With my fortieth birthday fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about getting old or, to be more precise, how to avoid getting old. It’s a natural response to a milestone birthday. Well-intentioned friends console me with comments like, “Don’t worry about getting old. It sure beats the alternative,” or “Any day above ground is a good day.” I know they mean well, but that’s sort of a low bar and frankly I’m not convinced. Using the “above ground equals good day” logic, I should be ecstatic when I’m flying. I mean that’s 30,000 times better than just being above ground, right?!
The best advice I received was from a friend who is closing in on seventy. Instead of reassuring me that “40’s not old”, he offered these words of wisdom: “Getting old is a choice. If you stay curious, stay connected and find ways to celebrate, you’ll never be old.”
So, chairing the Fordyce Forum isn’t simply attending a conference for me. It’s an important part of my longevity program.
Choose To Stay Curious. I am certain that some people are coming to Vegas for the party and there will be plenty of time for play, but this year’s Fordyce Forum attendees have no idea what’s about to hit them when it comes to rich, relevant content. I have had the opportunity to connect with most of the presenters and I have left each of those conversations absolutely electrified with energy and ideas. The topics range from how to get more from your technology tools to how to turn your business into the ultimate recreational vehicle. We’ll watch Mike Ramer do live desk demonstrations of client development calls and Bob Marshall will dissect one million-dollar producer’s tactics and strategies and provide a menu of ideas from which attendees can feast. Barb Bruno is going to jump beyond best practices and reveal “next practices” and give us a glimpse into where recruiting is headed and how to not just react to change but profit from game changing ideas. Jeremy Sismore has a thing or two or ten to say about finding new profit centers in your recruiting business and Jennifer Knippenberg, who has worked with offices of all shapes, sizes, and structures on developing customized social media strategies, will share her thoughts on turning this medium from a distraction into talent attraction. And Jeff Skrentny has a confession to make and a naked slide show to boot. Or something like that. That alone could be worth the trip! And that’s only half of the lineup. You’ll have to come to Vegas to learn more.
Choose To Stay Connected. Did you know that people with a larger circle of friends live longer? Multiple research studies on the topic have found that our connections are important to our health and longevity. The same is true for the health and longevity of your recruiting practice. Recruiters were ‘social networking’ long before Facebook and Twitter. We’ve always known that you can never have too many friends. That’s one of the best parts of attending a great conference. It’s not just the new information you gain, but the new connections you make. It’s the guy sitting next to you who off-handedly shares an idea that could revolutionize your business. It’s the woman you visit with at lunch who lays out a life-changing word of wisdom or encouragement. When I reflect on pivotal moments or key lessons in my career it’s sometimes a trainer or speaker that inspired me, but just as often it’s another conference attendee who played a role in changing the trajectory of my life’s story. Literally, as I wrote this someone I met at Fordyce last year just sent me a text: “Wait until I tell u about this deal I closed today…can’t wait to c u in Vegas!”
Choose To Keep Celebrating. This year’s Fordyce Forum is going to be the party this industry has been waiting for. Our clients are experiencing unprecedented amounts of turnover at the same time that they’re ready to reinvest in their businesses and add staff. The pent up demand for talent is massive and candidates are coming out of hibernation after a long economic winter and ready to move. These are the best of times! We are living through the “Gold Rush” for talent! This Fordyce Forum is going to be a celebration of big ideas, big billings and big impact. It’s a time to come together with hearts full of gratitude for what we’ve overcome, what lies ahead and to celebrate our great fortune that we happen to work in the greatest profession on the planet!
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This year the Fordyce Letter turns 40. So do I, and there’s no place that I’d rather celebrate than in a city filled with bright lights, big dreams, and some of my favorite people on the planet.
I have learned not to mention my ‘age angst’ to the 78% of my staff who are younger than me after one twenty-something consoled me with, “Seriously, I can’t believe you’re turning forty. I hope I look as good as you when I’m your age.” It was subtle, but she visibly shuddered when she said, “when I’m your age” because she actually can’t imagine EVER being that age. It’s okay. It’s coming sooner than she thinks. We’re all getting older. That’s inevitable. But staying young? That’s a choice. Choose well.