Stop Trying to Reinvent Yourself and Get to Know Yourself Instead

Clarity and heightened self-awareness come when we allow ourselves to fall back to zero

Michael Thompson
Forge
Published in
4 min readOct 26, 2021

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Jurica KoletićUnsplash

A few things had happened of late that made me question the direction I was taking. My motivation and clarity were at an all-time low.

“What’s next?” I thought to myself.

“Where do I want to take my career and my writing?”

Trapped in a vicious cycle, I felt like everything I was doing fell under someone else’s control.

With a young family to support, I woke up each day feeling old.

“Don’t do anything right now,” my friend Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA said when I found myself complaining to him on a perfectly sunny Monday afternoon.

“And when I say ‘anything’ I mean do absolutely nothing! Give yourself a month to not work or write. Allow yourself to get so bored you want to explode. You don’t need to reinvent yourself. You need to take the time to get back to your true self. You’ve got the seed. Allow yourself to go back to zero!”

Kevin and I share a lot of the same qualities. Ambitious. Persistent. These qualities can be professional strengths. They can also be serious personal weaknesses.

I fought his advice at first. “I can’t do that!” I said.

“I’ve got mouths to feed!”

“I’ll lose my momentum!”

But the more I contemplated his words, the more I began to think about the type of momentum I had in the first place — and how following that was the very reason I’d found myself questioning the point of anything and everything.

As a kid, I never dreamed of being a writer.

I randomly stumbled upon it at the age of 38 primarily because my wife and I had recently started a family and I needed an outlet that didn’t involve leaving the house for hours on end.

I quickly saw the value.

As someone with ADHD, it helped to slow and better organize my thoughts. I also realized I loved tinkering and telling stories. A few people have told me of late there’s stillness in my writing. I love that.

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Michael Thompson
Forge
Writer for

Co-creator of two cool kids • Storytelling Coach •.Fast Co., Insider, Forbes • Free storytelling guide here: https://bit.ly/3h1KZeT