How to be the Oldest Guy in the Room, Without Becoming a Cheese

Avoid being the cheese

Have you ever heard the remark that age is only relevant if you are a cheese? All of my career it seemed I was one of the youngest guys in the room. Then, overnight, I looked around and was shocked to discover I was the oldest guy in the room. Working on my third career, I don’t know why that should have been a surprise to me.

It was though … a reality check. But why? Who knows, especially since I have no fear about the value I bring and my ability to keep delivering relevance in a young person’s world going through rapid change. Luckily the feeling did not last long.

Here are my top tips on how I focus on keeping ‘one step ahead’ of the cheese:

Do not rest on past successes …

There is nothing more dangerous to life success than a great last result, is there? We are ‘only as good as our next result’. Stay paranoid.

Make yourself a project …

Hairdressing icon Vidal Sassoon was famous for having said: “The only place you’ll find success coming before work is in a dictionary.” We have to work on ourselves. Put pressure on ourselves. Critique our days. Give back to society. Be our own very best coaches and cheering squads. All of this applies as much for our personal lives as for our business lives.

Continue to add to your connections and be a continuous learner …

Woody Allen said: “85% of the secret of success is just turning up.” Turn up to events. Make that phone call. Read that book. Do that training. Have the courage to ask that question. Make the effort. Stay connected to what’s happening around you.

Is a priority ‘ninja’ …

Getting more of the important things done every day. Be obsessed with getting priorities rights, on what’s really important, every day, and make sure you spend the majority of your day on these priorities.

Embrace change …

Darwin said it was not the strongest of the species that survived, but the most able to adapt to change. There will be more change in the next five years than we’ve seen in the past 50. Get excited by change. Be part of the most movements that you can. Help shake things up.

We’ve got one shot at our lives.

Work hard on yourself to stay relevant if you want the chance to avoid being the cheese.

Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he writes about topics that relate to improving the performance of business. Please Bookmark his blog for awesome stories and articles.