I was browsing my professional mug shots lately. I tend to get them redone every 5-7 years. The latest was done a year ago for a press release for a new role, with my previous photo taken in July 2015. A 4-year stretch between sittings. It was interesting to see the changes when comparing the two. After my initial “egads!”, I thought about a few things.
Yes, the body’s heavier and the hair’s thinner (and grayer, too) and the lines on the face a bit more pronounced. I’m getting older, I get it. But, while I’m older, I’m certainly not old. Point of emphasis here: I’m not fighting age but embracing it. The goal for me is to be contemporary, not young. And that means being restless, curious, inquisitive and challenging myself to learn something new each day.
But it means something more.
I’m still the aggressive, opinionated, take-the-hill, drive-for-results Leo that I’ve always been; I can’t fight my DNA. But with experience and age comes wisdom, and a greater sense of purpose. So this Leo does his best to teach, mentor and train the younger “cubs”. To transfer knowledge to make them better. To help them anticipate and navigate through the same jungle pitfalls I’ve experienced.
The fact is, I like saying that I have 30 years’ experience and that I’ve been there/done that. I’ve proudly earned the title of being an elder statesman, or a “crafty vet”, as they say about tenured left-handed pitchers in baseball.
Have I put most of my career behind me? The numbers say yes. Am I done yet? Far from it. I’m as forceful, relentless, demanding and sharp as I’ve ever been, and I plan to stay that way for quite a few more years. But I’ll do that while also helping those who follow in my footsteps. And that’s another thing that helps me stay relevant.