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The Reinvention Date

Sunday, January 01, 2006

On Friday night, my wife and I went on a "reinvention date," which is an idea I thought of earlier in the day. It's really no different than coming up with mutual goals or resolutions, but "invention" sounds more fun.

I believe your life circumstances are your own invention. Barring accident and disease and other acts of nature that you have no control over, the kind of life you have is basically a result of the mental image you have of the life you want (or think you deserve) and the resultant choices you make.

For instance, when I first graduated from college, the overwhelming image of my life that I had was one where I was self-employed. Within two years, I was self-employed, although my first attempts did not make any money and I couldn't live off them. A few years later, I had figured it out and have now been bossless for almost ten years.

At the time, my self-invention only involved not having a "real" job. I didn't consider many implications beyond that. So now, I find that I indeed got what I wished for, but it wasn't exactly accurate in terms of an ideal life. A lot of things I enjoy, like music and writing, got dropped by the wayside and work consumes too much of my time and attention. It's also hardly bossless - each client is actually like a boss, so I have multiple bosses. That's okay, though; being bossless is no longer my primary desire; it's been replaced with the desire to grow a company and to make time for what I lump together as "personal stuff."

So, it was time to reinvent myself, and of course the new year is the time when the mood for this is right (although it's pretty arbitrary).

When you are married, have business partners, etc., your self-invention can no longer be just a self-invention but must be a group invention. My wife is also my business partner, so that simplifies matters a bit for me.

The idea of the reinvention date was simply to take some time and talk about our ideal lives and how they are different than the ones we have today. From there, we came up with an interim ideal that is reasonably achievable within one year. Based on this imagination of an ideal one year in the future, we came up with some goals and action steps.

Granted, we veered off track a bit. There wasn't much of an agenda and the key to a good meeting is a well-defined agenda. Anyway, I think the idea has merit and I hope it's something we can repeat annually. I'm becoming enamored with processes that repeat on a regular schedule, especially ones that address levels above tasks or next actions. With an endless supply of ground-level actions in your face every day, I think you have to forcibly schedule review at higher levels if you want to modify your circumstances.

Posted by murt at 2:30 PM


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