During a recent meeting with a potential client and someone who’s known me for several years, one of the first subjects that came up was the ‘Aren’t you retiring soon?’ question I am often asked. It seems that being late in the fourth decade of my working life and in possession of ‘arctic blonde’ hair, in combination with our Canadian societal assumptions around retirement, it is easy to assume that I am working part-time or winding things down towards retirement.
I smiled and gave my standard response, ‘Why would I retire? I am just getting good at what I do.’ Although it is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reply, I have to say that I fully believe in this answer. I’ve spent years developing, practicing and honing my expertise, so why on earth would I stop doing what I am good at and cease helping others progress and succeed? When I consider the experiences, the learning, the successes, the failures, the things I have seen and done over the course of almost forty years, and all of the good judgment earned from those experiences, it just seems crazy to me to consider retiring now!
Our business and what we offer our clients is largely based on the lives we have lived, our skills and talent, and the wisdom, knowledge and experience earned along the way. We bring all of that to our work, whether it is an executive coaching engagement, a communications project, facilitating a team’s strategic planning, or working as a client’s senior advisor on a project or initiative. Our clients deserve and expect us to be at our best. And part of being our best, means continuing to work hard, learn, and share what we know with those who choose to engage with us. The importance of ‘sharpening the saw’ and investing in our own continued learning is part of that picture.
No offence to the young talented up-and-comers in our world, but the assumption that only youth equals sharpness is overlooking an important reality. You can ‘buy’ a fantastic education, you can be intellectually gifted and totally committed to your path, but you need to ‘earn’ experience. And that takes time and living. It is unfortunate, but all too often, we see the scenario of organizations favoring younger potential employees over more seasoned ones based on the age bias. That short-sightedness combined with the fact that more experienced candidates will come with a ‘higher price tag’ than those in the early stages of their career, discounts the value proposition and everyone loses. The employer misses out on the wisdom and experience and their current team members miss out on the opportunity to learn from someone who has been there and earned the t-shirt. Compass Leadership can bring that hard-earned insight and perspective to your team in precisely the areas you need it most.
August 18, 2019