The February issue of Harper’s Bazaar is profiling fashion designer, Vera Wang (age 61) showing off her sleek physique in a strapless swim suit and stiletto heels. Michelle Pfeiffer still lights up the screen as she turns 50 during the filming of ‘Cheri’ as an “ageing” courtesan in the novel by Collette. Goldie Hawn (age 63) shares her age-defying secrets as a guest on Dr. Oz, still flaunting her girlish figure and smile. Madonna (age 53) is scheduled to dazzle Super Bowl XLVI viewers with an electrifying and show-stopping half-time performance. What do all of these “high-in-demand” enterprising women have in common? They possess the best of both worlds: they have the years of experience to deem them legends, yet their image remains timeless and appealing to multi-generational audiences/consumers. As a result of remaining “Ageless,” these women continue to be as employable and sought-after as ever. You don’t need to be a celebrity to implement golden rules that will keep you at the top of the list for a new job, promotion, or high profile project regardless of your age. In fact, keep the powers that be guessing and in awe of just how much knowledge you possess at the tender age of ? ?.
Apply the following golden rules for evergreen success in the workforce.
1. Stay fit: I write from experience when I tell you that by incorporating better eating habits and exercise into my life, my silhouette went from that of a 45+ year-old woman to that of a less than 35 year-old-woman. Over an 18-month period, I lost 25 lbs. by making definite lifestyle modifications; no ice cream or potato chips during late night writing and at least an hour of exercise per day. There are discrepancies among experts as far as what the minimal amount of exercise is needed to become fit; so I can only tell you what worked for me. Be sure to seek nutritional and physical fitness expertise to determine what works for you. Believe me, your body will thank you for it and will reward you by taking years off your physical appearance while increasing your stamina for those hectic days at the office when it’s hard to catch your breath.
2. Stay Informed: Stay at the top of your game and ‘in the know’ about current events, especially those that pertain to your industry. The last thing you need is for your boss or client to make reference to some new development in your field that you know nothing about. Sign up for Google alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts) on topics that keep you in the loop regardless of how much time you have to read. Sometimes all you need is the headlines to help you through a “fake it ‘til you make it” conversation.
3. Stay on Trend: I can’t stress this enough as we all tend to be creatures of habit. Go through fashion magazines and tear out photos of looks you like. Imagine yourself in those looks. Then, tape the magazine pages around your bedroom or bathroom and begin to audit your wardrobe and makeup inventory. You might surprise yourself as far as how much you already own to create those looks. Otherwise, make a list and write down what you need to fill-in the blanks in your stock. There are times when staying on trend just means taking something that’s been wasting away in your closet and giving it new life with a simple styling tip.
4. Stay Private: I was given this advice when I was in my twenties (not so long ago) and it has stayed with me—though I don’t always practice it. Nonetheless, I will share this advice with you. A very senior female executive at a major investment bank once shared with me that her secret to being timeless while moving up the corporate ladder was to “stay private.” She advised me to stay private about birthdays (I never follow this one), marital status, children (particularly their ages and activities) and keep socializing with colleagues to a minimum. She felt very strongly about maintaining privacy in the workplace and attributed much of her success to doing so.
5. Stay Motivated: One of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson says it all, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” It is so difficult to stay motivated and excited about a job that may not exactly be your dream job, but sulking about it will only put a frown on your face; making you look 5-10 years older. Follow a spark at the end of what might seem like an endless dark tunnel by thinking about things in your life that motivate you to be excited. Before you know it, your mood will begin to change and positive energy will kick into gear. An open-tooth smile will soon follow—making you look happy—that’s timeless.
6. Stay True: One of the benefits to experiencing life is that you’ve learned (through trial and error) about the things you like and the things you dislike. You’ve discovered what’s made you happy in the past and what’s made you miserable. The days of peer pressure are hopefully behind you and now it’s about staying true to yourself. In doing so, you will feel liberated, exhilarated, and you will exude a ‘youthful’ aura about yourself.
7. Stay Open-Minded: Ever hear the saying, “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Well, staying set in your ways, unwilling to learn new things and new approaches will absolutely make you seem, “old.” Shake things up for yourself and listen to that free (optional) teleseminar or webinar while completing administrative tasks. Open yourself up to using new software, upgrade your cell phone, text instead of e-mail (even if just once), or opt for online bill-paying instead of snail mail. Project an open-minded image. Employers, clients and colleagues will in turn reciprocate with an open-minded vision of you.