The short answer is no. At the age of 50 you may well have 20 more years of work ahead of you. You also have an opportunity to build a stronger brand than ever before. The most powerful brands are authentic, i.e. based on who you are, what you love to do and what you do best. You have now accumulated a lot of experience and can answer these questions more clearly than ever before.
There are six key steps to rebrand yourself:
- What are the talents you love to use? You can identify these by looking at the high points in your life. Think of the times when you were immersed in what you were doing, maybe to the point where you lost track of time. These are sometimes known as ‘flow experiences’ – a term coined by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Now look carefully at each high point. Which talents were you using? How were you using them? Who were you with?
- What are your values? In other words, what is most important to you? You can begin to identify your values by making a list of the people you admire most. Then, next to each name, make a note of the qualities for which you admire them. The qualities that come up over and over again are your values.
- What is your unique combination of talents, skills and experiences? By the age of 50, you will have developed some of your talents into specific skills. For example, you may have developed a facility for numbers into the skills of an accountant, a code-breaker or a maths teacher.
- What is your mission? One way of answering this question is to look at the things you can’t stop doing (whether you are paid to do them or not). Maybe you find yourself connecting people, writing articles, playing a musical instrument, giving talks, taking photographs, solving problems between people or creating order out of chaos. There are many possibilities.
- What is your purpose? In other words, why are you on the planet? If you had unlimited money and eternal life, what would you do? Answering this question will give you a strong clue as to the direction you should take. Your purpose is like the horizon. You can pursue it for the rest of your life, but you will never reach it. Martha Beck calls it your North Star.
- What is your main archetype? Archetypes go back thousands of years. Stories such as The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars are full of archetypes, which we all recognise instinctively. Likewise, the strongest personal brands evoke one main archetype consistently. By ‘evoke’, I mean that they call it forth, in their minds and ours. For example, Coco Chanel evoked the Lover, Margaret Thatcher evokes the Ruler and Madonna evokes the Outlaw – consistently. You can download a brief explanation of the archetypes free of charge at www.brandyou.info.
I hope you will agree that these exercises are easier to complete now than they would have been earlier in your career. You can use them to build a very strong brand. Once you know your main archetype, you can make sure that the way you dress, speak, write and behave is consistent with it. People will understand instinctively who you are, where you are going, and how they can work with you. Above all, you will be memorable.
John Purkiss is a headhunter and the co-author of BRAND YOU – Turn Your Unique Talents Into A Winning Formula, which has just been published by Pearson Business, priced £12.99. www.brandyou.info