Why Reinvention Is Necessary … and Within ReachBy Carlos Herrero | Wed, 08/17/2022 - 12:00
After a certain amount of time on the same professional path, the need to reinvent oneself becomes imperative. If, as the saying goes, idleness is the mother of all vices, boredom is the father of an executive's routine.
Brands teach us the need to rejuvenate periodically. Sometimes only a touch-up is needed and sometimes it requires a total reinvention. It's not just about image, it's about identity, purpose, narrative and attributes.
Similarly, each executive's personal brand requires reinvention from time to time.
Reinvention should lead to greater personal satisfaction, better teamwork, greater efficiency and even a total change of vision of what we do as a job.
Two weeks ago, I was surprised by a call from a friend, a successful entrepreneur in the energy and real estate business. "I'll be at the airport from 7 a.m. to 9.30 a.m.; please call me early." I thought he had some urgent communication or a crisis. I called him at 8:30. He said, "I need to reinvent myself, can you help me." He is a successful, hard-working, culturally prepared, well-traveled businessman ... and at fortysomething years old, he thinks he needs to reinvent himself.
Something happens in the mind of a good executive that demands this transformation from himself. It is not a circumstantial change or a change of job, but a reinvention. Young people, whom we have easily labeled as millennials, partly to get them off our backs, tend to interpret the need for reinvention as an immediate job change. This may not always, or even often, be the right way to go.
Reinventing oneself requires a significant effort of analysis and reflection, as well as the necessary humility to recognize deficiencies and embark on a new path.
We always hear and read about cases of entrepreneurs who have managed to create great companies, leaders in their sector, at 56, 60 or 70 years of age. And the truth is that they provide us with examples that invite renewal. In this field, as in all other fields, it is never too late to embark on a new path.
To reinvent oneself, it is above all necessary to learn from the experience of others, either by observation, by analyzing their success stories or by having a good conversation with someone who has succeeded. We need to learn according to the natural ways of learning: experience, observation, classes, reading and conversation. The Greek philosophy and politics that have enlightened the West were born this way. And this is how the great ideas that have been transformed into great business plans and projects have emerged.
In my personal experience, one of the elements that helped me to found my own communication and marketing company was the continuous analysis of what similar companies were doing. Every Friday, once my then young daughters had gone to sleep, I would spend two or three hours looking at what was happening in the world of communication and marketing.
Then I stopped doing it systematically and maybe that's why I let myself and my environment grow old.
The culture of the internet, of technology, of big data has led us to reinvent ourselves. We have to do it.
What do the winners, the great entrepreneurs, the great businessmen, the great transformers of the world have that one does not perceive in their own personality? There is something, a special spark, an insight, a circumstance or a lucky moment from which we must learn. And after that lesson, understanding and appreciating that you have to know how to be brave in order to succeed. Looking far enough back, potentially forward, but above all, looking at the present, which is where realities are built.
By dint of seeing the usefulness of everything, we sometimes fall into the uselessness of reality. Reality always surpasses fiction and that is where we have to reinvent ourselves. It is not only a question of creativity; it is above all a reasoning of vision. The great protagonists of humanity live by vision, the opportunists by anecdotes and luck.
Reinvent yourself or die to leave a better world in which the present is co-created with a vision of the future. It seems unbelievable but I have always been able to see behind every great transformed person a co-creator of the world whose capacity to contribute transforms.
The important thing is not the charts or the meticulous calculations that you can do in Excel; what changes the world and creates great companies and institutions is the capacity for reinvention. These are fierce human beings who convince themselves that they must do something different in a world that is increasingly changing and challenging every day.
Philosophy, yes. Idealism, too. But with a touch of realism that leaves every CEO, every entrepreneur, every philanthropist and every politician convinced that the possibility to transform a lesser dome, as Heidegger would say, is always there, within reach.