Has Your ‘Get Up And Go’, ‘Got Up And Gone’?


Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? You know, floating along day after day, not really mentally invested in things the way you used to be? Things you once found stimulating and couldn’t wait to get at no longer give you pleasure and they haven’t been replaced with other things to do?

I suppose it depends on how long you’ve been in this state, but if this lack of interest in things has been something you’ve noticed is becoming your new normal, you want to pay attention. Oh and by the way, I don’t mean pay attention to what I’m writing here, I mean pay attention to your inner voice that might be telling you something is up.

It’s that inner voice that tells you something is amiss that you can’t get around isn’t it? I mean, to friends and co-workers, you can generally fool most of them, smile robotically instead of genuinely being happy, be present in body even if you’ve left the scene in your mind. Yes, you can fool a lot people and seem to be your old self, but on the inside, where you know yourself more intimately than anyone else ever could or will, you know something peculiar is going on; something isn’t right.

Now you can do what a lot of people do, which is figure you’re just going through a phase, put it down to a change in the seasons, some mid-life crisis that’s normal etc. In short, you can do nothing and assume things will work themselves out. Maybe in the short-term, this might even be the case.

However, when you notice that your lack of interest and motivation to take part in activities is happening more often and you just don’t find pleasure in many of the things you once did, there could be a greater cause for concern. I mean, how long should you wait before getting some professional opinion on your mental health?

Not being a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist, nor a Mental Health Counsellor, I’m certainly not qualified to give you the expertise those practitioners do. At the same time, I’ve interacted with them on a professional level enough that they’ve passed on things to look for; warning signs if you will.

Now it’s normal to have your interests change over time. So yes, you might have once found bowling was an activity you really enjoyed once a week, but your interest faded and you started spending more time working on needlepoint or you turned to rock wall climbing. The activities themselves aren’t anything to get hung up on, it’s that you moved from one thing to another. What I’m referring to here is to be conscious of when you lose interest in something and it’s not replaced with an interest in anything new. Were it one thing, that wouldn’t sound any alarm, but when that pattern is repeated again and again, such as at work, around the house, the family, friends, etc., well, now you’ve got to pay attention.

Reclaiming the motivation and interests you once had can be quite the process. You might choose to start with a medical check up. Please go and do this for those around you but more importantly do it for yourself. You owe yourself this one. Don’t wait until you have some full-blown major issue and the Doctor says, “Had we caught this earlier we could have done such-and-such but that’s no longer an option.” Yikes! Then you’ll be saying, “I thought I could handle it on my own” or, “I thought this was normal.”

You might have Depression, but I’m not diagnosing anyone – I’m not qualified. Sure things might pass, but not always or likely, not without an intervention and possible treatment. Maybe the Doctor recommends a Mental Health Counsellor, medication or some other options, or maybe they do in fact tell you not to worry. No matter what they might tell you, it is better that you check in and lay things out so they can make a proper assessment.

You are the expert of you. You know when things aren’t normal. In our hustle and bustle society, pressure comes at us more often and from more sources than ever before. Yet, we have more options to take part in things from which we should derive pleasure too. If enjoyment and happiness are becoming harder to find in more parts of your life, heed the signs.

Take work as an example. You may have found that the job you’ve got has become truly a labour. It’s taking an exhaustive amount of energy to drag yourself out of bed, go through the routine of getting ready and you’ve come to just hate going in. You’ve called in sick when you’re not more and more, you’re taking a low profile and only doing what is necessary to keep your job, and you get out as fast as you can at the end of the day – maybe even skipping out early. But when you’re there, you’ve never really mentally checked in at all.

Looking for another job is something you pay lip service to, trolling websites but really there’s no concerted effort to update your résumé or keep any social media profile up.

If you see yourself being described here, reach out to a Doctor or Mental Health Counsellor and sooner rather than later. You’re worth it.

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Inclusivity


The practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of minority groups. Source: Oxford dictionary.

