One of the constant fears and challenges all of us face is losing our job, our income, and status; especially in the new economy as you get older. You live in constant fear of being replaced at work, and even at home with a younger, cheaper model. The only way to confront this fear as you get older is to get better and more indispensable. Seth Godin calls it, to become a lynch pin.
If you want to be in demand over time, you must continue to grow in character, competence, and skill-set. Here are five ways you can obsolete-proof your life.
- Become a knowledge expert at something lots of people need to know, and will want to have. What is the body of knowledge you have that you have been gathering over the years? One of the great things in my life is that I paid the price early for college, seminary, and graduate school. Ten years of academic training: reading theology books, history books, biographies, learning foreign languages, all seemed like a waste of time at the time. But now as I reflect back, I have a body of knowledge that I continue to build on, that if I hadn’t gotten early, I would never have been able to get later.
- Take care of yourself. Why is it that when we get older we look old and tired and bent-over? Just watch people today as you go about your business and see how slowly they move as they get older. People who are in their fifties look like they are in their sixties. People in their sixties look like they’re in their eighties. Here is the remedy. Just take care of yourself. Work out. Maintain a healthy weight. Dress in clothes bought in this century. You don’t have to be fad-ish and spend a lot of money. But when you enter a room let people take notice that you are to be taken seriously, because you take care of yourself seriously.
- Willfully, joyfully, and generously give away what you know. Share with others freely. When you’re asked for advice or even invited into a mentoring relationship, say “yes.” Love people. Pour out into them. Build into them what others have built into you.
- Ask for help from lots of people. There is nothing more flattering than being asked for your opinion. Let people know that you need them. Welcome them into your life, into your space. Don’t allow yourself to become invisible and aloof, and blame it on the fact that you’re introverted. Keep your network large and include people by asking them for help.
- Forgive past hurts and slights quickly. Do not allow resentment to take root in your life. Bitterness will make being around you painful and draining. Make sure that when people are with you, you don’t go into a tirade about past injustices. And the only way you can do that is to keep all accounts current and let the weight of the past indiscretions and betrayals go.
These are a few of the ways I’ve tried to work in my own life to make sure that I stay current, relevant, excited, and enthusiastic about the day’s work and the people I’m around. Discuss this with your group, organization, or your team. And ask yourself, “Are these qualities we see developing in each other?”