As I write this post, a 52-year-old named Dewey Bozella won his pro boxing debut after serving 26 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
Think about that for a moment.
If you made your professional debut at 52, it would be fairly difficult, wouldn’t it?
Fortunately, we don’t have to begin our careers in a ring with a million eyes on us against an opponent significantly faster. Why, you probably have had some experience to build upon. Maybe a whole lot of it.
So what’s the issue? Everybody else. You say your opponent is a boss or the economy or corporate bureaucracy or that you’re in a “young person’s business” or that you don’t understand this social media stuff.
Wow. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say your most difficult opponent is actually…yourself.
It’s not that I don’t believe people have obstacles. It’s that they at times let their birth year serve as an excuse for the fact that they haven’t kept up with trends the way they should have. Their ongoing education just stopped. They coasted. They got comfortable.
And I know bad things obviously happen to good people that are outside of their control too. Like losing a job.
But as we strive to overcome those obstacles, there are ways to reinvent our personal brands and come back stronger than we were before. How?
What prevents you from having an opinion on your industry’s trends? Nothing. You can have a blog up and running in a day. It’s the consistency issue that’s challenging for many, to be sure. But if you don’t burn yourself out by trying to do a blog post every day right out of the gate, you have an outlet to be heard.
You don’t have to go to every one under the sun. But once you visit a few as a guest, you can find the networking groups that fit your goals and profile best for making inroads.
Webinars, white papers, e-books
There is so much online content to absorb that costs nothing but time, particularly on the subject of social media, that it can be overwhelming. But one thing’s for sure – we don’t lack the training material to learn from.
And once we learn, why can’t the content we create in the form of our own social media outlets be a basis for how we establish our own voice? Yes, that’s going to take work. So what’s your point?
Dewey Bozella had every reason in the world to be “comfortable” if you can call it that. As a prisoner, he wasn’t going anywhere. He had no hope and time would rob him of the chance to have a long career fighting professionally.
Instead, he earned two college degrees while in prison.
Some people let their personal brands run out of gas because they can’t transfer themselves mentally from a time that was comfortable for them to a new era that means they need to develop new skills and a new mindset.
Is it that you’ve run out of time? No.
You actually still have time on your side.
In a sense, Dewey Bozella doesn’t. That’s right. This was his first and last fight. As he laid in his cell for 26 years, all Bozella would think about was the debut he would make one day in the boxing ring. He made it, he won and he’s done.
But even he has a second act. He’s going to spend the rest of his days training fighters and running a foundation that enables him to open a gym in a town without any. So more kids can be off the streets.
He’s reinventing himself at age 52 and has been through events none of us should ever go through in our lives.
So what’s holding you back from reinventing yourself now?
Dan Gershenson is a Chicago-based consultant focused on brand strategy and content marketing. Dan has guided a variety of CEOs and Marketing Directors at small to medium-sized companies, providing hundreds of strategic plans to help businesses identify their best niches and areas of opportunity. Dan blogs on Chicago Brander, mentors advertising students and cheers relentlessly for the Chicago Bears. Dan graduated from Drake University with a degree in Advertising.