Who doesn’t like to feel included? Whether we’re talking about children having fun on a playground, being invited to a high school party or being successfully hired, we all like to feel both included and welcomed.

Many organizations have looked at themselves with an objective eye and found a discrepancy in their hiring preferences; preferences which have over time favoured some people over others.  That this should occur should not perhaps be inherently surprising in itself; like attracts like in a broad sense. In any particular country, you may find those whom hire, tend to select candidates who speak a similar language, share common beliefs, have a common educational background, perhaps even share a skin tone. However, as population demographics change, one would expect that an organization would gradually reflect the communities around them through their hiring practices.

Historically, an available pool of candidates vying for work tended to be homogenized; of a similar or uniform composition. An interviewer might peer out to see all 6 candidates in a reception area to be of the same skin colour, gender and to the eye all appeared to be physically fit. This may have been the norm in days past – and may still be the norm depending upon where in the world you’re living – but times change, demographics change.  Now an interview might look out to find 6 candidates with very little in common upon first glance.

Some companies have consciously gone about making adjustments to their hiring practices. They have developed policies which have created more diversity in the workplace so that the organizations better reflect those in the communities they serve. In short, they want to look representative of those who consume their services. They’d like you to walk in and find people from various racial backgrounds and cultures, who speak more than a single language, who have physical, gender and age differences.

Yes great strides have been consciously taken in many workplaces to better visually represent the full spectrum of the general population. However, we’re a long way from achieving that goal of full inclusivity. Biases and preferences still exist, and sometimes those biases go so far as to be prejudices. Unfortunately prejudice does rear its head; that conscious decision to exclude segments of a population, leaving those in some groups marginalized and excluded.

Keep in mind as you read that some companies have made great strides; that they have consciously taken steps to be more inclusive is indeed commendable. I don’t believe there should be an award for doing so, but it is worthy of a, ‘good for you’ when an organization breaks with traditional practices and evolves to better diversify its workforce.

I said earlier that when an interviewer looks into reception, they tend to see more diversification in the interviewees; a good thing. However, we have not yet evolved sufficiently to always include what we can’t see; mental health and income as two examples. There exists unfortunately a preference (if you want to emphasize a positive) or a prejudice (if you want to emphasize a negative) against hiring people who receive welfare or social assistance. Some jurisdictions have even changed the wording of such benefits to fend off such discrimination or bias.

To be fair, organizations don’t typically have written polices that discriminate against the poor. Yet every so often I see an employment application that requires an applicant to provide the source of their current income or their combined family income level. When you’re out of work and living in poverty, you tend to feel the hurt and pain of providing such information, and you can’t help but wonder how that information is going to help them decide whether you’re the right candidate.

The thing about poverty is that it isn’t always visible – similar to mental health. Poverty might just limit the ability of a person to impress however. A job interview held over lunch or dinner might severely restrict the financial ability of a candidate to compete, as might their lack of transportation funds nullify their ability to get to all the interviews they’d otherwise choose to attend.

Poverty can also force a person to make tough choices between paying rent and eating versus getting teeth taken care of, staying well-dressed if their wardrobe needs updating etc. Poverty itself might be invisible, but it can explain why a candidate might not quite fit in. Hire them and give them the income that comes with the job however and you would see an improvement in those areas now that they can address things their lack of income prevented them from doing so.

Inclusivity is gaining momentum and I applaud it. This accounts for more women in the workforce, older workers having legitimate shots at getting hired, gives hope to the people who want to financially support themselves and not sit on the sidelines as “disabled”. It allows people with gender differences to stand and compete based solely on their ability to do the work at hand.

If your job has you in the position of hiring, be honest with yourself and look at your hiring biases, preferences and practices. If you look at your workforce and it’s not representative of the larger community, perhaps it’s time to change.

The Hand-Written Thank You Note


How many of you have recently wrote a hand-written thank you note? Hands up out there. Hmm… not many; no not many indeed.

