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Peter Clemens

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The Beatles’ Top 11 Tips to Reinventing Yourself

By Susan Cattaneo

What advice would you give your 12 year-old self if you could go back in time?  I know I’d warn little Susan not to drink peppermint schnapps at 3AM at that Halloween party in college. I’d also tell her to start learning Italian, since she’d need that language to speak to her future husband. And I’d most definitely tell her to start playing the guitar, that it would come in handy when she reinvented herself as a performing singer/songwriter.

“Huh?” She’d say.  “When I’m a what?“

We’re taught to do what we love, and once we find that “thing”, that’s pretty much all we do for the rest of our lives.

But I’ve found that’s just not true.

I am the Mother of Reinvention…in that I’m a mother and I’ve reinvented myself many times over the years.

From college grad to TV writer/producer to graduate (again!) to Mom to Nashville songwriter to songwriting teacher and performing artist, I’ve worn many hats over the years.  Transformation has been key to my happiness.

A wise songwriter once told me: everything you need you will find in the Beatles. So if you’re thinking of reinventing yourself, here’s a How To Guide, brought to you with a little help from my friends, The Fab Four:

1. Help!

Okay, so you hate what you’re doing for a living.  The first and hardest choice you need to make is whether you want to change your situation or not.  We spend a lot of time yearning for something different, but not actually doing anything about it. If you want to change your career, start doing the homework and laying the groundwork to make it possible.

2. Can’t Buy Me Love

What is success?  Everyone tells us it’s making the big bucks.  But if you don’t like your life, it doesn’t matter if you’re rolling in the dough. When changing careers, everyone tells you to save up some money so you can launch yourself into this new world.  That’s important, but even more important is rethinking what success means to you.  When you consider a radical shift in your career, most of the time that choice is driven by the search for something that is more meaningful or emotionally rewarding. Set yourself up for actual success by measuring success on something more than just financial rewards.

3. When I’m Sixty-Four

You’re never too old to start something new.  Never.  Trying new things is what keeps things interesting.  Yes, I do wish sometimes that I’d started my performing career in my 20’s.  And sure, I’m sometimes jealous of young musicians who can tour 200 days out of the year. Call me a late bloomer.  Or actually a perpetual bloomer. Don’t live with regrets. But you don’t want to look back on your life as something you could have lived. Carpe Diem. You only live once. Be all that you can be. Ahh, so many cliché phrases, and guess what? All of them are true.

4. Within You Without You

I was lucky. I knew what I wanted to do. But sometimes all you know is that you want and need a change. Where do you start? Start with yourself.  First of all, what do you enjoy doing? What skills do you have that relate to that?  What are you good at? Make a list of what you love, what you’re good at, and make a list of jobs that require this skill. Think outside of the box and be creative!  Writing has been the consistent skill that I’ve been able to apply to whatever discipline I’ve worked in.

5. You Can’t Do That

Yet…but it’s never too late to try! Maybe going back to school is the right way to go to help you learn a new skill.  Education is sometimes just the thing to get you started on your new career path.  Switching from TV promotion to music was daunting for me, because I was a singer with no formal music training.  I realized that if I wanted to do this as a career, I had to go back to school to learn the language.  So I quit my job to go back to school and study music at Berklee.

6. Glass Onion

What type of environment do you want to work in?  Do you prefer to be in a career that requires you to be social or would you prefer to work alone?  One of the things I love most about being a singer/songwriter is this balance between the group and the individual.  When you co-write a song, you need to share ideas and collaborate.  When you write alone, it’s just you and the guitar (or piano), and it’s a very personal solitary creative process.  I enjoy the fact that I can have both.

7. All You Need is Love

Having a strong support system in place is key to making a successful career change.  Find two or three people you can count on who will help you support your dream no matter what. When I made the decision to go back to school, it helped a lot that I had the support of my husband and family.

