As a young man, my Dad told me that the definition of a successful career was the ability to retire by age 50. But he forgot to tell me that first you better stash enough money away to continue to pay your mortgage, taxes, utilities, travel, leisure, rising health care costs, and caring for children and parents for many years to come. Silly me! I had blindly accepted the narrow-minded definition that had been the very foundation of my childhood.
Today, smart people espouse the current philosophy that doing what you love to do is not work! It is the realization that pleasure can be derived from the accomplishment of goals you set for yourself. It took me years to understand that I am not defined by my work. Rather, my work is defined by me. Thankfully, I have a wife who helped me overcome what I had failed to understand for too long. Which is why I returned to the work force at the age of 58, working along side people decades younger than I.
Ego can be a confusing emotion, particularly among men. Especially those who own their own businesses. Had I been too proud of my past accomplishments to accept that I should go back to work for the sake of personal growth? But that’s exactly what I did. And you know what? I found out that I could still contribute with youthful enthusiasm. Hired on-the-spot as a retail store manager for a global electronics company, I earned the respect of my young colleagues by demonstrating the essence of communicating with consumers. I was knowledgable. Energetic. Well-liked. Respected. My young colleagues learned how to deal with situations that had previously intimidated them. Indeed, they sought me out daily for professional advice and personal guidance.
The most important thing I taught them was to remove the word “sell” from their vocabulary. During my decades-long advertising career, I had learned that the word “presentation” is a far better description of the goal. If you simply deliver a professional and informative presentation to your consumer with a sense of passion, s/he will become a customer ready to “buy” your product or service. I’m reminded of a catchy advertising slogan used by an automotive client many years ago. ‘We don’t sell you a car. We help you buy a car.’ But the biggest surprise came eight years later when I retired from that new career with an unanticipated pension that bolstered our retirement savings. Nothing wrong with that!
© Jeff Resnick 2018
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