We all go through different phases in our careers. It’s only natural, at any point, to want to change direction or do something different.
Perhaps you’ve grown bored of being in the same field for many years, or feelings of unfulfillment have begun to creep into your mind. Sometimes we spend years on one career path only to discover we lost the passion we once had. It’s important to recognize these feelings so you live your life doing something that truly lights you up.
When we talk about reinventing ourselves, it means we want to disrupt our old ways of thinking and emerge into something new–our personal metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly. It’s what Vishen Lakhiani, founder of personal growth brand Mindvalley, calls the beautiful destruction – letting what is simply good move away so what’s truly great can emerge in your life. While this period may be uncomfortable, it’s a sign that something beautiful is blooming.
Miki Agrawal recently chatted with us about breaking taboos and disrupting the status quo, and she’s certainly an incredible case study for doing so. Agrawal is a social entrepreneur behind such popular companies as Wild, THINX and Tushy, collectively valued at over $200 million. Wild is an eco-friendly healthy pizza joint with locations in New York and Guatemala, THINX is a period underwear company breaking the period taboo, and Tushy makes a full line of bathroom products to upgrade your ‘tushy’ life.
If there’s one unifying thing in Agrawal’s businesses, it’s that she had no prior experience in any of these industries, but knew she wanted to bring massive change while giving back.
As she puts it, “It’s a whole body of ‘F**k yes!’ to your work, your life, your relationships and your mission, while doing it authentically, unapologetically and with full integrity.”
Agrawal’s theory is that adults get stuck with the complexity bias. We ignore simple solutions because we think they’ll never work, and we instead favor complex ones. In reality, though, everything is much simpler than we make it out to be.
“If you have the discipline, to do one or two things toward your business or your passion every day, you can disrupt anything. It’s not rocket science.”~ Miki Agrawal
If this was so obvious, we’d all be doing it and reinvention wouldn’t seem all that scary. So how do you develop the mindset to play full out and achieve the life that you’re highly passionate about?
Here Are 3 Ways to Overhaul Your Thoughts and Disrupt Life as You Know It
1. Clear Your Mental Space
Imagine that you’ve just experienced a situation that angered you. You have all these thoughts coming in and you find yourself spiraling out of control. An hour later you’re still mumbling about it and you’ve completely wasted your precious time. Instead of allowing your mental space to be consumed by negativity, try to:
- Catch all your thoughts. Become a warrior gatekeeper of your mind.
- Name your thoughts. There’s no space for Judge Judy or Mean Margy when you want to leave your job to pursue your dreams. When these characters enter the game, catch them before they seep into your brain.
- Stop letting negative thoughts in. Many of the negative thoughts that come through our gate are very self-deprecating and worrisome. It’s up to you to say, ‘No, not today.’ But make sure to schedule time with your coach, therapist or friend to unpack these thoughts so you can better understand them.
It’s important to realize that you have agency over your thoughts. When you’re in tune with your thought process, you can become a ninja with your brain, learning to pay attention and remove the thoughts that aren’t serving you. By doing this, you’ll create more space and now 90 percent of your mind is clear for new thoughts and ideas. You’ll start looking at the world again with a fresh pair of eyes which makes it easier to do the next step.
2. Shake Yourself Awake From the Seriousness of Adulthood
THINX, now valued at over $100 million, was created in the container of playfulness at a family BBQ known as ‘Agrapalooza’. Agrawal’s family has a tradition of playing games like the three-legged race, egg toss, volleyball, and putting on talent shows. In the middle of the three-legged race championship title, her twin sister Radha started her period. As they ran to the bathroom still tied to each other, Radha was washing the blood out of her bathing suit bottoms, and that’s when the idea hit.
The world has slowly but surely removed the very thing that helps us be creative – the ability to wonder, play, and just be. But many successful entrepreneurs come up with their best ideas in the shower, on a vacation, or at a family BBQ playing a three-legged race.
Agrawal says that as a society, we’ve been taught since we were little to be serious. “Get your head out of the clouds. Sit down. Be quiet. If you want to go to college, shut up and listen. If you want to get a job, shut up and listen.”
It’s important to put yourself in a container of playfulness. For example, go out to the park and ride a merry-go-round or do jumping jacks. It’s doing things like these that bring you into a child-like state of curiosity, playfulness and awe. Ask yourself, ‘when was the last time I looked at the world and said WOW?’
3. Look for the Path That Lights You Up
When Michael Jordan switched careers from basketball to baseball, everyone in baseball laughed him off the pitch. They shamed the best athlete in the world. They just couldn’t accept him leaving his path and going into something different.
Before becoming a restaurateur, the founder of an underwear company and a disruptor in the bidet business, Agrawal was an investment banker, a professional soccer player and a film producer. While it may seem zigzaggy, nothing in her journey has been futile. Most of it makes sense and ends up connecting afterward.
We’ve all been taught to follow a career path. If you do this job and stay in your safe lane, you’ll get the house, the white picket fence, the car, the kids and the family. From the point of college graduation to death, we only have an average of 21,000 days of life. What are you doing with that time? Do you want to go down a certain path because your family or society said so? Or do you want the ‘lit path’ that lights you up?
If you want to reinvent yourself and change the course before your inner Judge Judy enters the game, try to embrace your past. Look at the ideas and skills you possess and see how they might merge together to create something that is truly you. You’d be surprised to see how everything can come together.
But remember not to get stuck chasing perfection. If there’s something that’s certain, it’s that nobody will ever be perfect—not even celebrities, or billionaires, or life-changing inventors. Stay focused on the iterative process and make micro-adjustments to get better every day on your chosen path.
As Steve Jobs says, “You can never connect the dots looking forward, but you can always connect the dots looking backwards.”