How to reinvent yourself in 12 months

Killing yourself isn’t so difficult, as far as a practical strategy goes. I knew how I would do it. After all, I was once an engineer – how hard could it be? So, I made a plan.

This morbid idea, among others, resonated painfully in my tortured mind for weeks, months and years. Untreated Major Depressive Disorder has a way of tearing your mind and soul to shreds by way of an emotional and cognitive chaos that is impossible to describe.

Then came the catalysts of catastrophe: vocational failure; financial ruin; major health issues for me; aggressive cancer for my wife; our only son diagnosed with debilitating autism. It was all to much…

I broke – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

After a four-month medical hiatus,  I went back to work, to the only vocation I had known for 24 years. I lasted just nine months before I began the dark, downward spiral that I knew all too well, so I took the step that I had been dreading for many years: I quit.

What would I do? I had an engineering degree that I had not used for more than two decades, so that didn’t seem like a great option. I looked for work, I prayed, and I looked again. The savings from my recent book tour in the United States were running out, and I had no options. I prayed some more!

It was May of 2016. The money was all gone. We were desperate. Enter my friends, Neil and Reg Moodley from Infusion360, a boutique wealth management company in western Sydney. I was asked if I could customise and implement a Salesforce org from scratch. I was told that Salesforce was a CRM, so I Googled “CRM” and was intrigued. I had never, ever seen Salesforce, or any CRM, for that matter. In a fit of insanity, I accepted the job, and showed up for work three weeks later, in June.

Twelve months later, I have an awesome job as the Digital Business Analyst at InFusion360, continuing to improve our Financial Services Cloud org, mapping and automating processes, implementing our innovative digital strategy, building inbound marketing, heading up our Pardot implementation, and more! I work with a great team, and my future is bright. I am also a part of the incredible Salesforce Ohana, have spoken at several Salesforce events, won numerous awards, and now co-lead a new Salesforce User Group. How did this all happen so fast?

HOW DO YOU REINVENT YOURSELF IN 12 MONTHS? 

1.  Take courage and make the break

They say that you don’t leave something, or someone, until the pain of staying is greater than the pain of leaving. That said, major changes are just plain hard. There is comfort in the status quo.

If you don’t make the break, your situation will not magically improve just because you want it to. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result.”

How do you find the courage to make the break? I can’t speak for you, but I know what works for me. First, as a person of faith, I draw strength from the Lord and from our church body. Second, I have gained courage from some pretty amazing family and friends, especially my wife, Christina. Third, I have a few trusted counsellors who I turn to for advice, and they helped me to make the break.

I don’t know how you will find the courage to reinvent yourself, but remember this: courage is not the absence of fear; it is doing what you must while you are afraid.

2.  Find your passion and make it your work

What do you love to do? What lights your fire? Where do your talents lie? If you could do anything for work, what would it be?

Only you can answer this question, and answer it you must, if you would break free from the painful present and embrace a fantastic future!

Life is too short to endure the misery of a stifling and painful vocation. You may have to do without financially, or burn the candle at both ends for a while, but it is worth it.

3.  Be teachable

It takes patience and humility to put yourself back into the student’s chair when you have been teaching others for two decades, but that is what it took for me to reinvent myself, and I believe you will need to do the same.

I could not count how many hours I have spent reading, researching and learning online since May of last year. In my case, I have invested hundreds of hours in the free Salesforce online learning tool, Salesforce Trailhead online. Was it worth it? I think the results speak for themselves.

4.  Work!

Thomas Alva Edison famously said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” A dream without a plan is a wish, and a plan without labour is a joke! Nothing worthwhile was ever achieved without consistent, persistent effort.

It is not unusual for me to begin my work day before 6:30, opening up the offices at dawn, and sometimes I am the last to “close up shop” at the end of a long and arduous day. You don’t teach yourself a totally new platform, then implement that platform as the key business system, without putting in the hours.

If you are lazy and unmotivated, do yourself a favour – stay where you are.

5.  Embed yourself in a community

Whatever field of endeavour you choose to pursue, don’t do it alone!

No man is an island, entire of itself;

Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

John Donne

Join a community, embrace it’s culture, and contribute. Receive from the membership, and give back in return. I never would have made it this far without the amazing ohana of the Salesforce Success Community.

 

 

8 Comments

  1. This article makes a great blueprint for those who need to reinvent themselves within a short span of time. Not everyone will have a journey as remarkable as the one experienced by the author, but same concepts apply for anyone who needs to embark on a fresh and daunting journey. Beautiful analogy in picture (butterfly). One of the best articles on the subject. Inspirational. Great blog and an exceptional blogger!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark, well said. I believe in concentration, insistence and hard work as well. Wise investment and elevation from peers definitely help. All efforts will be paid back.

    Liked by 1 person

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