Okay, another question if I may. The last time you received a note of thanks from someone expressing their gratitude, how did it make you feel?

Interesting isn’t it? You enjoy receiving but aren’t doing the giving. Now of course many of you out there might just be the kind of people who are very thankful and gracious with your words of thanks, it’s just that your saying them face-to-face or in an email. After all email is so convenient, accessible and immediate. You can dash off an email expresses thanks in the same time it would take to put on your coat and find your car keys. That trip to the stationery store to buy a card just seems so unnecessary.

I admit the card of thanks takes more effort. Yes, you have to go to the store, pick out a card or a set of cards that expresses thanks but doesn’t communicate the wrong message with some flowery verse on the inside. Then there’s paying for the cards, (because email is free), and if you misspell a word as you write in pen, there’s no delete button to quickly erase your error. Then there’s the exorbitant cost of a postage stamp, addressing the envelope, the trip to a mailbox. Just too much effort!

Or is it?

Think for a moment what someone has done for you in the first place for which you might be contemplating issuing words of thanks. I suspect what they’ve done, or what they continue to do is worth a bit more than the total cost of an envelope, card, postage stamp and your time. In fact, I’d wager your effort and words of thanks pale mightily in comparison. Too much effort on your part? How unfortunate if you feel this way.

The thank you card could be composed and presented to any number of people and for many reasons. Here’s a few to inspire some action on your part:

  • An interviewer after a job interview
  • A co-worker who has your back when work piles up
  • Your Administrative Clerk; the one who ‘does everything’ for you
  • Your job search references; those who back your credentials
  • The Barista who makes your every morning must-have
  • The Teacher who instructs your child
  • The Child Care Provider who nurtures your child
  • Your neighbour who looks out for you in your absence
  • The Receptionist who greeted you on interview day

That’s a lot of people you COULD be thanking. Better get a stack of cards when you’re out and save yourself a lot of return trips. If you look over that list by the way, you’ll note I hope that not a single note of thanks requires postage at all. Nope, each one can be hand-delivered.

The thing about a note of thanks is that it is short and yet powerful; so powerful in fact that many people will hang on to notes of thanks long after they’ve been received. An email of thanks by comparison may be read and deleted in the same day, or immediately after the person replies with a ‘Thanks’.  Then they switch gears and get on with their day.

I give my job seekers with 5 cards of thanks – blank on the inside – and 5 envelopes. I recommend they make use of them and there’s more available if they need them. Sadly, many don’t even issue one. Those that do however, find them surprisingly effective. Oddly enough, they feel better too when the person expresses thanks and a little shock at having received one.

Take your references as an example of people to thank. These are the people you provide to a potential employer as those who will attest to your work ethic, accomplishments, personality, teamwork, etc. After you’ve done your best to wow an employer, they are the ones who will either close the deal or raise some doubt on your application. Suddenly I think your protest that a card of thanks being too much work is failing miserably.

“Just  a few words of appreciation for standing with me as a valued reference. As I transition to a new place, I’m grateful to have your support.”

Now honestly, how long do you think that would take for you to write? Time surely then, can’t be your argument for not writing one, and we’ve already talked about the cost.

So if time and money aren’t the real reasons, we’re left with you don’t know what to say – see example above – or you just can’t be bothered – which means you truly aren’t that grateful. You could have literacy issues I suppose, which I grant.

Need another example? Okay…

Thank you for meeting with me this afternoon. I found our interview informative and enlightening. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work together and look forward to this with enthusiasm. I am excited about the next step in the hiring process.

Short and to the point. Come on people, you can do this. You’re looking for an edge over your competition aren’t you? Don’t be the candidate who just goes home and waits for the phone to ring. You can pen this one sitting in reception and hand it in right after the interview to the Receptionist.

Or not.

