Nine unconventional strategies for reinventing your career

Wise mind decision-making calls for a synthesis of the emotional and rational, and this is what Herminia Ibarra calls for in her book Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career:

Counterbalancing our natural biases requires a partnership of emotion and intellect–working with our subjective and emotional responses (our gut) as part of the analysis, yet submitting those responses to thoughtful challenge and criticism.

Ibarra’s nine unconventional strategies — do any resonate with you?

  1. Act your way into a new way of thinking and being. You cannot discover yourself by introspection.
  2. Stop trying to find your one true self. Focus your attention on which of your many possible selves you want to test and learn more about.
  3. Allow yourself a transition period in which it is okay to oscillate between holding on and letting go. Better to live the contradictions than to come to a premature resolution.
  4. Resist the temptation to start by making a big decision that will change everything in one fell swoop. Use a strategy of small wins, in which incremental gains lead you to more profound changes in the basic assumptions that define your work and life. Accept the crooked path.
  5. Identify projects that can help you get a feel for a new line of work or style of working. Try to do these as extracurricular activities or parallel paths so that you can experiment seriously without making a commitment.
  6. Don’t just focus on the work. Find people who are what you want to be and who can provide support for the transition. But don’t expect to find them in your same old social circles.
  7. Don’t wait for a cataclysmic moment when the truth is revealed. Use everyday occurrences to find meaning in the changes you are going through. Practice telling and retelling your story. Over time, it will clarify.
  8. Step back. But not for too long.
  9. Change happens in bursts and starts. There are times when you are open to big change and times when you are not. Seize opportunities.

By starting this blog I am “acting my way into a new way of thinking and being.”

How will you reinvent your career?