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Congrats! You’ve been promoted to Chief Reinvention Officer

Chief Reinvention Officer

Big news!

Imagine you’ve been working for one company your whole life.

(To my fellow millennials, pretend that you didn’t just throw up in your mouth a little.)

I’m talking about a company that others admire

Sure, the place has its quirks, but it’s a good place to work. Most days, you’re proud to work there.

And you’ve put in the effort: decades of service; working around the clock; and unquestioned loyalty to the firm. 

Then one day, you get the call.

Big news – you’ve made it to the C-Suite.




Call up your assistant – it’s time for new business cards.

(Just kidding. You don’t have an assistant and no one uses business cards anymore.)

Exciting, right?

I mean, it is a very small organization. Like more of a boutique, you know?

And also, it turns out that everyone you know is a CRO.

So in that sense, it’s actually not that prestigious. 

But wait – a promotion is still a promotion!

Although now that you mention it… you’ve sort of been the CRO all along.

Oh, and the job is yours whether you like it or not. 

Stay with me

If you’re a little lost, here’s what I’m trying to say:

You are the Chief Reinvention Officer of your life, and recognizing this is a big deal.

Yes, this is a hokey concept, but it’s also a powerful mindset shift.

Why? Because in your lifetime, you will have many opportunities to dramatically change and improve how your life looks and feels.

Not guarantees, but opportunities.

As a Chief Reinvention Officer, your job is to learn how to translate these opportunities into the results you desire.

Let’s take a look at the three types of opportunities for change.

Opportunities for change

#1: Procedural catalysts

I think of these events as procedural because it’s almost expected that we’ll go through some or all of them.

Depending on your specific culture or community, you might add things like a religious mission, military service, or other rites of passage to the list.

These moments are natural inflection points. As our circumstances change, we’re presented with the chance to develop new habits, skills, and beliefs.

The challenge is that we often sleepwalk through these moments. We follow the herd, adhere to conventional wisdom, or fail to truly immerse ourselves in the moment.

In other words, we’re passive managers instead of actively (re)designing our futures.

You’ve likely gone through more than a few of these events in your life.

Have you ever stopped to think:

  • How did that impact my life?
  • Was I an active participant?
  • Were there “roads not taken” that I wish I’d followed?
  • Should I have been fired as the CRO?

You get the idea.

#2: Reactionary catalysts

I’ve written about the importance of resilience before, but here’s the quick version: unexpected or undesirable events are a fact of life.

The good news is that adversity is one of the most powerful – if not the most powerful – motivators for change.

Why? Because often times we have no choice but to change. When we get sick, lose a job, or let go of a loved one, certain doors in our life close off for good. We must find another way to keep going.

In that sense, this type of change isn’t something that we seek out. It’s much more reactionary in nature.

To see what this looks like in practice, check out Season 1: “When adversity strikes” of the Reinvented podcast [Spotify, Apple, web].

The challenge is to not be overcome by the moment and subsequently to reassemble your life so that you can move forward.

You might be surprised to learn that more good can come from failures and setbacks than you think.

For more ideas, check out What’s on your failure resume? and the Resilience 101 hub.

#3: Aspirational catalysts

Unlike the first two catalysts, the third is voluntary.

It’s based on the desire for greater joy, happiness, connection, or meaning.

It’s aspirational in nature, and it’s driven by the contrast between how we feel and what we hope for. When we’re stressed, unfulfilled, lonely, etc. we start to feel the pressure to change.

As the pressure begins to rise, it can positively manifest itself in the types if personal and professional changes listed above. It can also lead to anger, frustration, despondency, self-medication, escapism, and more.

The other challenge is that this type of motivation tends to be fickle. We might do enough to marginally improve our condition but not enough to create meaningful change. Other times, we set an ambitious course but are unable to sustain the effort.

Rarely, however, are we able to harness the desire for change into positive, lasting, and transformational results.

Where to next?

As it turns out, being a Chief Reinvention Officer is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever hold. 

No, it’s not that exclusive, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

Reinvention – the act of changing something so much that it appears to be new – is a powerful response when faced with life’s inflection points, unexpected setbacks, or simply the pursuit of something greater.

By recognizing that these opportunity are ever present, we can begin to identify new possibilities for change, growth, and transformation.

In other words, calling yourself a Chief Reinvention Officer makes clear what was true all along: you have countless opportunities to build the life that you want.

With that in mind, I’ll leave you with three questions to think about in your first week on the job:

  1. Do you believe that your best days are ahead of or behind you? Do you feel more like a “high school hero” or a “late bloomer”?
  2. What parts of your life are ripe for renewal? What are you pretending will get better on its own?
  3. And how prepared do you feel to get started? Who’s invited to the metaphorical kick-off meeting and what’s on the agenda?

Congrats again on your promotion 🙂