Employment And The Age Paradox


One’s age is an interesting factor when it comes to finding employment. It can help you or hurt you; disqualify you or land you in the running.  Ironically, it’s something that’s never supposed to be revealed or inquired about in an interview – unless of course age is a legal requirement such as a position serving alcohol.

While age isn’t supposed to be raised verbally, it sure is taken into consideration by the person or people conducting interviews. I mean, it has to be doesn’t it? As soon as you come into visual contact with a representative of the company you are about to interview with, you’re being assessed. That brief look as you move towards each other is taking in all kinds of information; hair colour, skin tone, muscle/fat proportions, walking gait, how hard or easy it seems for you to stand, the speed of your walk, the purity or blotches of your skin, your smile, the health of your teeth, bags or lack thereof under your eyes, thickness or thinning hair, stooping or straight up posture. Whew! That’s a lot to take in over the course of 10 seconds!

Notice how all the above are observations made based completely on non-verbal signals you’ve put out there to the interviewer. Once you open your mouth and speak, more information is available such as the tone, power and volume of your voice, the clarity or not of your words, your vocabulary; your overall energy.

In another 10 seconds, all this information – and more – is sent by you and picked up on by the interviewer. At this point, you’ve now given them enough information – and it’s been about 20 seconds mind – that they’ve formed an opinion of you and compared that to what they’ve settled on as the kind of person they are after. That opening impression if good is something for you to build upon. If that opening impression is a miss, you’ve got the rest of your time together to alter it, and believe me, altering someone’s first impression of you when you only have one meeting with them is much harder than you’d like it to be.

There are many people both young and old who lament the age discrimination. Some who are young feel their age suggests a total lack of work experience, immaturity, little life experience, and a future full of mistakes, errors, poor judgement, lack of responsibility and commitment to a solid work ethic. Older workers worry they are discriminated against because they are judged as set in their ways, slowing down, drawing on health benefits to the extreme, out of date with developments and not interested in any personal development. Oh and let’s not even talk about technology.

The paradox re. age is that younger people sometimes wish they came across as more mature while older workers wish they presented as 10 or 15 years younger. Both groups recognize the advantages of the other. Younger people if we buy in to the stereotypes, are healthier, more energetic, technologically tuned in, are open vessels to teach and they look more vibrant and enthusiastic. Older workers have experience the young lack; both life and work. Older workers also have the benefit of having learned from their mistakes and they make less of them.

Here’s the thing though…we are who we are. If you’re 22, you’re 22. If you’re 56, you’re 56; it’s a given. However, as we all know, there are some 22 year olds who act like their 17 and some who act like they are 28. There are some 56 year olds with the energy and vitality of those in their mid-forties and some 56 year olds who move as if they are picking out their coffins on the weekend. Age alone then, isn’t the definitive factor that we might at first believe it to be. What is essential to recognize what we can control which will in turn help create the first impression we want others to formulate when meeting us.

The clothes we choose to wear send signals. Do the clothes fit properly and are they right for the conversation we are about to have. While it might not be flattering to think about, we have to also take a good look at our bodies because others will. Are you willing to lose or gain weight if you’d appear healthier or your clothes would fit better? Or would maintaining your weight but shifting some fat to muscles create a more vibrant you? If you’re an older fellow with a scruffy beard maybe shaving everyday would immediately take off 5 years? Maybe, maybe not.

This isn’t about pretending to be someone you’re not. This is about projecting a desirable image so that you become attractive to the interviewer – professionally attractive; so they can visualize you as a positive addition to the organization. Lest you think you are somehow selling out to change-up who you are just to impress someone, think again. You’d likely put some effort into your appearance if you knew you were having a date with someone, and if it was at the end of the month, you might do all you could between now and then to come across in the best possible way.

Of course you can ignore all of this advice and just say, “I am who I am and if they don’t like me that’s their problem.” But then again, you’re not investing yourself in this potential relationship now are you?

Conversation Starters


There they sit on my desk; a compass, a magnifying glass and a clock. The compass has the inscription, “Life is a journey not a destination.”

