Most of us have heard the expression, “If you let something go and it returns to you than it’s truly yours. If it doesn’t then it was never yours to begin with.”
But what about when you let someone go? What about when they keep coming back? And what about when you keep letting them back? Who belongs to whom in that situation? And what about when you’ve finally kicked a habit after committing yourself to days, weeks, months or even years of work – only to relapse as soon as you think you’ve gotten a hold of the thing?
What does it all mean? It means it’s time to anew things. It’s time to do a new thing. It’s time to revamp some things and do things differently. It’s time to reassess in order to revitalize your life.
You’re likely wondering, “Well, what are the steps to anewing things?”
Before I get into that, I want to first distinguish between anewal and renewal.
Renewal, the process with which most of us are likely familiar, is the process of restoring a thing. It is taking something old and making it like new. It is the act of repackaging or even repurposing a thing.
Anewal, on the other hand, is the process of making something into something new. It will inevitably be repurposed because it literally is not what (or who) it was before. The beautiful thing about anewal is that a thing cannot be what it is today without having been whatever it was before; and yet, it is so transformed that it is virtually impossible to believe that it ever was anything else.
Sometimes it is the coupling and pairing of a thing with something else that so effectively anews it. For instance, have you ever seen the dome-home in Jamaica? A man built his home almost entirely underground, using clay, cement, egg cartons and wicker baskets. To look at his lavishly built home, one would assume the materials are of the finest quality, imported from some upscale city in some hoity-toity country. But nope, everything is recyclable and eco-friendly DUMPED in the trash and recycling facilities around town.
My favorite anewal story is likely that of Drew Barrymore, the actress/director/ philanthropist/entrepreneur best known for her roles in ET, Charlie’s Angels, Home Fries, Riding in Cars with Boys and…well, everything else!
Drew is the love-child of two very high-profile Hollywood celebs. Mom and dad were both part of the social scene, and with the moral standards of the day included their daughter in their escapades.
By age 9, Drew was high and drunk, partying with A-list celebs 4x her age! By 11, she was in rehab! Oh, but to look at her now!
Drew Barrymore could not and would not be who she is without her childhood. She would not be passionate about child protection and underage drinking. She wouldn’t give to charities that aim to keep children off the streets and out of trouble. Again, she could not and would not be who she is if it were not for her past.
However, Drew’s past does not define her. It does not confine her. Her past is not a limitation. She has made herself anew. She has repackaged, repurposed, revamped and revitalized. She is not the same Drew.
Now, you may be thinking that her wealth and influence give her advantage that many of us don’t have. But I believe it is her wealth and influence that make the story all the more incredible. How often do we hear the Hollywood tales about young child stars gone awry; leading to a life of drugs, crime and even death? How often do we see the media pry into these people’s most personal affairs, exposing their private battles to the world without compassion or discretion?
I think this makes Drew an even greater anomaly and a worthy role model for this kind of activity.
What activity? Well, let’s go back and discuss those steps to anewing yourself and your life.
1. Review – Look at your life honestly. Without making things to grand or too simple, ask yourself if you are where you want to be? If not, why not? If yes, how did you get there? Are you comfortable or are you planning to press forward some more one day?
2. Reflect – The first step is an assessment. This is actually a tool. By reflecting on your choices, you not only acknowledge them, but you consider how things could have been, and could someday be, different. You are thinking about what action you will take in the future to get different results.
3. Repurpose – Do a new thing. Are you happy at work? Are you volunteering your time? Would you like to read more? Have you always wanted to host dinner parties? What are you looking to do that you haven’t done already? Do you have friends who share your passion? Perhaps, your repurposing process requires you to make some new friends! Give yourself a new agenda and a new direction.
4. Repackage – Change something about how the world sees you. There is something about visibility that helps the human brain. When you visibly alter something about yourself, your brain has no choice but to catch up. Your eyes signal to your brain that because you look different you must BE different. (Of course, it’s a much more scientific process of biochemistry and neurology, but who has time for that? Me! …Next time.) Repackaging could be as simple as adding an accessory or two to your wardrobe or as bold as getting a secret tattoo! Whatever you do, change the packaging to show off the new product inside.
5. Revitalize – This is the final step in the anewal process. When you’ve done everything else, you let your work start going to work for you. Your energy and effort begins to pay off. You look good, you feel good, you do good – then you start doing well. You become the go-to person. Things begin to look up and you get excited about life – your life…anew!
Believe me, this process doesn’t have to be hard. If you want to get out of your box, start by blowing off the lid, cut a hole in the side. Do something – anything – that tears down the barriers between you and what you’re after.
It doesn’t have to be expensive either. I know a woman who highlighted her hair with Kool-Aid and peroxide. Personally, I wouldn’t know where to begin, but she had one of the best dos I – or anyone else in our office – had ever seen. She completely repackaged (and I mean, she flipped the script) for under $3!
Granted, changing your life will take a little creativity on your part. But isn’t it worth it to live the life you want on the terms you’ve set?
Good luck and Namaste.