Making Your Age Your Ally with Chip Conley
FROM A CONVERSATION WITH CHIP CONLEY ON THE REINVENT YOURSELF PODCAST
“Change is a given,” says Chip Conley, author of Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder and founder of Modern Elder Academy , “the world’s first midlife wisdom school.” “You need to adapt to it and be resilient.” Conley sold his first business, a boutique hotel brand, and went on, after age 50, to become a mentor/intern at Airbnb. He speaks with Lesley about how to use your accumulated wisdom and connections to create a leg up in the job world. “Become an SME: Subject Matter Expert — the librarian, the person who knows how [an industry runs] and who is in that industry,” he says.
Conley says women adapt better to the modern workplace than men because we have “less sense of entitlement…and know how to do the work.”
Chip’s Top Tips for Reinvention
1. Be open to Change.
Understand that life is liminal – you are always going through some sort of transition. Especially in midlife! Midlife is full of change, whether it’s getting divorced, having parents die, going through menopause, empty nest, etc. So change is a given. I would highly recommend everyone that is interested in changing, watch a TED Talk by a guy named Dan Gilbert. He’s a Harvard psychologist who basically shows that when it comes to your future self, you have no idea how much you’re gonna change in the next 10 years. On average people vastly underestimate how much change they will go through. So you need to embrace it, and then adapt to it and be resilient.
2. Hang out in fishing holes that you are not used to.
It means that if you want to go work for a company and maybe somehow get involved with younger people in startups, then figure out where are younger people going out — and not just going out and doing karaoke. What are some associations or groups? Go to a summit event, which has on average people about 35 who are interested in changing the world and have a lot of great, dynamic ideas about business.
3. Get clear on what mastery can you offer to the world.
At the Modern Elder Academy, we ask people to ask that question five times repeatedly. You’re paired off with someone, and that person asks you “What mastery can you offer?” And the first thing you say might say may be quite specific to what your job is today. But then they ask you again and you can’t answer the same way twice. By the time you get to the fifth question, I promise you you’ve done an archaeological dig inside yourself to understand what’s the essence of your differentiation the world.