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Your personal brand: Flexing with the times

In a week where we’ve seen a lot of changes: Brazil lost a key game in the World Cup, LeBron James is going off to Cleveland; it seems fitting that we discuss, evolution, change and flexibility.

Lebron made a decision
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Flexibility is a key attribute to possess in your personal brand. We are living in times of great upheaval, of changes in the workplace. Some research on the four generations at work points out that due to shortages of qualified talent companies will start looking into what is known as ‘silver talent pools’. These seniors may work well into their 70’s.

I often work with seasoned individuals frustrated at the lack of opportunities in the marketplace. They feel marginalized, out of touch. What can I tell them? I tell them, first of all, to buckle their seat belts and stop bemoaning their fate. Change is inevitable. It’s crucial to learn new skills in order to stay relevant. Don’t say “email is not for me” or “I don’t like LinkedIn”. LinkedIn is your friend. Learn how to use it effectively; there are numerous webinars to show you how. Try to tune into the concerns of the other generations, understand and accept the validity of their point of view.

Don’t think of those younger co-workers as juveniles, but fellow professionals with something to offer. Don’t be biased about where you can learn. You might learn more through an online game than you think. Stay in the scene and keep up on the trends. You don’t need to change your lifestyle as much as you need to adapt and keep an open mind.

An seasoned individual can be respected for sharing their knowledge with the younger generation at the same time they are learning from them. The exchange is priceless. Baby boomers understand corporate culture and workplace dynamics and can make an inestimable contribution. Millennials grew up with technology, it comes as second nature to them, and so they are natural tutors for those who are challenged.

A recent UK study indicated the number of economically active over-65 is expected to rise by a third by 2030. This will challenge how we perceive seniority and hierarchy in the workplace. That 65 year old will be reporting to someone much younger, both individuals will have to adjust. They need to have mutual respect and trust. It will come down to how well they can accommodate each other’s point of view and habits. Once again, early adapter types will have fewer issues, seeing this as just another adventure in their lives. That state of mind will be especially helpful. Displaying an ability to stay motivated and engaged is an enviable attribute at any age.

Let your personal brand be timeless, eternally inspired by all that’s going on around you. Be willing to admit you need to learn more and change, as Mr. James did in his essay in Sports Illustrated: “These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.” Lebron has shown his flexibility, ability to evolve and adapt: he’s a role model for your personal brand.

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