Whether it’s after a workshop or someone has dropped in unannounced and would like a word in my office, when someone draws up a chair beside me, these three are close at hand. Invariably, their eyes take in the objects and they make some comment. Picking up on whatever they say, a conversation ensues. Usually I’ll ask them which of the three speaks to them, or which of the three is the most important to them and why.

The compass you see provides direction; it not only helps you find your way when you’re lost, it can help keep you on track when you know which way you’re headed. The magnifying glass brings things which are small and hard to see into focus; enlarging them. The clock? Well the clock never stops does it? Time is moving on and the seconds that pass as we talk about time can never be reclaimed or experience again once they’ve ticked past. Time? Time to get going. Lest you see the clock as only marking regret for time lost, the clock can also be a blessing if it reminds a person they have time ahead of them as well; time to spend.

Now the thing about the three is that neither is more important than the other, but to any one person at the point we meet, one will take on greater importance than the others. To someone confused about their career direction, what they want to achieve or do – the compass and the direction it implies is what they want more than anything. To someone with multiple barriers or so many things going on in their life they find it difficult to give their job search the focus it requires, the magnifying glass speaks. The clock maybe not surprisingly, speaks more to the mature or older people who take up the seat next to me. Younger people in their 20’s say, well, they believe they have all the time in the world; certainly enough that the clock isn’t as ominous as it will be one day.

It was out in a store during a busy Christmas shopping trip that I spied the three. They weren’t assembled as you see them in the photo here. No, they were in various parts of the store, but it was the line of work I’m in and the conversations I have many of that first brought to mind the idea of assembling them together. My brain just works this way; always thinking of creative ideas. Even now as I write, I think about the old-fashioned journals so popular in book stores, and how one of these and a quill pen might be good additions, for those who’d like a fresh page to begin writing the stories that make up a life. However, maybe my desk might get a little cluttered?

They are pretty good conversation starters though. The nice thing is that I don’t have to actually say anything to get conversations going. While we talk walking down to my office, sometimes I’ll take just a fraction of a minute to let them get settled in as I load their personal file or feign moving a few things around on the desk to give them room. The objects before them draw their attention in and while most just make a remark, some will ask if they can hold one. “Why that one?” I’ll ask.

And that’s all it takes. It’s not so much about the ones a person didn’t take up or talk about, even though all three are important. No, the most important thing is just to listen and comment on what I hear. A question here or there; sometimes what they share is better, more relevant and certainly much quicker delivered than had I asked a slew of questions. In fact, a litany of questions might come out more like an interrogation!

Work spaces are very personal areas. Do you have pictures, quotes, maybe a combination of the two, other articles etc. that draw out or inspire conversation? Would you be willing to chime in with a comment about what you strategic place in your work area, why you’ve chosen what you have and the impact of those things on those who come into your space?

It would be interesting to share, to read and perhaps for some to copy. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have objects around them for conversation; possibly others even have the same three objects as I do. Sometimes, I move the clock so it faces me and I substitute in an hourglass. Same kind of device to mark the passing of time; the thing about the hourglass is people like to flip it over. so it becomes interactive. Time appears to stop when the last crystal of sand drops, but of course it stops no more than the clock does when it’s battery expires. Time marches on.

These I have penned about before, so if my musings sound reminiscent of a post past, good for you for recognizing the recurring theme. The interesting thing is sometimes a person returns to my office after some time and they suddenly recall the three, and they remark how their priorities have shifted. That’s groovy.

This, “I’m Too Old” Business Part 2


After penning and sharing my post yesterday on dealing with being an older person looking for work, I was grateful to receive commentary from among others, James and Jeffrey. By the way, feedback is always welcome on any blog I pen; this is how we help each other through commentary, questioning, supporting, challenging, adding new perspectives etc. So a big thank you to James, Jeffrey and all the rest of you who take the time to comment periodically.

