THE BLOG
05/31/2013 05:08 pm ET Updated Jul 31, 2013

Digital Fire: Northwest Voices in the Arts, Books, and Business on Reinvention

Life in America is often about rethinking, reworking, and reinventing.

From software upgrades to infrastructure rebuilding, there's a lot of work to do in the area of reinvention.

Over the past several years careers have been rebooted, businesses have been redirected, and people have remade themselves into who they were supposed to be all along.

When it becomes necessary, reinvention has been a driving cultural force throughout history, and now it's our turn.

Reinvention has become a movement taking place at all levels of society.

Flip through a magazine, turn on your TV, or do an online search. You'll find that the topic of reinvention is everywhere in our culture.

Cultural shifts, disruptive technology, and economic forces have affected everyday workers and entrepreneurs, people living in apartments and high-rise towers.

We asked a few Northwest people in the arts and business communities what reinvention means to them.

"Reinvention is not just an opportunity to create something new, it's an opportunity to recommit to some things that are (and have always been) central to who you are. The key to success is to be able to determine which is sacred and must never change, and what is merely habitual and must change."
Bill Toliver, Executive Director of The Matale Line

"My friends call me Madonna as I have successfully changed careers, direction, location many times over the 35+ years of my working life. Although, I might add, without Madonna's physique or finances. What has worked for me is my lack of attachment to possessions, position, expectations or outcomes. Being unencumbered has made the decision to move frequently much easier. Having a focus on what I'm doing instead of what I'm called or where I am in the org chart has enabled me to be more flexible in my career path. Letting go of expectations has liberated me to be humble in assessing what I know, and to be able to seek out teachers and mentors of all kinds to help me develop and grow. For me, reinvention is the product of an unquiet mind and an insatiable thirst to learn more."
Marianne Sweeny, Search Strategist at Portent Interactive

"Reinvention feels necessary for some reason. Whenever we manifest a system or school of thought that seems to serve us, it eventually (and perhaps inevitably) shows signs of instability that we then attempt to correct. Throughout history, mass reinvention can almost always be linked to mass violence through war or revolt. But in this age of digital reinvention, it seems to be our task, as people who espouse peace and cleverness as virtues to reinvent the means of reinvention."
Brian Nunes, Filmmaker and Painter

"Reinvention is to recreate that which exists, but better. The design may be entirely different, but the essence remains intact. To me, reinvention means casting away the confines of real or imagined limitations to allow for the liberation of growth and expansion - allowing energy to be redirect and manifest in a new form. Every life form is reinvented over and over so the species can continue to exist, Trees reinvent their leaves every season, and reptiles reinvent their skin. It's healthy, therapeutic, and natural to reinvent one's self on a regular basis as long as one can stay true to the core identity values that define the depth of one's character. Everyone is an inventor who can benefit from the past experiments of others, and who has an opportunity to contribute their own improved version of what is and will be. As a business, reinvention means reevaluating how best to deliver mission goals and build improved relationships with clients and customers. Societal systems and technologies are being constantly reinvented, and staying relevant to the marketplace demands a degree of shape-shifting for every business that wishes to stay successful."
Vivian McPeak, Hempfest Director and Organizer

"Reinvention is a necessity of survival. It goes beyond "adaptation" or "evolution" where you merely conform to your surroundings. Reinvention means you are staring into the patterns of possibility...and you can't look away. You become responsible for seeing and acting on your own potential. Reinvention is messy, it's scary, it's lonely, and it's uncertain. You don't know what will happen, you don't know how it will happen, but you can't not make it happen."
Bethany Mooradian, Author and Entrepreneur Evangelist

"For me, reinvention means going back to the basics. Ask all the questions again that got you where you are today, and see how much the answers have changed. We grow and experience new things in life, and we make different decisions according to those experiences. Going back to the basics and reinventing yourself is one excellent way to keep yourself on track and measure your progress."
Christian Jacobsen, Marketing Strategist and Storyteller

"When I think of reinvention, names and faces of famous "re-inventors" easily come to mind, but definitions are trickier. The Oxford dictionary suggests reinvention is simply "remaking or redoing completely" but I think it's deeper than that. To reinvent is not simply to start over. You're starting over with the knowledge of what did and didn't work before. More importantly, you know much more about yourself. I also think of it in terms of a traditional inventor, in their lab wearing a crisp white lab coat, stirring and measuring, and looking for a new combination of things that will create the next big breakthrough."
Andy Hayes, Chief Creative Producer at Plum Deluxe

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