I'm Over Age 50 and I'm Trying to Reinvent Myself. What the Hell Do I Do Now?
You're Not Alone in Feeling That Way. A lot of people ask themselves that question. I'm a few years shy of THE BIG 5-0. And, I've been asking myself that question since 2009.
Asking this question is the start. Taking action will separate you from the pack. Because differentiating yourself when you're an older worker or executive isn't easy.
Reinvention After 50 Starts By Reading Dorie Clark's Reinventing You
This post is fourth in a series of seven (7) about successful career reinvention after age 50.
Lesson 3A of 6 on Developing Validators describes linkages from Michael Ovitz's career reinvention after age 50 to a key teaching from Dorie Clark's Reinventing You Chapter 9: Reintroduce Yourself: "Develop Validators."
That post references examples from the October 2013 Fortune Magazine article: Ovitz Does Silicon Valley by David A. Kaplan.
Some may view Mr. Ovitz's reinvention journey as a poor comparison for "mere mortals." After all, he's Michael 'Friggin' Ovitz (and he developed powerful and influential connections in the technology and entertainment industries).
But, If I Can Develop Influential and Powerful Validators, YOU CAN TOO
This post describes examples from my ongoing social media reinvention journey. Since 2009, I've learned a couple things from blogging, connecting with like-minded people, and distributing content in different social media channels.
Now, Is the Time to Start Because ...
... the opportunity to:
- ... connect with more powerful and influential people who will support and "talk you up" exists because of The Internet. You may even earn the privilege of their friendship.
- ... build an online reputation or personal brand so others see your true potential via your unique intellectual property (IP) is there if you work at it.
4 Gifts to Give Others to Power Your After Age 50 Reinvention
Gift #1. Write Public Fan Letters
Read Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. Pages 108 to 109, "Write Fan Letters," and Chapter 2: "Don't Wait Until You Know Who You Are To Get Started" from Austin's book are amazing. From page 109 of Steal Like an Artist:
"Maybe your hero will see your work, maybe he or she won't. Maybe they'll respond to you, maybe not. The important thing is that you show your appreciation without expecting anything in return."
Expect Nothing in Return. That's why public fan letters are the ultimate gift. If you genuinely care for someone and want sincerely express your appreciation and respect for her art / work, that's all that matters.
Writing Public Fan Letters is the Most Rewarding Experience. Just writing them feels good. I know from personal experience. That's why it's my favorite way to say "thank you."
To help you get started, here are the public fan letters I've published on this blog to my marketing strategy heroes: Mitch Joel, David Meerman Scott, Seth Godin, and Ann Handley. Mitch Joel writes inspiring fan letters. Here are his public fan letters to Tom Peters, Seth Godin, and Nilofer Merchant.
Bonus: Your Heroes Might Write Back. Publicly. Remember, this is a gift with no expectation of reciprocation. But, it's still pretty cool when your heroes reply back.
Gift #2. Comment on Thought Leader Blogs
Blogging Isn't Dead. But Everybody Likes to Say It Is. That's why blog commenting re-emerges as a new opportunity. Most prefer the "snack size" comment of a tweet or Facebook update. But, let's be honest. It's hard to find relevant insights in 140 characters or less.
Dare to Be Different. Commenting on thought leaders' blog posts in your industry or (the industry you're targeting for a career change) gives you an opportunity to:
- Thoughtfully support or disagree with an influencer's line of thinking
- Add to the conversation by sharing your perspective
- Build the reputation of not only the blog author but also your reputation too (because Google remembers the blog post and your comments forever)
Long Term Consistency is the Key. I've participated in blog commenting with my favorite marketing strategy thought leaders' blogs since 2009. I've regularly and consistently shown up by participating in the discourse on their home turf. That consistency builds long term reputation, credibility, and relationships.
Connect Your Comment to an Online Profile. Always provide the web address for your personal blog, Google+ profile, or some other online profile so the author or other commenters can learn more about you. If you're consistent and leave thoughtful comments, the author and her respective readers will look you up.
Gift #3. Promote Others Work on Twitter -- The @ Mention
Twitter: Use the "@" Mention to Your Advantage. Social sharing buttons are now commonplace on the online sites for publishers like The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, LinkedIn, or Bloomberg BusinesssWeek. Take advantage of these tools to share and promote the work of influential authors, journalists, and media pundits.
Let Them Know You Read and Appreciate Their Work. When you promote someone's work, include her Twitter handle in the tweet. This way, the author sees it in the "mentions" of her Twitter feed. This will increase the likelihood of a earning a public response (which validates your reputation and credibility with the rest of the Twitterverse).
She might even follow you back ...
Gift #4. Promote Others Skills with LinkedIn Endorsements
Endorse and Validate Others by Talking Up Their Skills. LinkedIn's Skills & Endorsements feature can help you build and promote the personal brand of any of your 1st degree connections. Go to the Skills & Endorsements of that person's LinkedIn profile and click on the skills you'd like to endorse on her behalf:
The Best Part of this Gift: Receiving the LinkedIn Notification. Your connections will learn of your endorsement. LinkedIn provides the notification whenever you log-in to the site or the email address linked to the LinkedIn account.
Surprise Someone. Receiving a LinkedIn Endorsement from someone you respect and trust is a great feeling. Make someone feel good. Endorse her on LinkedIn. You'll make her day.
Reinvention After Age 50 Is Bigger Than Ourselves
The Internet is About Karma. Provide others with tangible value and gifts without expecting anything in return. "No-strings-attached" generosity is how you build long haul credibility in a connected economy.
The next post in this series on reinventing yourself after age 50 is scheduled for a February 9, 2014 publication. I'll describe four (4) more gifts you can give others to continue powering your reinvention.
If you enjoyed this post, here are links to other posts in the series:
- Lesson 1 of 6: Reinventing You After Age 50 Case Study -- Michael Ovitz (Status--You Can Take It With You)
Tony Faustino is a marketing and corporate strategist. He writes about how The Internet reinvents marketing strategy for organizations and individuals in his marketing strategy blog, Social Media ReInvention. Follow his tweets @tonyfaustino or circle him on Google+.