When you know it’s time to retire

Yesterday, Elaine and I took our granddaughters to a matinee of the new Cars 3D movie. As with all Disney movies it was cute and the girls loved it. It is about a race car driver who seems to have lost his edge and doesn’t want to retire but may be forced to.

In the movie the driver asked one of the older race car drivers when he knew it was time to retire. The old driver said something that made me sit a little straighter in the seat. He said, “the youngsters will let you know.”

I thought about that and realized it is so true. I don’t care what your profession is, there are younger, smarter generations coming behind you that in many cases, can do a better job and relate better to the clients. Especially, if you are in sales, because many times the clients you are trying to sell to are also younger.

I think the magic is knowing and accepting when your influence has begun to drift and when you should move to the next great thing you want to do in your life. It is sad seeing an old leader who clearly no longer has a grasp on the business, but still demands he/she stay in charge. Many companies have failed to be relevant long term because of this one issue.

Don’t get me wrong. Many of today’s inventions come from late bloomers (older people) and many new companies are started by older people. With age generally comes a great deal of wisdom and perspective that younger folks don’t have yet. People under 30 don’t know what a financial downturn looks like (2008 & 2009) and how to prepare for it in advance. So, age does have its perks.

I own a small piece of a social media company and I am continually amazed at how little I understand about what they do. Ha. I go to their offices and see all these young, articulate, polished, educated, smart 20 and 30-year-olds. It is so much fun to see the younger generations work because they are so far ahead of where I was at their age. It simply amazes me.

So, the message. Hold on, but don’t hold on too long. Ha. KT

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