I was asked the other day for the Sage Street “elevator pitch”. That’s a term that probably doesn’t get used much anymore, but I’ve always liked the concept: the ability to accurately articulate your purpose in 20 seconds or less. Going through the exercise of creating that speech really causes you to think about the essence of what you’re offering. When I was asked to describe what Sage Street is, I realized I had never gone through that process, and I froze. I could easily have talked for an hour; but 20 seconds? Yikes!!! I stumbled around and came up with something that, I’m certain, left the listener more than a little confused. That’s when I knew it was time to create the actual 20-second speech. So I immediately went home and put pen to paper, and this is what I created:
This, of course, may evolve over time, but as it is it’s a pretty valuable nugget of purpose for this movement. Then you will have questions, and that’s what this blog and the up coming podcast will be all about. Elevator going all the way to the Penthouse? That’s when I would add the following…
The principles of The New You:
- Recognizing that there is an innate purpose for your life.
This is when you get to discover who you were meant to be all along, and the thing that never goes away as long as you’re drawing breath. You begin this process when you stop counting on your “career” to define you. You don’t have to change what you’re doing if you really love it (and I mean “really”), but it will not be the thing that makes or breaks your success or your enjoyment of the rest of your life. Not even financially.
- The world will follow your lead… whatever that is.
Whatever you believe society’s attitudes about your age and abilities are, they start with you. What you believe is how you’ll be treated. If you perceive that you are beleaguered by discrimination because of your age, it is only because you already believe that you are somehow handicapped compared to those who are younger. That is something you will need to change.
- Age brings with it distinct advantages.
The advantages: experience, wisdom, focus, empathy, etc.. Those are all just choices of what to focus on about this new you, and in changing that focus, we reinvent the concept of aging.
- The value of simply being human.
Contrast this with the value of having money, looking good, being successful, knowing the right people, driving the right car, etc. The new mantra is, “I am enough.” That means everything you think, feel, do, say, believe, and want, is just a product of being human, and the very thing that makes you valuable. That leaves you free to choose only those things that bring you closer to the life you want for you and your family, and to eliminate those things that don’t.
- The time is now.
It always was now, but we acted like it was not now. To wit, “when I accomplish so-and-so, then I’ll be happy.” “When I make X number of dollars, then I’ll relax.” “When the kids are grown, then I’ll take that vacation I’ve always wanted.” My favorite quote on this subject is, “If you act like happiness is always somewhere else, it will never be where you are.” Right now is where your life is happening; act as if you like it.
- There is no New You if you’re hanging on to the Old You.
You may have already realized that the theme for success after 50 is change. There is a part of your mind that is fiercely resistant to change; opting instead for creating a workable “you”, and then defending that manufactured “you” believing it will win the day. Surprise! Even if it ever did, the rules have changed. Now, you embrace—for all of its uncertainty and fear—change, or your wither and die. Your choice.
- The New You is reckless, dangerous, unreasonable.
There is no change without these qualities. There is no way to be a different person unless you act in all of those ways because those are exactly the things you have been avoiding and the things that have kept you from greatness so far. At the root of all greatness are behaviors and decisions that were reckless, dangerous, and unreasonable.
It’s important to remember that the most prominent characteristic of old age is resistance to change. The person that gives into this resistance will devote their lives to creating limitations on their own life in the form of rules for living, and then call it “who I am”. They then proceed to make their life all about defending those rules as the right way to live, even if those same rules utterly fail to produce a powerful life. That’s the almost certain future, and, for many, the very real present, when you resist change.
I don’t say this to scare you or make you feel bad. There’s nothing wrong with who you are or who you have been; it was the best you knew how to do. It just won’t work now, even if it ever did. That’s a fact. The great news is that just hearing these words means you are already on your way and virtually nothing can stop it.
So, congratulations! You’re in the Sage Street movement now. Climb on and strap in… it’s going to be a great ride.