new beginnings

Recently Glitterazi and Tune Love merged into Dead Curious, a brand new site with more of the same great original content but with a more kick-ass design. The launch of this new website got me thinking about new beginnings and reinventing yourself.

There are times in our life when we need a change. We need to shake things up or run the risk of stagnating and falling into a rut. This could be a whole new look, or a change of career, getting out of a dead marriage or starting over in a new city or country.

Celebrities do this from time to time. Madonna’s a good example. From the controversial and racy platinum blonde with the cone-shaped bras back in the 80’s to a more toned-down brunette to the model mom, Madonna’s image and music evolved to suit each passing decade.

One can get this right, like Madge, or get it foolishly wrong like Prince… or rather, An Unpronounceable Symbol, or is it … The Artist formally known as Prince?

And then there was Puff Daddy, no make that P. Daddy… err, sorry P. Diddy…or is it just Diddy now?

The Lesson: A name change alone does not necessarily constitute a reinvention!

Then there are some, like singers and rappers, who want to diversify into acting.
Bette Midler and Will Smith rocked this.
Mariah Carey and Britney Spears did so with less than mediocre results.

Businesses do this often. They change logos, corporate identities, company names. Sometimes this works phenomenally well, other times it doesn’t.

* Lucky Cream and Goldstar became LG
* Datsun became Nissan
* The Haloid Company became Xerox

Sometimes they move to abbreviated names.

* America Online became AOL
* Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC

Sometimes they breathe new life into logos. Is it just me or does it look like the early Pepsi-Cola logos closely resemble Coca-Cola?

Pepsi Pic

But what a drastic change the Nokia logo underwent!

Nokia Pic

Yikes! What’s the furry fish about? Okay, my curiousity was killing me on this one, so I did a google search.

Nokia was originally established as a wood-pulp mill in Tampere, Finland. It took on the name Nokia after moving the mill to the banks of the Nokianvirta river in the town of Nokia. The word “nokia” in Finnish means a dark, furry animal that we now call the Pine Marten weasel – hence the furry fish logo!

The company, Nokia Wood Mill merged with Finnish Rubber Works and Finnish Cable Works in 1967 to form The Nokia Corporation. Before focusing on telecommunications and cell phones, Nokia produced paper products, bicycle and car tires, shoes, television, electricity generators, and so on.

So how can we apply this on a personal level?

Last year I relaunched my life. I quit my job and decided to follow one of my passions – writing. I went from being a brand manager to a freelance writer and wannabe entrepreneur. I wanted to try working for myself doing something I love. I basically turned my entire life upside down. I went from a secure, stable 9-5 job with a decent salary and my own apartment to being unemployed / self-employed and living with my parents with a fraction of the income I used to have. There are days when I’m still reeling from the 360 degree turnaround wondering what the hell I was thinking!

Reinventing yourself can be the best thing you ever do. It is liberating and exciting. It is absolutely true that a change is as good as a holiday. It infuses every cell in your body with new life! You feel more motivated and in turn, happier. Despite the challenges, for the first time in years, I feel alive!

But make no mistake, nobody said it would be easy.

Yes, it’s scary. Another term for ‘rut’ is ‘comfort zone’.  Sometimes no matter how unhappy we are in our rut, we’re strangely comfortable in it. It’s what we know. As those who fear change like to say, “Better the devil you know”. The first hurdle is overcoming the fear.“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway” – John Wayne

Yes, it’s hard work. When a company decides to change its image, there’s a lot of work involved. Overall company strategy is carefully thought out first. How does the company want to position itself? In which direction is it going? Consultants are then brought in to work on design, name and so on. Marketing and PR kick in to launch the ‘new’ company. This whole process can take a couple of years from the initial drawing board phase to final launch. Similarly, if someone decides to start their own business from scratch, it’s a long, hard slog! Most people who tackle this say that despite the hard work, it is very rewarding – if you can tough it out!

Yes, it’s risky. Failure frightens us. We are afraid of looking foolish to our friends and family. The singer who thinks he can act has his efforts fall flat and is ridiculed by the media. The company that spent two years redesigning its image has it backfire when profits take a downturn. The small business owner closes shop in a year. Your new hair colour turns out green.

Well… shit happens. And failure is often the precursor to success.

Bill Gates was a university drop-out and his first business attempt failed dismally. He tried again, and Microsoft became a roaring success.

JK Rowling didn’t become an overnight success. Her Harry Potter manuscript was rejected 12 times before a publisher decided to print it. He even advised her to get a day job as there was no money in children’s books!

Walt Disney was rejected several times and told that as a cartoonist he didn’t have good ideas and was lacking in imagination. They told him a cartoon mouse was a bad idea and would scare women! Several banks declined his request for funding for a theme park. So when his ‘bad’ ideas took off faster than a rocket launched by NASA, I hope he turned around and showed them the finger and said, “Take that, suckers!”

Failure is not the end of the world. What’s the worst that can happen? Your green hair will grow out. If you fail at your own business, you can get another job if you really have to. At the very least you tried, and can try again! The thing is, if you don’t decide to put yourself on a new path, nothing will change in your life. I believe that along a new path there has to be new opportunities – there can’t be nothing. But you won’t ever find those new opportunities until you change your path.

I have had so many people tell me how brave they think I am. They stare at me in awe and I can see in their eyes that in the back of their mind they are thinking, “Wow – I wish I could do something like that. But no… No, I can’t.”

In the words of Barack Obama, “YES, YOU CAN!”

So follow Nike’s advice and JUST DO IT!