Sometimes rock bottom is the best foundation for building something incredible. Chris Gardner, 57, the homeless man who transformed his life and made millions, is a shining example of this. His story is told in his autobiography and the movie based on it, The Pursuit of Happyness.
Dewey Bozella also knows that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself and pursue your vision for your life. After spending 26 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, physical evidence exonerated him, and now he’s training for his first professional prizefight at age 52. While in prison, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Cheri DiNovo, 61, an MPP in the Ontario legislature, can trace her passion for social justice issues, including those that address poverty, to her own experience with homelessness. Her office now overlooks the park where she spent many nights in the past.
At any age and stage in life, the potential to reinvent our lives is always there inside us. It is never too late for you and never impossible, no matter what situation you are in. For some, hitting rock bottom is a wake-up call, but if we have a choice, we don’t have to (or want to!) reach that point before we awaken the visionary within us and start taking steps to change our lives in ways that transform the world.
Once your visionary is awake, opportunities to pursue your passion and purpose will start to present themselves, but keep in mind that reinvention doesn’t happen overnight. Too often, we are motivated and inspired only to feel that excitement die down, leaving us right back where we started, perhaps even believing that this really is all there is, that our dreams are just that—dreams. That’s why you have to go into your reinvention with a plan and reasonable expectations for the time it will take to set your transformation in motion. And of course, it helps to have some practical guidance and support along the way as well as a plan for nurturing and sustaining that visionary voice so that she doesn’t fall back asleep again. Because the best dreams are the ones that unfold when our eyes are wide open.
What does it take to awaken your inner visionary? What inspires you, excites you, nurtures your spirit?