Reinventing yourself

By on September 28, 2010
Whether you arrived here to work, study, or simply have an adventure, your time in Japan offers the ultimate opportunity to reinvent yourself.  But why bother?Like many accomplished professionals, you may have embarked upon your career path for reasons that have little to do with your true passions. I have had numerous clients who became accountants, doctors, or lawyers due to family values or pressure. Other clients have simply fallen into their career because of the first job they happened upon after university.

The challenge is this: If your career path has been determined by anything other than an understanding of your true talents, interests, and passions, chances are your enjoyment of your work is limited. Spending a majority of your time doing things you don’t enjoy is a surefire recipe for low energy, stress, and mediocrity. Doing what you love, on the other hand, not only leads to excellence, success, and happiness; it is the ultimate source of renewable and sustainable energy on a personal level.

Japan offers the perfect opportunity to break free from doing what you have always done and align who you are with what you do. Not only are you away from old influences; you are surrounded by new ones. In addition, many people find that, for the first time in their lives, they have the time, motivation, and money to explore newly-discovered or long-buried interests and talents.
Here’s how to take this opportunity to break free of old patterns and revitalize your life and work:

Identify Influences
How much has your current path/personality been influenced by your true talents, interests, and passions versus the opinions of others?  No need for judgment or regret; simply recognize what is and choose to steer by your own inner compass from now on.

Explore your whims
Don’t worry if the things that interest you aren’t practical. While none of your explorations may turn into a viable career, they are guaranteed to produce invaluable knowledge about your own style, strengths, and purpose.

Cultivate your passions
Passions are required to recalibrate your internal compass and ensure that your next incarnation is more aligned with your true self – your values, talents, purpose and vision. Books are helpful, but a good career coach is invaluable for synthesizesing your unique combination of passions and removing the limiting beliefs that have prevented you from seeing and following your passions before.

Pay attention
And take action! My passion for cycle-touring was sparked in Japan when I overheard a couple in my favorite coffee shop planning their cycling trip to France. The next day, I went out, bought a bike, and began planning my first cycling trip. While not related to my work, this hobby remains an incredible source of aliveness for me to this day.

Be willing to let go
When I first arrived in Japan, I had to consciously let go of my corporate identity and embrace my “granola” side by diving headfirst into activities like aikido, ikebana, shiatsu massage, meditation, and taiko drumming.

Listen to what calls you back
By allowing myself a full year to explore alternate personal and career identities, I had more trust in the vision that began calling me back to certain aspects of my past work in new and exciting ways.

While you may fear that the reinvention process will require completely starting over, this is seldom the case.  Reinventing yourself does not require starting over. It simply requires the willingness to entertain a fresh perspective on the foundations that have always been part of how you thrive in life and work.

Andrea Jacques, founder of Kyosei Consulting International, has spent more than twenty years developing the potential of individuals and organizations worldwide. Five of these years were spent in Japan where the core philosophies of her work on the relationship between passion, performance and profits took shape.  A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates leading eastern and western thought with top-tier leadership, engagement, wellness and sustainability consulting to build the capacity of people and business to thrive. Her clients represent a diverse cross-section of industries including banking, retail, government, insurance, academia and high-tech. She can be contacted through her website at

About Andrea Jacques

Andrea Jacques is the founder of Kyosei Consulting and the author of Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: Inspiration for an Authentic Life (available on She has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of people and businesses worldwide, five of which were in Japan. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates spiritual insight with top-tier leadership, wellness and sustainability consulting to help individuals and organizations build thriving, purpose-driven cultures where employees know their work truly matters. She can be contacted through her website at