The slight noise of the alarm clock opens the blinds of Mique’s eyes and makes him return from the world of dreams to a new day. Finally Friday. This new Friday is not like any other, it is a day of celebration, it is Mique’s birthday. Today Mique turns 50 years old.
Turning years should be a reason for celebration for people, however, it is not always celebrated in the same way – there are even times when it is not celebrated – for many people reaching a certain age becomes a severe personal conflict, even many men and women fear it as the years go by, forgetting – perhaps – that it is with the years that experience and knowledge accumulate.
For Mique, this celebration is different, because something that had been spinning in his head for years became a reality: starting to be considered a Senior within the organization where he works.
And how can we not have a certain fear of having a birthday in a world that worships youth?
How not to enter a state of anxiety when there are organizations that exercise ageism (age discrimination) from the very hiring process to the moment of promoting promotions?
While it is true time is inexorable and we will continue to age with each passing day and ageism will continue to be present in society and of course in the corporate world.
What can be done not to despair?
What to do to continue having the validity and prominence that we all want?
Simple: change the lens you are looking at today, and start to build a different reality.
But since I know that it is not an easy task, I want to share with you a concept called Personal Branding (PB). Perhaps you have never heard this term, but believe me it is of little relevance whether or not you know about MB; what is relevant is what this concept can do for your professional and especially personal life.
A little history
Personal Branding it is a term coined around 1997, by the legendary Tom Peters, American guru of business administration and since then he has helped thousands of people redirect their professional careers and their lives. – End of story –
The main objective of creating and working on your personal brand is to leave a positive and memorable emotional footprint on the people who interact with you, regardless of the field.
Now, let’s be clear, leaving that footprint will not always be achieved to the extent that you want, nor will it be achieved entirely with a single interaction, it requires the construction of a coherent integral image, as well as a total alignment between your thinking, speaking and acting.
For the above to happen, you need to perform three basic steps: analysis, strategy and communication.
These three elements are generously shared by Xavi Roca in his book Desmárcate.
Now let’s go back in time for a moment. This concept of personal brand that I am telling you today is what is also known as reputation, a word that is composed of the transitive active verb «reputar» that indicates effect, fact or action and without going too deep when talking about a transitive active verb reference is made to a state.
Brand (reputation) we can refer to a state or an event. Now ask yourself:
How do you want people to have this state or event present in their imaginary?
What are you doing today so that the people around you buy your status, your ideas or create your speeches?
One of the great advantages that Mique has when he turns years old and enters the “Senior” stage within the organization, is the experience factor.
Mique knows what has happened before in the market, he has seen, heard and experienced situations similar to those in front of him many times. You can act — humbly — as a mentor to new generations of collaborators. In some cases being a Senior becomes an inspiration for others, a role model.
All of the above will not happen with the simple fact that Mique turns 50, he must do his homework, design a personal brand that allows him to take advantage of his age, experience and knowledge.
I share some recommendations so that you can – like Mique – create a memorable Senior personal brand:
1. Change the speech
There is no more tired song for the new generations than to listen to an old man always saying: “it was better before” “before we did things better“. Perhaps, on some occasions you are right, however, you should change the discourse and be more assertive when giving historical references. Be more condescending with the ideas of the youngest: remember that you were also young and with ideas a little out of place.
2. The old times are not always better
Times change and although what we already know and work for us gives us confidence, remember that change is the rule, not the exception. Therefore, open your mind to different ways of doing things, to new technologies and above all, seek to update yourself in everything related to your area of expertise.
3. Dad or Mom there is only one
It is likely that you find yourself surrounded by younger co-workers, even some may be the same age as your children, which can be very tempting to start giving advice. However, remember that unsolicited advice may not fulfill the noble purpose it was born for and may be poorly received.
Avoid sounding like the “old man” know-it-all. If you want to support your younger peers, do so with cunning, empathy and emotional intelligence. Hope that they are the ones who ask for your advice or support.
4. Take care of your words
We definitely become what we talk about, there is no doubt about that. Therefore, check the way you express yourself about your age, your experience or your abilities.
It is unfortunate to hear many people in their senior stage with expressions like:
“At my age it is not the same”
“I’m too old to …”
“That’s a youth issue”
“Don’t make me do that, better put someone younger”
“At my age no one will teach me anything new”
These types of expressions are the threshold of the cemetery where you are digging your professional grave.
Listen to how you speak and quickly change your words if you detect phrases like the previous ones, that will change for the better even your mental state and obviously that will positively affect your productivity and modify the perception of those around you.
5. The good classics do not lose their validity
Just like in movies or music, when a movie or song is good it transcends generations and even new artists reinterpret it and even pay tributes to that movie, song and / or artist.
Exactly the same happens when someone is a distinguished professional and above all a good person: they manage to transcend beyond their generation.
But how did they transcend those movies and songs?
They were innovative, disruptive and even stubborn, such as the Queen group or the movie Star Wars, that is why these works of art continue to be valid over the years. Likewise, you can continue to maintain the validity and why not? Inspire and even be a cult model for the new generations.
Most of us have had references in our lives: colleagues, neighbors, friends, people whom we admire – we almost idolize – who even with them (as) with many years on, we continue to have as a point of reference, and why do we do it? Because they have undoubtedly left a positive and memorable emotional imprint on our life.
That’s what Personal Branding is all about at the end of the day: that the people around you carry you in their minds and hearts as a good human being, a person to model, a partner, friend, brother (a), spouse, grandfather (a) coherent. A trustworthy brand, no matter who you meet like Mique, 50 years or more.
Por Allan Loría C.
Entrenador en Habilidades Blandas