As much as James agreed with the advice about improvements in personal appearance, he raised an excellent point that one’s resume detailing their work experience and education often dates a person and they may never get to that interview to showcase their vigor and energy. James also asked about the response I gave James in suggesting a résumé shouldn’t go back beyond 10 years; he has progressive experience that showcases 20 years.

So let’s look at the résumé from both the viewpoint of the employer and the applicant. As an applicant, it is essential to remember that this résumé is your personal marketing document; you are in full control of what you put on it and how you phrase it. Think about your image or brand. How do you want to come across and what exactly are you showcasing ?

The older worker generally feels they have a lot of experience to share; their sheer years in the workforce alone is something of which they are proud, as this makes up much of their value proposition. While young workers will highlight recent education and enthusiasm to launch their careers, older workers often feel their longevity and rich employment history is their decided advantage. By removing much of one’s history from a résumé, it’s as if that rich history is being dismissed, hence the reason many find it hard to let go and drop work history beyond the previous 10 years.

The 10 years by the way is an industry guideline and not a hard and fast rule. There are times when work beyond that 10 year period is relevant to the job you’re going for now, and adding it will give you an edge, so just be aware of this. However, adding that job from 1984 on your résumé has a big down side; you may come across as a fossil; the employer imagining you’ll show up for the interview on life support and within a few moments ask about the company health benefit plan.

One major flaw that many older workers make is drawing attention at the top of their résumé to their extensive work experience. One of the first things I sometimes read goes along the lines:

Dedicated professional with 25 years’ experience in …

Employer’s read these 7 words and think, “25 years of work, they started out when they were 25, so they must be around 50 right off the bat.” Hmm…. you might as well have put your age right beside your name at the top. What you’re proud of sharing as an asset is interpreted as a liability. How frustrating then to think the 2 hours you put into crafting that résumé for a single job blew up after 7 words and 3.5 seconds of time reading!

So if the job ad requests 3-5 years’ experience and you’ve got this plus another 10 or so, don’t think you’re an obvious choice for an interview by adding that. You can’t really lie either and say you have 5 years experience when you have more, so what to do? Consider this..

“Proven experience…, Demonstrated expertise… or Mastery of … ” There’s no indication of actual years, therefore nothing to feel you have to apologize for because you didn’t misrepresent yourself. Ah, but further down the résumé, what about the real years beside each job? Surely they’ll get what they are after, (and coincidentally what you want to hide) eventually, you just delayed the inevitable reveal until they scanned the middle of your résumé.

Some résumé writers will omit dates, others will put, ‘8 years’ rather than putting ‘2000 – 2008’ etc. Some recommend no dates at all. This might not be the answer that will satisfy you as a reader attempting to learn the industry standard, but in truth, there are a number of approaches you can take on a résumé in the Experience section, and I’d have to be sitting with you and know your personal circumstances to intelligently give you my idea on how best to approach your unique situation. That’s not a cop-out, that’s recognizing that you personally have to be happy with the layout and approach we settle on, and it has to fulfill the employer’s side; call it tailoring your approach.

As for employers, they do want to know what your education is and how much experience you have doing the work they need done. Remember that saying, “Old dogs can’t learn new tricks”? This is one knock against the older worker and it’s a stereotype. You want to combat this and prove you’re not in this mold? Good, so where’s the evidence on your résumé that you’ve taken some learning recently? Haven’t got any? Take an online, night or day school course. Get that on your résumé with, ‘2018’ prominently beside it.

Now the résumé is only designed to get you to the interview recall. Once there, expand on your rich experience – the stuff you didn’t add on paper. Here’s where the details of yesterday’s piece kick in.

You can do this, and I’m in your corner.

Let’s Address This, “I’m Too Old” Business


When it comes to finding work, do you feel you’re too old? If you instinctively answered, ‘yes’, I’d have to agree with you. Why do I say this without even knowing your age? Simply put, if YOU believe it, I’ll agree with you; you’re too old.

