Is there a pivot in your future? Perhaps you’re considering – or going through – retirement, semi-retirement, a second career or a major life transition. All of these entail getting unstuck and skillfully navigating a transition. Joanne Lipman, author of NEXT! The Power of Reinvention in Life and Work, interviewed people who have successfully steered through these shifts, along with experts who’ve studied them. She found a specific sequence of stages that unfold in these moves to reinvent yourself at different stages of life.
Joanne Lipman joins us from New York.
Joanne Lipman is author of the No. 1 bestseller THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID and NEXT! The Power of Reinvention in Life and Work. An award-winning journalist, she has served as Editor-in-Chief of USA Today, USA Today Network, Conde Nast Portfolio, and The Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Journal, leading those organizations to six Pulitzer Prizes. She is an on-air CNBC contributor and Yale University journalism lecturer.
Lipman began her career as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, ultimately rising to deputy managing editor – the first woman to attain that post – and supervising coverage that won three Pulitzer Prizes. While there she created Weekend Journal and Personal Journal, and oversaw creation of the Saturday edition. She subsequently was founding editor-in-chief of Conde Nast Portfolio magazine, which won Loeb and National Magazine Awards. Most recently, she served as Chief Content Officer of Gannett, where she was Editor-in-Chief of its USA Today and the USA Today Network, encompassing the flagship publication plus 109 metro newspapers including the Detroit Free Press, the Des Moines Register, and the Arizona Republic. In that role, she oversaw more than 3,000 journalists and led the organization to three Pulitzer prizes.
Lipman’s work has been published in numerous outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time, Fortune, Newsweek and the Harvard Business Review. She has appeared as a television commentator on ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, and PBS, among others. She is a frequent public speaker, with engagements including the World Economic Forum in Davos, the United Nations, the Aspen Ideas Festival, TEDx, the International Lean In conference, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Milken Institute Global conference, and has worked with numerous companies on issues of gender equity, diversity and inclusion. She also is co-author, with Melanie Kupchynsky, of the acclaimed music memoir “Strings Attached.”
A winner of the Matrix Award for women in communications, Lipman was the 2019-2020 inaugural Distinguished Journalism Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has served or is currently serving on boards including Yale University Council; the World Editors Forum; the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy; the Yale Daily News; Spirited Media; the Yale Alumni Magazine (where she served as chair); the Knights chamber orchestra, and the advisory boards of Data.world, Breastcancer.org, The Wire China, and the Yale School of Music. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She and her husband live in New York City and are the parents of two adult children.
For More on Joanne Lipman
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Mentioned in This Podcast Episode
On The Stages of Reinvention
“I call it the reinvention roadmap. And the four steps are Search, Struggle, Stop, and Solution. And I’ll go through those real quick and then we can kind of dig in if you would like. The Search, the first step, what’s interesting about this is when you are collecting information, you’re collecting experiences. You are accumulating knowledge. But the really cool thing about this step is you’re you’re sucking in all this information that will ultimately lead to a transition, except very often you’re not aware of it. It’s unintentional, which is so interesting. It’s going to lead you somewhere unexpected. The second stage, is the Struggle. The Struggle is when you start to disconnect from your previous identity, but you have not quite figured out the new identity where you are going to. We don’t like to talk about this stage because it’s really uncomfortable. It’s kind of miserable, honestly. And when we go through it, we tend to think we’re all alone and that we are the only people in the world going through this. Everybody else is on this glide path to success, and only we are struggling. But the key here is to know that when you’re in the midst of this struggle, you’re not alone, because everybody goes through it. And you feel like you’re standing still or you’re stuck, but you’re actually not, you’re actually moving forward. But this stage can last for quite a while for some people, and often it doesn’t end until you reach the third stage, which is the Stop. So the Stop is something that pulls you out of your routine. It could be something that you choose like, I quit my job or I retire.”
On Possible Selves
“I just wrote a piece in The New York Times about this, about the idea of thinking about your possible selves. Now that’s a psychological term, but essentially what it means is to imagine what you might be, what you could be, and to go beyond the daydream to take some sort of action on possible selves. So that means if, let’s say I’m pivoting in a career, take a course or shadow someone, or do an informational interview. Don’t just like sit with it and cogitate. You’ve got to get out of your own brain.”
On Expert Companions
“I’ll give you a second one. This one I love and it is called the Expert Companion. You want to find your expert companion and speak to that person. So an Expert Companion, I’m borrowing that phrase actually from trauma psychologists who I interviewed who work with trauma patients, survivors who actually experience what’s called post-traumatic growth. We all know about post-traumatic stress. This is people who actually can grow and find something positive in the wake of a disaster. And these psychologists say that the survivor needs to talk to someone who can help them rethink their narrative. I think we all need an Expert Companion – all of us. And that person is someone who has an objective view of you, who can reflect back to you what your real strengths and talents are. And if you think about it, we all have sort of innate talents that very often we don’t even recognize because they come to us so easily. Or if we do recognize them, we tend to kind of diminish them because it seems like everybody can do that. We don’t recognize how unique it is. So your Expert Companion can reflect back to you where your strengths are, what they see in you. And it very often could be surprising to you – or it can certainly help you focus on where you want to pivot to. And by the way, the Expert Companion can be a coach like you, it could be as well it could be a friend or a family member. But the key is that they’re helping you. They’re not actually telling you what to do, which is really important. They don’t tell you: go do this. What they say is, what I see in you is this. And that helps you in turn, make your own decisions about where you wanna pivot to.”
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About Your Podcast Host
Joe Casey is an executive coach who also helps people design their next life after their primary career. He created his own next chapter after a twenty-six-year career at Merrill Lynch, where he was Senior Vice President and Head of HR for Global Markets & Investment Banking.