Are you in your 40s or 50s? You are at the best time of your life! You have effectively harnessed years of working experience, life lessons, deep skills and knowledge that can add value to your organization, your colleagues, and the next generation.
I never thought that I will hit a high when I reach my 40th birthday and reach an even greater high when I reached my mid-40s. I was working in a global company managing regional HR work when I was approached by a headhunter for a role in helping a local statutory board transform to a private company. I took the challenge, and my journey of transformation began. I would say that was the turning point in my life. In your 40s and 50s, your previous decades of experience help frame your thinking and improves your ability to solve problems. The hard knocks that you experience also give you invaluable wisdom to resolve difficult situations. The four lessons I have learned that has helped me to improve with age can be summed up as follows:
Having the courage to try new things and to take on roles that you have not embarked on before is a great way to start your 40s and 50s. By this time, you have harnessed a great deal of experience, and you can bring that experience to a smaller organization or even somewhere that needs your unique skill set at that point in time. This means moving from something you are familiar with or going into an entirely new industry and it takes courage to do that. Once you make that leap, you will be surprised at how resilient and how wise you are!
You are never too old to learn. I never stopped learning and have been told by many that I am a terminal student. I have seen technology evolved throughout the last 2 decades and have adapted to every facet of it as I took the time and effort to pick up what was necessary and needed for my job. When I embarked on my Ph.D. studies in my 40s, many of my friends thought I was crazy, but through sheer perseverance, and of course a lot of hard work, I managed to complete it. As your mind matures and grow, you will be surprised that you do have the agility and speed to grasp new knowledge, technologies, as well as skills needed for the digital economy.
Many of us in our 40s and 50s have value add to the organizations we work for, and especially so, to the millennial generation. Through failures and hard knocks, we understand what works and what doesn’t and this perennial wisdom can be passed down to the next generation. The Millennial workforce, although tech savvy and well educated, lacks the experience to understand complex workforce issues; and the expertise to solve difficult problems. The collective wisdom of Baby Boomers and Gen X can help overcome that. Regarding expertise, if you can find that sweet spot where your skill set or your experience has a niche in a given industry or profession, you will be sought after for the value-add you can provide.
The wonders of today’s technology is an excellent platform to re-brand and re-market yourself. With platforms such as Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Google search engines, etc, you can create a professional profile for yourself and market your capabilities. I have seen many successful authors, speakers and even actresses use social media platforms to improve their own personal brand. Start today by developing your profile, market your unique capabilities and spend time networking within your industry. Volunteer for non-profit organizations and get a slot to speak at conferences relating to your expertise. You will be surprised at how much traction you will get.
You are in the sweet spot to re-invent and refresh yourself in your 40s or 50s! I wish you all the best in your journey and welcome new ideas you may have to add on to the above article.