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When People Don’t Deal Well With Your Reinvention

The soft underbelly of reinventing yourself? Not everyone will delight in your self-discoveries, especially if it disrupts how they feel about you and confusion about how you’ll fit in their world. 
Prepare for it now, then it won’t come as a shock to your senses when family, friends, colleagues, and even former bosses see you as disrupting their equilibrium. 
Richard Lorenzo (not his real name) worked hard at reinventing himself at work. Stepping up and out of his comfort zone, training and achieving his certification as a project manager, and methodically working through my reinvention process, Richard connected all the right dots. 
But I knew there was a side of him that didn’t believe he would need to prepare others, even though it’s part of the 30 Day Career Reinvention process.
Excited about applying for a new position within his company, Richard was pleasantly surprised when the general manager of his functional group announced his promotion during an All Hands meeting. Others were surprised as well. 
Richard later described how he felt “frosted” by his work team and extended team members, and especially hurt when none of them congratulated him on his new role as a project manager within the corporate strategy work group—a coveted role. He had always thought it best to keep his ambitions to himself because he didn’t know how others would take it. Now he knew. 
Of course, it’s not your job to own the feelings of others nor is it your responsibility to convince them to accept or encourage your reinvention.  
However, it is important to check in with yourself and honestly assess whether remaining under the radar is the better course of action to take or if transparency about your reinvention journey would serve a greater purpose.
There are a myriad of ways to share your new understanding and learning with others without spelling it out for them. You can show others how you’re changing by doing things differently than you’ve done in the past:
  • Share information with your colleagues and team members—use new data to solve old problems.

  • Apply new learned behavior to situations that could use a bit of a refresh.

  • Bring excitement and a new way of thinking and solving problems to meetings that you attend—show up like you mean it instead of sitting on the sidelines. 

  • Offer to help your manager tackle one of their priorities—bring back new information and offer your recommendations for addressing this priority.
People will notice the changes in you without your having to say, “Hey look at me and my reinvention!” 
And when it’s time for you to move your life forward by accepting a new role, a new job, or an entirely new career, others will see it as a natural segue and transition—part of a larger stepping stone strategy.