First - Have the Last Laugh

The art of reinvention is NOT about starting with a market need. The path to reinvention starts with what YOU need. More specifically, that 'juice' that gives you energy - is what the market is looking for.

Think back to the television phenomenon, Seinfeld. With loyal viewers and a record setting finale, "What are you going to do to top this?" was Jerry Seinfeld's oft heard question. Immediately he knew he could not possibly supersede the success of his show. He felt lost. How do you reinvent when you have reached extraordinary heights?

Jerry Seinfeld instinctively knew to follow his passion, not to follow the whims of a fickle market. The Jim Rohn belief, "You will suffer one of two pains - the pain of discipline or the pain of regret," was not lost on Seinfeld. He eats no meat, meditates twice a day and exercises religiously. In a recent CBS Sunday Morning interview he described his reinvention as going back to what he loved, "Making people laugh." It didn't have to be a new sitcom. All he asked of himself was to explore what gave him energy, the world of making people laugh.

It's revealing to see what drives Jerry Seinfeld in his 2002 documentary, Comedian. He searched for the answer to one question, "Where does comedy come from?" If there is one quality the finest comedians have in common, it's fearlessness. Seinfeld fearlessly chased this question coming up with an entirely new stand-up routine while crossing paths with comic colleagues. The gravity of this undertaking is underscored in Raymond Barone's reaction when he finds out Seinfeld isn't using any old (read "dependably safe") material. 

In 2007 he co-writes and lends his chops to the Dreamworks production of, The Bee Movie. Again, he explores 'what makes people laugh?' 

Most recently, the 61 year old comic, while relentlessly delivering stand-up routines at set dates around the US and surprise visits to comedy clubs in New York, he dove into a concept his wife came up with: an American version of the BBC hit, Top Gear. At this point you would think it was a layup for a mega-celebrity on the threshold of being a billionaire. Not so.


His idea, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was a tough sell. "The hard part was finding anyone who wanted to do it.... They didn't get it." Seinfeld could not convince any Internet powerhouse to host it. The concept? A show where comedians talk about comedy. He pitched every Internet outlet he could. None wanted it. "I thought, 'What kind of track record do you have to have?'"

Over 100 million views and six seasons later, Sony's website, Crackle, is having the last laugh. 

To each of us, the lesson is clear. Reinvention is not about starting with a kitschy angle. It is not about pointing towards a hidden need in the market (like becoming the next Uber or The pursuit that should be in your cross hairs is what feeds every cell of your body.

Who you are. NOT what you do. 'Your being' must lead 'your doing.'

Start there and you'll also have the last laugh. 

Source: Vince Poscente

Vince Poscente: New York Times Bestselling Author, Olympian, and Hall of Fame Speaker, Activate Purpose + Accelerate Growth

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