Every year Forbes Magazine publishes a list of the world’s 100 most powerful women. It was interesting to see that among the top ten leaders were women of a mature age. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Hillary Clinton, Presidential Candidate U.S.; Janet Yellen, Chair, Federal Reserve U.S.; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director IMF France and Meg Whitman, CEO HP. U.S. They are still leading and being strong role models for others yet to rise to prominent positions.
What can we learn from these senior leaders and others like them about their professional presence and in particular thwarting the image of older age as being over the hill?
Stay sharp. You don’t get the top of your tree in any profession without constant learning and curiosity. Hillary Clinton a political veteran has risen in the Forbes ranks to the number two position. To stay relevant and successful in the minefield of politics, she needs to stay abreast of and be knowledgeable of the changing dynamics.
Look good. Ageing gracefully for someone in the political or media limelight might mean a few nip and tucks. If that’s their (or your) choice go for it. However, looking good just might mean putting the best version of yourself forward. A great haircut to suit your age and face shape and well fitting, flattering clothes to enhance the best you. Michelle Obama of course is known for her fashionable style yet Hillary Clinton looks just as smart and appropriate in colourful pant suits.
Do work you love. One of my early teachers was June Dally Watkins who runs a finishing school and modeling agency. Well that business is still flourishing after being founded in 1950 and at the helm is still Ms Dally herself actively involved at the age of 85 plus. Attesting to the quote, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius.
Keep healthy and happy. This one may be a matter of luck in many cases, but given that the population over all is aging and we will be working longer it stands to reason to support a healthy lifestyle as much as possible with good nutrition, exercise and enjoyable lifestyle pursuits. Yoga guru B.K.S Iyengar still taught and practiced daily until his death at the age of 95. It’s never too late to take up a hobby.
Mentor, encourage and help others. I’ve had many mentors throughout my career and if now I can encourage others just by passing on the knowledge I’ve gained over those years I will be satisfied. Most people want to give back, leave a legacy or make a philanthropic contribution to society like number four on the Forbes list, Melinda Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or just like the late 78-year-old, Paul Ramsay (a former employer of mine) who bequeathed his entire estate estimated at over three billion dollars to charity.
Learn more about how to shine in the free eBook, The Power of Personal Public Relations.
Read last week’s blog Step into Spring and Refresh your Personal Brand