It starts with your attitude and what you believe – for what you believe dictates not just your chronological age, but will affect your posture, how you move, act and react. It only stands to reason that others will react to you largely on how you present yourself and interact with them. No of course you can’t alter your age, but what you can control – and you have 100% control make no mistake – is how you feel. How you feel and the decisions you’ve made and continue to make as you move forward dictate how you present yourself. Oh yes, these are within your control.

It’s ironic really that many of the people I work with to find employment present their advancing years as their foremost problem. Yet when I don’t sympathize with them and agree there’s nothing that can be done to combat this age discrimination by employers, they seem disappointed. It’s like they want to me just say, “Yes, that’s a shame but it is what it is.” If that was my only response, not only would I be a poor Employment Counsellor and Coach, I might as well be saying, “Give up now. Buy some overalls and a rocking chair and pull out the harmonica!” (Not intended to offend younger people who enjoy overalls, harmonicas and time spent rocking away.)

Whether you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s, what’s really important is the attention you’ve paid to your presentation. I’m willing to bet you’ve come across people who look older than their real years. Smoking, excessive time in the sun drying the skin, weight issues, lack of proper diet and exercise; ever thought to yourself, “Wow! He’s/She’s younger than I am but they look so much older!”

Okay so you didn’t make your appearance a priority – and you probably knew it at the time too. You overindulged, did your thing, you let people think what they wanted and didn’t worry about your lifestyle. If other people had a problem with that – well it was their issue not yours. Except now, it is your issue. You won’t like it, but if you want to do something about your appearance, you will – if it’s important to you enough now. Start small sure; but make a start. Eat better, walk or exercise a bit, eat less and eat more of the good stuff. What goes in – goes on.

However, let’s assume you’re in pretty good shape and you look good. I mean you’re not going to grace any glam magazine covers, but how many of us do? First of all good for you. How’s your wardrobe? I mean do your clothes fit properly and are they today’s styles or are they throwbacks to years gone by? What you wear and how you wear it says a lot about you.

Next let’s address your movement. If you’re not a people watcher, take up the hobby as a research project. Watch people walk. Some have energy in their strides as they walk with purpose. Others saunter along, almost aimlessly; shuffling their feet and it’s hard to tell where they are going, if indeed they have any destination in mind beyond a leisurely stroll; a walkabout.

Freeze for a moment and don’t move – whether you’re sitting or standing. Now pay attention to your shoulders. Can you pull them back and pull in your stomach at the same time? If you can, you’re natural pose is hunching forward and the appearance isn’t flattering. If you want to make a good first impression, get those shoulders back, bring the stomach muscles in a bit and increase your pace a little as you walk. When you sit, don’t slouch, keep the shoulders back and avoid stooping forward. Looking bent over makes you look older.

It’s not actually about aging you know; it’s about what aging infers. Getting on in years infers you’re less flexible, less willing to try new things and learn new ways. It’s seen as slowing down, challenging yourself less, taking more time off, not caring to immerse yourself to the extent a younger person will. It’s about falling behind. It infers you’re not into technology, avoid new trends, becoming a follower instead of a trendsetter, and it’s about health concerns and thinking more about retirement than investment.

You can’t control what others think. You CAN control how you present yourself however, and how you present yourself INFLUENCES how others perceive you. Do you take pride in your appearance? Is their energy in your handshake? Are your teeth in good shape? Do you smile or instinctively wear what others would see as a frown?

Control the things within your control. If there are things beyond what you can control with respect to your appearance that’s one thing. But don’t lump things you can control in with them just so you can rationalize not doing anything to improve them. Yes, you know what I’m talking about.

Sorry if you didn’t get the sympathy you’d hoped for. Might sound harsh, but that’s not intended. Straight talk is often what’s needed. To answer your question, I’m 59. Ah but mentally, I’m a spry 38ish!