

So my second piece of advice for you is:

  • Define your Dream – get clear on your vision.
  • Write the Plan – figure out how you can achieve your dream and assign the tasks/actions that will get you to your destination.
  • Then go do it – YES, IT IS THAT SIMPLE.

Strategy 3: Embrace Reinvention – It is a byproduct of change and is here to stay.

“People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.”  Warren G. Bennis

I now realise (which I kind of knew anyway) that Reinvention and Change go together, and because change is a constant part of our lives, reinvention is a part of the change-life package.

We will always need to be reinventing ourselves as we have to adapt to the changes that impact on us and our lives.

So, embrace Reinvention and don’t ignore that feeling of wanting something more in life or to be a part of something that feels more rewarding and fulfilling for you.

My Fear about Change:

I knew I had a lot of fears around change and that I had to deal with these fears.

It’s funny how the universe sends you the right message at the right time.  I came across this quote in an article I was reading about managing your fears. When I saw this quote,

People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.  Warren G. Bennis

I realised that once again I had no other option BUT to choose the second meaning – Face Everything and Rise, and that was pretty much it. What did I have to lose?

Nothing? I honestly felt relieved and excited about my future – something I had not felt for a long time. I was no longer scared of failing, and all it took was for me to read this quote!

Strategy 4: Deal with your Limiting Self Beliefs or you will never start.

“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything, is ready, we shall never begin.” Ivan Turgenev

I guarantee that your inner self will be telling you that you need to change, but for some of us there will be reasons why we will not be listening. If you are struggling to listen to the inner voice of change, read my blog Dirty Harry & Angel.

This blog is about my self-limiting beliefs that were articulated so well in my head by my voice of negativity (aka DIRTY HARRY). Do not get sucked in to the compelling arguments that your Dirty Harry will present to you.

The arguments he presents as to why you should not embrace REINVENTION are all YOUR LIMITING SELF BELIEFS. He reinforces every negative self belief and you will believe it to be true about yourself.

If you listen to him and stay in your (dis)comfort zone, life will be unsatisfying for you – a constant feeling of discomfort with your self, sadness, frustration and a constant feeling of yuck!

I suggest, which is what I did and thank God I did, that you spend time getting to know your Angel (my positive voice) – she is my positivity and my inner voice of empowerment and self belief.

When I listen to her, I feel energised, courageous and invincible. My Journey of Reinvention with Angel on my side is exciting and far more rewarding than it would be hanging out with Dirty Harry!

Strategy 6: Be prepared to stay for the ride because the Reinvention Journey is a roller coaster ride of emotion – personally challenging, scary, exciting, painful, lonely, and exhilarating.

You may have heard the saying that “life is like a roller coaster ride,” and for me the journey of Reinvention has felt exactly like a ride on a roller coaster.

In the last six months, I have experienced a huge range of emotions, where I have gone from feeling really scared, overwhelmed and fearful, to exhilarated and joyful!

Going on this journey has had many twists and turns. There are high moments and there are low moments, but what is amazing is that I have discovered that I have a choice about how I respond to the challenges of life.

I can be scared, fearful or frustrated, OR I can choose to open my heart, take a deep breath, laugh out loud and enjoy the excitement of the ride.

So be prepared for the ride and also use your Power of Choice, as this will determine your responses and reactions to the challenges of your journey – scaryand fearful versus exciting and exhilarating. I know what I would choose!

Strategy 7: Don’t let your Age Stop You from Reinventing Yourself.

I am in my mid 50’s; committing to following my dream and changing the way I live my life is hard and challenging.

I believe Reinvention is a lot harder to do in your 50’s because you have a lot more at stake in regard to your relationships and financial considerations.

I also think at 50+ we are also more aware of our mortality and that is scary. Old age is even more so of a reality now than what it was at 40, and as a result I think we become more fearful of change and look more for the comforts of what we know.

It is easy to stay with what we know and what makes us feel safe, and I so get that; however, don’t let this stop you from taking up the challenge of reinvention and following your dreams.

Yes, it will be hard, and yes, you will have to face the curve balls that life will throw at you. You will fail and you will make mistakes – that I guarantee.

Remember that the pathway to your success is not a direct route, but windy, hilly, flat, huge mountains to climb and rivers to cross.

Find your courage, step out and go reinvent yourself. If you do this, you will be living your dream life.

Reinvention is a life journey and with the right beliefs in place you will be always prepared and willing to embrace all the challenges of change that you face in your life. (Me)

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