5 Ways To Feel Young At Heart In Business Again
Do you tell the young people in your company to stay off your lawn? Do millennial co-workers avoid you because you have become the office curmudgeon? Do they roll their eyes and sarcastically answer "Ok, Boomer..."?
Come on. What happened? You used to bring energy and enthusiasm to the table. You once loved coming to work and making things happen.
How we view our careers naturally changes, especially as we grow older. The emotional and physical demands of jobs wear us down over time. Projects become routine, and boredom easily sets in.
Eventually, you wonder whether it is time to consider retirement (as if anyone really can afford to do so these days).
The good news is that you can fix it. Men and Women of a Certain Age can re-engage their professional mojo and re-discover the passion that once made them an “up-and-comer.”
Here are 5 ways to feel and stay young at heart in business:
Surround yourself with young professionals.
Join a company full of them. If you own a company, hire them. Partner with vendors who value them. An upstart company run by or featuring blooming talent is an exciting place to be.
If you can't hire or work with young professionals in some capacity, go to networking events or join a professional group where they hang out.
You will find their energy invigorating. It’s a cliché, but just being around young people makes you feel young again.
Connect with young professionals.
Have lunch with them. Listen to their ideas. Ask their opinions. Let them get to know you. Don’t view them as your students or subordinates. Don’t insult them by looking down or beyond them. See and treat them as equals.
You will find two remarkable benefits of connecting with young professionals: First, they have great ideas that can help your company do great things. Second, they need your experience and expertise to make their ideas happen. By nurturing professional relationships with young professionals, you will feel vocationally reconnected and fulfilled.
Understand young professionals.
In general, young professionals have different motives about work compared to previous generations. While they want money (and who doesn’t), they also want to accomplish goals for the greater good. They want the satisfaction of helping people and making the world a better place. They understand, value and embrace diversity. It’s so refreshing to see them in action.
Today’s young professionals were taught differently from those of us raised in the post-World War II schools. In our day, teachers spewed facts and we regurgitated answers. Our next generation has learned collaboration, teamwork and conflict resolution. Adapting to their process is intellectually challenging.
Dress the part.
Ditch the suits (although you can keep one for weddings and funerals). In today’s progressive business environment, companies want results rather than formal attire.
Wearing stylish jeans and open-collar shirts is acceptable, even in many higher-end corporate circles. Comfortable business casual breaks down barriers between bosses and staff and helps promote a collaborative work culture. You also will feel young again wearing the same age-neutral attire as your younger colleagues (even if you have a larger waist size).
Eat your veggies and download some Kanye on your iTunes.
Well, maybe that’s asking a little much. But, the point is simple – The better you take care of yourself, the younger you feel.
Eating healthy foods and consuming less fat and carbs just might eliminate the need for Lipitor and Zestril. Sprinkling a little hip-hop, crunk or progressive country with your Dylan, Mellencamp and Springsteen on your Apple Music account might motivate you to get back in shape. If you really want to start the heart-pumping, download some Lil Nas X and take a long walk.
You still have lots to offer, and should not be intimidated by or dismissive of the smart whippersnappers. (And, please, don't call them that name.) Value your talent, open your mind and reach out to the young talent that is fueling our economy. You will notice a spring in your step, and feel excited about the next chapter of your career.