I always think of myself as being young. Might be because I was the youngest of five children. Might be because I had my kids late, so I have little children in the house right now. Might be because I just act that way most of the time. Regardless, I usually think of myself as young (or at least young at heart and mind and attitude).
But then you meet a really young person.
Not a child or kid, but a young person who is entering the workforce for the first time. Suddenly, it can make you feel kind of old.
You are amazed at how different they are from you. Different style of work. Different focus. Different on a lot of things.
Or at least I was.
Which at first was a little disheartening. I can still remember being 24 and coming into my first “real” job and wondering what all these old folks were doing. Back then we had one computer to share between five people (yes, hard to believe but that was how it was) and I was by far the most computer literate of any of my team (full disclosure – this meant that I knew how to work a spreadsheet and not just Word Perfect). I remember how different I felt from them.
Now I was wondering what I looked like to these youngsters.
Did my lack of internet skills make them smirk (kind of like I used to do at the “old” folk). Do they think my ways are antiquated – “just pick up the phone and call me about your multipart question – it will go much faster.” Do they wonder where all my hair went?
But then I started thinking about when I was that young and what I learned from some of those “old” folks. I remember being taken under wing by them and taught about how incentives work, how to put together a presentation for an executive, how to get up in front of a group and get their attention. I was mentored by a few great people who not only taught me about business but also about life. These were people who went out of their way to teach and lead. I am extremely thankful to have had those relationships.
So now maybe it is my turn.
Not that I want to be seen as an “old” person, but maybe I can impart a little bit of wisdom from my years of experience. Maybe I can mentor and lead. Teach someone how they can be successful in areas that they don’t even realize they can.
So I’ve reframed my thinking – not “old” but “wise.”
Yes, that sounds much better…