8. Eight Days A Week

You have to be willing to put in the time for the new career to take hold. Ever heard the theory that it takes 10,000 hours to master something? Give yourself the patience to develop and envelope your new role.  As a performing artist, I realized early on that if I was able to accompany myself on guitar, I was a whole lot more marketable (and portable) as a musician.  So, after only using the guitar as a writing tool, I’ve recently started playing the guitar at shows. Only 95,500 more hours to go….

9. The Long and Winding Road

Sometimes one opportunity leads to a different outcome than you expected.  You’ve got to be open to new directions that come your way.  I went to Berklee as a vocal major, so that I could learn music theory etc.  I never imagined that I would discover songwriting and that it would lead to a career in songwriting and my teaching there for the past 15 years. Sometimes the path you’re on leads you to different path, and this new road is the one you’re actually supposed to take.

10. Here, There and Everywhere

The key to finding success in any industry is the community of people who are in that industry.  I hate to call it “schmoozing or networking”.  That implies insincerity on your part.  It’s really making new friends and staying connected to the people who are part of the world you want to join. Make contacts and become part of your new community. Think about what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. As someone coming from a different world, you can probably provide a new perspective, and help them as much as they can help you.

11. I’ll Follow The Sun

When I look back on the twists and turns of my crazy career path, one thing is consistent. I followed my heart.  People change their lives for many different reasons.  In my life, the changes that I made were always because I was chasing what makes me happy. You’ll make mistakes, and it will be hard sometimes.  But go to what makes you happy.  Because, tomorrow may rain, so follow the sun.
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One Simple Change to Live a Happy and Empowered Life

By +Jackie Johansen 

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde

For many years I wrote in secret. I would only put pen to paper when the lights were dim, when everyone around me was asleep.

Also, I wrote when no one was home, I made sure that I was alone because I didn’t want to be seen. I didn’t want to be questioned and I didn’t want anyone interested in what I was doing.

In hiding, I filled up journals with words of heart-break, poetry, love, laughter, inspiration, anything that was bubbling to the surface.

Those notebooks were mirrors of my truth.

I threw them out. I violently ripped out the ink covered pages.

I was terrified of anyone reading them. I worried what they would think of me if they really knew me.

I worried about judgment, about being misunderstood, about being truly known.

All those words, all that truth, was destroyed because of my own fear.

What happened when I destroyed my writing was I became further disconnected from my own story, became disconnected from my own truth. As I was unsure of my expression and I was unsure of myself.

Over time, I felt fragmented; I felt that the me I presented to others was a contrived version of myself. I was eager to please, a “yeser.” I made sure to stand up strong on a foundation of persona that reflected how I thought I would be most accepted and loved.

When I met people and they asked about who I was, what I believed in, or what I did, I said something vague and cliché. I eagerly changed the subject back onto them. I became disconnected from my own words, from my own uniqueness, from my own power.

I was unhappy, insecure and uninspired [..]

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The Choice to Change — The Hidden Power Inside All of Us to Create Lives We Love.

By +Carrie Dale 

Choice is freedom. Choice means options. Choice gives us the ability to create anything we want in our lives.  Choice is our paintbrush, and we are the artists—able to paint our masterpieces if we so desire.

Without choice we are prisoners, victims, puppets. We are without hope, vision or dreams.

In a nutshell, our choices = our life.

Our power to choose is really a massive gift, but it can also be our biggest roadblock to living lives we love.

Although we have been given this huge gift, we don't always give it the appreciation it deserves.  Sometimes, we actually have a chronic habit of making bad choices—choices that keep us separate from our greatness, our purpose and our happiness.  Choices that render us unable to make real, lasting changes in our lives.

We become frozen, stuck and prohibited from creating our masterpieces.

It’s easy to get caught up in this trap, and it’s even easier to create excuses to justify why we can't seem to change.  Although on a rational level, we may think we really want to change, we really want that relationship, that job and that book deal—the reality is that change can be scary for most of us. When fear is in the mix, our default choice is often to play it safe and not change. We decide not to take chances so that we don't get hurt, disappointed or rejected.

