Here’s How to Reinvent Yourself | Barbara Corcoran | LinkedIn

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The start of the New Year is a great time for a fresh start. But change is tough.

When I sold my real estate business, which I had built for 30 years, I was unprepared for the personal challenges I’d need to overcome. Reinventing myself in a new career was so much harder than I expected. If you’ve been dreaming about totally changing your career, here are a few things that will help you along the way.

1. There’s no such thing as a total reinvention. The best you can do is “repackage” yourself!

When I sold my real estate business, I needed to figure out who I wanted to be in my next chapter, so I sat down and wrote a list of every job I ever held and what I liked and disliked about each.

There were 23 different jobs on my list and to my surprise, I found I liked the same two things–I love an audience and I’m really good at marketing! So my list of potential new careers that could build on my strengths was a short one. I decided I was either going to start a PR company or an advertising firm or I was going to make myself a talent on TV. I took a shot at TV because I knew it would give me my biggest audience and I would have the chance to market myself instead of a whiny client.

You’ll have a much greater chance at success and happiness in your new career if you know what you like and what you’re really good at and if you can manage do a lot more of it. Remember, you can repackage yourself but you can’t change your wiring.

2. Expect to be lonely. When I sold my business, a major piece of my identity went with it. I missed my 1,000 adoring brokers and my management team that had become my family. I was no longer part of a work community— of course I missed the parties and good times, but I even missed the endless stream of emails that used to be the bane of my existence. In my search for connecting with a new community of people, I plugged into the social media world and found that Twitter and Facebook made me friends with a whole range of new people and they became my stand-in community. I built myself a circle of support.

3. You have to reinvent yourself in stages. Successful reinvention can’t happen overnight. So instead of trying to reach my end goal as a business expert on TV, I built my new persona in small steps. I started as an occasional on-air guest on local TV, then got paid as a real estate contributor on morning talk shows, and finally landed as a Shark/Investor on ABC as a business expert. Landing your first gig in your new space will serve as confirmation that you’re on the right track and will increase your confidence so you’re able to reach your end goal.

4. There’s no such thing as part-time. Even if you’re a pro at the top of your game in your industry, once you switch to a different field you’re starting from scratch. Building a successful new you takes the same long hours as your first career and you’ll still have to give it 150% of your time. At first, I thought I could give half my energy to reinventing myself and the other half to having fun, but it didn’t work out that way. I had to work just as hard at building my second career as I had my first and this time I didn’t have the advantage of youth.

Change is tough and you can always come up with 100 reasons not to do something or quit in the process, but reaching a goal that you bravely fought and won, is invigorating and a worthy reason for doing it.