Turning Fifty may be the new Forty, but 2018 is here whether you like it or not!
It’s a new year and I’m turning fifty! I love the fresh start of turning the calendar and contemplating what will be different in the next 365 days. In recent years, I adopted the practice of picking One Word as my focus for the year. I’ve been motivated to be Clean, Complete, Stretch, and Different.
This year my One Word is MATURE.
Those of you that know me just got a nice laugh. There’s one motto that I’ve kept close to my heart: “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” Growing up is not something I do gracefully, or willingly. I’ve learned to adapt and mostly behave myself when I must. But I’m prone to irreverent remarks and “acting like a kid” seems like high praise to me.
Turning fifty this year feels like I’ve got no choice but to mature. Unless you park this in your inbox for a really long time, shortly after you read it I will turn a major milestone in the age category. It’s in the tens digit this year. Another decade. The Big One (until the next Big One, I guess).
I’ve spent the better part of the last year contemplating what this day means. I’ve received much advice to make it nothing. “It’s just another day,” they’ll say. And they are right: I am really only one day older. Not a year older. Not a decade older. That’s how I’ve celebrated most of my birthdays in the last few decades. Minimal fuss. Business as usual. Make some calls. Write an article. Train a client. Do some research. Eat a piece of cake. Ignore Facebook for a day (or a month; or a year).
This year I’ve settled on a slightly different tactic. It IS a big deal. My hair color has been telling me that for about 15 years (by sheer coincidence, my daughter is 15). My hip, knee, and back have given warning signs that their warranty has expired and it may be time for some maintenance. Sleep patterns have changed. Mental acuity is fleeting. I really do think that kids these days are headed for perdition and am tempted to yell “Get off my lawn” at any creature – human or otherwise – that dares trespass into my domain. I’m confident I can grow into the role of a grumpy old man.
But I have also been under the impression that this is a great chance for me to embrace the experience and wisdom that a few years can bring. Why should I be fearful of a shorter future? I want to leave my mark with whatever years I’ve got left.
The most notable way I’ve chosen to make an impact on this planet is through people like you. I realized long ago that the platform of greatness that was presumed upon me (after all, I was elected “most likely to succeed” in my high school class – with no definition of what success looks like) was not likely to occur. But once I discovered the drug of enabling others to achieve their greatness, I’ve gotten more and more satisfaction from watching others succeed. It’s not coincidental that the coaching side of my business has increased steadily each of the last few years.
I have started a mentoring program for men who are a half generation or more behind me. I have made a conscious effort to speak on coaching about as much as I do on communication. They are, by the way, VERY related.
And on my birthday as I’m turning fifty, I have decided to give gifts instead of receive them. While I was driving the other day, I had the great idea to tell the people who have been instrumental in my development how much I appreciate them. Thankful for the modern age of unlimited phone minutes, I intend to spend the day on the telephone being thankful for those who have invested in me to get to this point and reconnecting with treasured friends of yesteryear. What a great joy it will be to hear voices from more than four different decades in my life and affirm the impact they had on me.
What difference does all this make to you? It’s more than humoring an old man. Along with the youthful joy in helping comes the responsibility and nerve of an old guy turning fifty bold enough to ask you to be different. I’m not afraid to get in your face and ask for what needs to change. Here goes…
What changes do you need to make in your life today? How can this year be the springboard to fulfill your purpose?
Who can you assist on the path to greatness and maturity? Who has assisted you to your current status? Could you call them today and tell them how appreciative you are?!
Communication matters, what are YOU saying?
This article was published in the January 2018 edition of our monthly speaking tips email, Communication Matters. Have speaking tips like these delivered straight to your inbox every month. Sign up today and receive our FREE download, “Twelve Tips that will Save You from Making a Bad Presentation.” You can unsubscribe at any time.