While this can be chalked up to the part of our brain that is just trying to protect us, there are times when we need to get through a bit of discomfort in order to change and get to the next “level” in our lives.

Sometimes, change means having to ditch the default choice of playing it safe, playing it small and hiding from our gifts in order get the results we seek.

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How to Embrace Your Fears and Live a Meaningful Life (A Simple but Not Easy 5 Step Process)

By Izzy

My knees are stiff, my back aches, my neck is in pain.

Do I really need to wake up right now?

It’s 5am.

My mind wanders for a second, but I already know the answer.

If I want to live my dream, then yes, I have to wake up.

So I get out of bed, stare out the window, and smile.

4 years ago, I did not believe this life was possible [..]

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The Myth of the Dream Job and the True Pursuit of Happiness

By +Deborah Fike 

“If you want to be happy, find a career doing what you love.” 

It's a simple enough motto, echoed through homes, classrooms, and counselor's offices across the nation.  It was the singular motto of my youth.  If I wanted to break out of the family's dying farming business, I needed to get educated and pursue a career I was wildly passionate about.  Only then would I unlock the door to success and fulfillment.

But what happens when you get your dream job, and it doesn't solve all your problems?

Let's take a step back and look at my passions.  Ever since I was little, I have loved fiction writing.  I was the type of kid who devoured novels and knew all the local librarians by first name.  I entered short story contests any chance I could.  I completed my first novel in my early 20s.  I knew I wanted to write, but I also craved the stability of a salaried job.  Impossible right?

Well, as it turns out I had another passion: video games.  My siblings and I played video games back when the "graphics" were square blobs and you had to load them into the computer via a floppy drive.  As I got older, the games became more complicated and the stories more immersive.  There, I discovered my dream job: video game writing.  Though only a sacred few people ever got to call themselves video game writers, they did exist.  As I drifted through an undergraduate degree and my first teaching job, I daydreamed about one day becoming a video game writer.

My daydreaming turned to action when I enrolled in a Master’s degree program in business.   I set out on the video game networking warpath.  I combed through the university’s alumni contacts and reached out to anyone involved in games.  I cold-called people.  I found local game developers and followed their progress.  Through my dedication, I found an unpaid marketing internship in a small video game studio that eventually led to a full-time job when I graduated.  It only paid half of what other companies offered me, but I didn’t care.  I wanted to work in the video game industry no matter what the cost.

After two years doing marketing and production work, I saw my opportunity.  At a company-wide meeting, the CEO announced that we would be working on a new game of epic proportions.  Everyone else at the company meeting got excited about gameplay and design, but all I could see was “video game writing opportunity.”  I emailed the CEO and begged him to let me write for the new game.  I would write player manuals, I would write boring tutorial text, but I wanted to write.  Unproven, he allowed me to make the switch, and in November 2010, I officially became a video game writer.

I had made it.  This was THE job, the one that would make my life meaningful and happy, the one I had wanted for years, the one I had worked so hard to achieve.  All my education, all my dreams and aspirations, everything led to this, the video game writing job.

But a funny thing happened [..]

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Why I Stopped Searching for Happiness

By +Kamila Gornia 

Sometimes the only thing you can do is to just stop searching. Making it look like you’re after the feeling is not the same as actually having the feeling.

I was at a point in my life where everything looked great from the outside. I had just graduated college with Honors and two Degrees; I had my own apartment that I could afford; I got a new job plus multiple freelance opportunities.

But still… something was missing.

It can be frustrating when we know we should be happy and yet… something just isn’t right. Just because I look cool and collected on the outside does not mean I feel that way on the inside.

I knew I had my issues. I had my issues around eating, around my body image, and my tendency to isolate myself from others. The more I isolated myself, the more I lived inside my head, and the more I beat myself up over the fact that I’m “making up problems that shouldn’t actually be there.”

But that feeling is real.

