How to Reinvent Yourself Step 2: Re-Imagine

(Editor’s Note: See Step 1 – Reflect from Nicole Aloni)

“Whether your transformation happens through trauma, surprise, or intention,
the process begins because of a growing need for change.”

Suzy Ross

Next we’ll look at where your values coincide with your dreams for the future. Who you really are overlaid with what you long to do will form the template for your reinvention. Here lies the wisdom and the inspiration that will carry you through to the finish.


To begin this important step of re-imagination, journal, or write a short story about the life you’d lead if there were no limitations; If everything were possible. Or create a vision board (thank you, Oprah) with images of all the activities and dreams that make you feel alive. At this point, it’s also useful to ask yourself the question, “What have I been tolerating?”

To make this really expansive, it’s helpful to approach these creations with what Buddhists call Beginner’s Mind (an attitude of openness, eagerness and a lack of preconceptions as a beginner might approach any project). Give yourself a day or a week to really flesh this out. This process should be deeply enjoyable. If it’s not, look around for internal critics you need to hush. (If you’re not sure what I mean by this read Shirzad Charmine or Rick Carson’s work about internal saboteurs.)

laddersWhether you’re looking for a new career, a way to live happily as a newly single person, or what to do with the looming expanse of time post-retirement, getting a firm understanding of what lights you up, and finding the courage to believe it can be yours, is what this re-imagining stage is all about. This knowledge becomes the motor that will drive you beyond “the next thing” to a future that’s worth the effort. That’s why this is the time for the fresh perspectives offered by a Beginners Mind.

Start brainstorming about types of careers or lifestyles based on interests you uncovered in your short story or vision board. Dream Big. Next juxtapose these interests to your values and start looking for the places where a passion, interest or fantasy would be in harmony with your most important values.

You get the idea—notice the places and/or activities that make you feel alive and use a Beginners Mind approach to boldly uncover which of these interests would nurture the authentic you (i.e., your values). Brainstorm with your partner, friends or coach about ways to make the most compelling of these the focus of your reinvented world.

For instance, let’s say you were a slightly harried but happy stay-at-home mother of four.  You loved the career of raising great people. Then a few months after your baby graduated and made the big move away from home, you had a jolt: Now what??

So you hired a coach and began this process. You discovered how much you really enjoyed hosting parties and that you’d always daydreamed about having your own business as a professional party planner—more specifically as a wedding planner.  And your values discovery work revealed that your top values were creativity, community, leadership and being of service.  When you lined these up with the idea of opening a business as a wedding planner, where your creativity, leadership and love of community would be called on every day: Goosebumps. Fireworks.  Time to start planning a new path.

No doubt, along the way there will be some pretty big hurdles thrown across this new path from both your internal saboteurs and life itself. Some of the limiting beliefs I often hear from clients are: “I’m too old; I’m too young (short, tall, fat…) to try to do what I really dream of.” “I don’t have the training, (contacts, experience, confidence…) to succeed at this.”  I’m telling you now (and your coach would do the same)—those are messages from your internal saboteur.  Be aware that these negative messages are just outdated tapes that are not serving you and do your best to set them aside. (I don’t mean to make this sound easy. Do look at my post about saboteurs and do research on the subject if you need, to begin to understand this important challenge to your fulfilled life)

Synchronicity Alert: When you really go after what is a fit for yourself you’ll find that your community will respond to your energy, enthusiasm and forward motion. It can feel as though the world is conspiring to make it happen!

All re-inventors have one thing in common: They need a vision of what’s next— a “re-imagination”. Once that has crystalized (this is great work to do with your Coach) it’s time to start looking at what action steps you need to take in Step 3: Re-building, (coming soon.)

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About Nicole Aloni

Nicole’s career combines her two passions: coaching and food. She is a certified professional coach (CPCC) and cookbook author, chef and consultant on culinary topics. She completed her culinary degree in Paris and her coaching certification with CTI of California. Her coaching practice is science-based, intuitive and actionable, with a unique approach to coaching reflecting her two fields of interest. Called whole-life coaching, this style supports growth in the most important cornerstones for a balanced, fulfilled life: mindfulness, compelling purpose and robust health. She lives, cooks and coaches in Seattle and is involved in continuing studies in Buddhism, neuroscience and the mind-body connection. In addition to one-on-one coaching, blended coaching, consulting for food professionals, and culinary teambuilding programs, she is also a food writer and researcher who is deeply committed to creating a sustainable food system and educating clients about how to eat a healthy, immune-boosting and energizing natural diet. Her books from major publishers include The Backyard Bartender, Secrets From A Caterer’s Kitchen and Cooking for Company.

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