I’m sure you have had moments where you felt bored, stressed, not happy with what you are doing, getting feedback from people that you feel isn’t you or not seeing a way out of the situation that you’re in. Or worse – a situation where your health is letting you down, your relations are blowing up in your face or people can’t get away from you fast enough. Whatever the reason, we always have to take a hard look hard look at ourselves in the mirror (at regular intervals) and answer the question:

Am I happy where I am today and am I happy with where I am going?

If the answer is yes, keep on going and keep on counting your blessings! If the answer is yeah sort of then you need to ask yourself the same question, on a monthly basis. If the answer is no then it’s time to take action and reinvent yourself.

So where do you start and how do you get going? Changing yourself is probably the most difficult thing to do since there are so many temptations on the way to give up or change your path. Life coaches are experts in helping people re-invent themselves and change course. A tool that I’ve picked up many years ago from a master coach was called RIVAS. Let me walk you through it:

Results

The first step is all about being clear in what you want to change. Do you want to lose weight, repair your marriage, connect with your kids, lose your iPhone addiction, accelerate your career progression, learn a new craft, change your leadership style. Be clear what you want and where you want to be 5 years from now.

Intent

Of course the next step is to understand why. Why do you want to achieve this? Don’t stop with just the answer but apply the ‘5 Why technique’ – by asking yourself Why to every answer that you give yourself.

For example: you’re hellbent to get that promotion and want to re-invent yourself so that you have an opportunity to achieve it in 12 months. The first question you ask is,

“Why do I want this promotion so badly?”

Your possible answer could be that the promotion is a recognition for the hard work you have put in. Based on that answer you ask yourself:

“Why is being recognized so important?”

Your answer might be that you want your family to be proud of you and you want to show your father that his investment in your education is paying off. Based on that answer you ask yourself:

“Why is it important for my father to feel that way?”

Your answer might be that your father has given up a lot of his own aspirations to ensure his kids are being educated and succeed and you want to show him that it was all worth it. As you can see by un-peeling the ‘intent onion’ you come to a much more powerful driving force that would provide the fuel and commitment for you to stay the course.

Visualization

When you know what you want and why you want it, the next step is to visualize what it would be like to achieve this. Think about what it would be like when you’ve lost that weight, got that promotion or changed that career. Close your eyes and imagine what people might stay to you, where would you be and how others would react to the ‘new’ you. This together with the intent should be the motivation that will drive you forward.

Action

Research has shown that simply imagining you’re going to achieve something isn’t going to bring you closer to reinvent yourself. Various behavioral science experiments have concluded people who ‘fantasize’ how wonderful life would be are often ill prepared for the setbacks that occur on getting there. Imagining your perfect world makes you feel temporarily better but is unlikely to help transform your dreams into reality.

Prof Richard Wiseman in his book 59 seconds gives a scientifically proven way to help you transform your intentions into action:

  1. Have a plan with clear sub-goals and steps
  2. Tell your friends and make public declarations of their intent
  3. Have an objective checklist on how better life would be if you achieve your plan
  4. Reward themselves on achieving sub goals
  5. Make the commitments, plans, and achievements in writing

Support

The last component of the RIVAS tool that life coaches use is the support component. Recognizing that re-inventing yourself is not something that you do just on your own – it’s important to realize what support you need from others to do so. Be clear what you need others to help you and express that. Whether you need your boss to give you feedback on your performance, you colleague to teach you a new skill or your wife to not to keep any cookies in the house anymore, make sure people know what help you need from them.

Re-inventing yourself is not an easy road to walk. Asking others to join on this journey is more fun, more rewarding and certainly increases the chance of you reaching the desired end result. Good luck on your journey and let me know what worked for you.