Never too old to change


Have you ever wondered, “I am not getting any younger anymore?” Many of us do. I have heard this statement from people who hold senior positions in different business organizations. Let me tell you some funny stories about aging.

Approaching 95 years of age, Mrs. Jones finally decided it was time to give up her apartment in New York and move to Miami. She was given the name of a Florida realtor, who enthusiastically drove her all over Miami, extolling the virtues of every apartment they looked at. “And this one, what a steal,” he rhapsodized, “the investment of a lifetime. Why, in 10 years, it will be worth three times...” “Sonny,” interrupted Mrs. Jones, “I don’t even buy green bananas at my age.”

Here is a question. Why do real estate agents put their pictures on business cards, Facebook pages, websites, billboards, bus stops, postcards, vehicle wraps, yard signs and printed ads? So, you’ll know what they looked like 10 years ago.

Many of us will have moments in our lives when we feel stuck:

When we have lost our passion for what we are doing

When we evaluate ourselves and our work and decide that we want more

When we want to be different

Sometimes, these moments of clarity hit us when we are close to a breakdown. And when it does, the breakdown may lead us to a breakthrough. Often, we read a book, attend a seminar and listen to another person who is energized and excited by what they do and still does it well at their age. And we begin to consider the thought: “If he can do it, why can’t I?” That is why the pre-Socratic philosopher Epictetus said, “People are not disturbed by things but by the view they take of them.”

If you are entertaining these thoughts, I have some questions for you. What is it that holds you back? Have you given this question any thought? We all have many opportunities to rethink who we are, how we work and what we offer the world. Yet, we do not always grab those opportunities. We may need to be more skilled, or we will be found out and miss the security and camaraderie of the organization we know.

The term FOMO grew popular with millennials in their younger years. They wanted experience. They do have a “FEAR OF MISSING OUT.” However, many senior managers today suffer from FOBO, which is an acronym for “FEAR OF BECOMING OBSOLETE.” What with new technology coming into the picture, the changing business landscape and the fear that they would be replaced by automation and AI? We may generate a myriad of excuses to stop us from leaping. Age is one factor that can limit one’s ability to embrace change. This could be because one feels too young or too old. We might have outdated views about the right time to transform, take a career break, retrain, or launch a business. As the working population ages and our working lifetime expands, we need a fresh perspective. You must review what is holding you back — the false assumptions about what is open to you for your age or how well you will function in an environment that might not typically host your age group.

The self-limiting belief that individuals should restrain themselves because of age is a pessimistic view that can stunt growth and hinder development. We might tell ourselves:

It’s too late to change.

I should stay where I am.

I can’t be an apprentice unless I’m a Gen Zer.

No one my age will be taken seriously.

I look too old to work in tech.

I hope to outlive the digital transformation. (Guess what? You won’t!)

All of these are false narratives.

Transformation might be different for a Baby Boomer than it is for Gen Z, yet wherever we are, change is possible. Technical and practical tools and techniques can assist us, but much of our capacity to change is within us.

There may be valid reasons why you may not be able to reinvent yourself right now — financial commitments, health challenges, or lack of clarity about your passion, for example — but age should not be one of them. The limits of our biological age are self-imposed. Age is just one part of who you are — don’t let it define you. So, take that upskilling class. Learn technology and do not be shy about it. Attend seminars to learn about the changes happening in the current business landscape. Learn from the young, especially in the area of technology. They are more eager to share their expertise than you know.

Meanwhile, and just for fun, create a TikTok Channel. Ask your kids to help you do it and learn while enjoying the fun. I have, and I do.


(Save the date: May 15, 2024! Join Francis Kong and Industry Leaders at Space, One Ayala, Makati for his Level Up Leadership - The Next Edge. Learn to navigate challenges and change to achieve success in business, career, and life. Contact April at 0928-559-1798 or Savee at 0917-533-6817. Visit www.levelupleadership.ph to secure your spot. Limited seats available)!

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