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Don’t Sacrifice Your Present Happiness For Future Security

By +Robert Spadinger 

When I was young, I had big dreams. I wanted to live an adventurous life, follow my heart, be fearless and passionate… and I wanted to travel the world as soon as I finished college.

When I finished college, I already had a job offer waiting. It was at a local company where I worked as a student during the summer holidays.

I didn't really feel very good about the offer. The job seemed rather boring, there weren't all too many possibilities to develop and to move forward and above all, I wanted to do some travelling.

Unfortunately, back then, the economic situation wasn't really that great and everyone tried to convince me to take the job.

I should have listened to my heart…

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Becoming What I Might Have Been

By +Linda Hoenigsberg 

As I passed my 50th birthday, I wondered if I would ever be able to complete some of the dreams I had carried with me for decades. So many things had happened to me. I had been sent to juvenile hall at fourteen, got myself kicked out of school by fifteen, and married by sixteen. We had our firstborn son when I was seventeen, and my husband abandoned my son and me by my eighteenth birthday. Thing went downhill from there. I experienced abuse and trauma. After a gang-rape by six young men I turned to drugs to try to cope with the emotional pain.

By the time I hit my twenties, I was seriously mentally ill. Soon I would lose a brother and three years later, a father, to suicide. I went through another abusive marriage and divorce.

But I worked very hard to recover. These events changed me, but I grew as a person and changed my life. I eventually married a wonderful man. My children grew and became husbands and wives, with families of their own. I had the joy of a house full of grandchildren. My Christmases were no longer the nightmares of drunkenness of my childhood, but instead full of light and peace and the sweet laughter of children.

But now I had fallen down a flight of stairs and broken my neck! It seemed as if life was over.

Then one day I saw a quote by a woman named Mary Ann Evans. She used the pseudonym George Eliot because in her era women authors were not well received. She said, "It's never too late to become what you might have been." Since this quote was on an illustration in a magazine, I snipped it out, framed it, and hung it on the wall above my desk. Could I dare to think I still had time to make my dreams reality? [..]

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I'm excited to share The Change Blog's first Kindle book, The Possibility of Change: 10 True Stories of Travel. It's available for free for a limited time here:

If you enjoy the book I would greatly appreciate you sharing it with your friends and/ or leaving a review on Amazon. Thank you so much.
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How Finding My True Potential Changed My Life

By Mark Egan

Many of us go through our lives, never really knowing what we want to do and we simply live in a way that suits others. We may conform to what’s expected of us rather than making our own choices. We may get to a point where we start to question what our true potential really is and whether we’ve lived up to that potential.

Growing up I was always a very awkward looking child. Tall, skinny and rather introverted, I lacked confidence and self-belief, especially in the classroom where my grades were certainly below average. I was a very shy child. I still remember that I would regularly hide behind my Mother’s long dress whenever she stopped to talk to people on the way to school. I still don’t quite know what I was hiding from, perhaps the possible embarrassment of being talked to by one of my Mother’s friends.

Despite being a rather awkward looking child I had a passion from a young age. That passion was fitness. I would try almost any sport. I particularly loved running and I would literally run everywhere I could. The feeling I got from exercising was like nothing else. We lived opposite the park and my Mother would let me play football with friends there after school. I wasn’t a very good footballer as it happened, but I still loved it. I was a fast runner and when I got the ball my long legs made it hard for others to catch up with me.

I was very fit, healthy and happy right up until the age of 10. One summer’s day, I was playing football with a few friends in the park as usual. I suddenly began struggling to breath and my chest felt like someone was sitting on me. Gasping for air and lying on the floor, I felt that I was losing consciousness and began going dizzy. I was rushed to hospital and treated for status asthmaticus – a severe life-threatening asthma attack. I was injected with epinephrine and corticosteroids to control my condition and after almost a month in hospital for in-depth observations and tests I was allowed to return home. Before I left the hospital, I still remember the doctor telling my Mother that this was the worst asthma attack they had ever seen [..]

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