Over the last few years, I’ve met and worked with people who have made some amazing transformations in their lives – from HMRC tax inspector to writer, from city trader to teddy bear maker, from shipbuilder to fine artist. These people are happy now. They have given up something that really didn’t mesh with their values any more and found new ways of being. These people have been an inspiration to me and countless others.
The untold part of their stories is this – what did they go through or overcome in order to make these radical shifts?
People worry about making changes in their lives – will they lose credibility with their colleagues, family, friends? How will they explain what they want to do – and deal with the criticism they are almost certain they will encounter?
It’s important to start telling the story of change from the point at which you decide you want the change to become a reality – for two good reasons – first, learning to tell a different story about ourselves helps us internalise change and see ourselves in a different light – the revision of our life’s story supports the transition. Second, stories of transformation and rebirth are astonishingly powerful. People are inspired, awestruck, jealous – and may react in unexpected ways to our proposals. But they can’t help but get a sense of the storyteller’s intention and momentum.
People are inspired by stories of escape, the reclaiming of autonomy, of the hero’s journey.
The story of transformation, of difficulties overcome, of who you were and who you want to become, are powerful marketing messages too.
I met a man the other day who was starting a new career as a fine artist in his 50′s. He was worried about his lack of credibility. He told me he had previously worked in marketing for 25 years, and had recently been on a residential course where he built a guitar from scratch. He asked me what he could say to people to establish his credibility as a creative person. He didn’t realise he had already captured my attention in those two sentences.
Whatever we move on to do in life, we are the sum of all our skills, knowledge and experience. It’s all part of our story and our gift. These things add to our credibility even if we make the most radical changes.
How do you explain? Tell people about your journey, what you’ve done that makes you what you are. Be yourself. It’s your non conformity and your courage in embracing change that will make you stand out.
Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Create it lovingly and tell it well.
If you are in the midst of change – or simply thinking and dreaming about it – and need a trustworthy guide, why not have a look at The Possibility Retreat - a one day workshop for people on the cusp of change.