Too many Baby Boomers might feel that way, even though they still are working full-time at "important" jobs or operating a growing business. That sense of a fading professional presence usually comes from some signals from diverse constituencies that we are becoming "invisible." That is a brutal come-down from seeing ourselves as "almost famous" in our niches.
The good news is that there are simple tactics to rebrand ourselves as players. Actually, among us are Late Bloomers who can finally achieve fame.
When I was 59 years old, I became an early adopter in blogging. Among the high-profile opportunities coming my way was blogging the four-month Rhode Island lead paint public nuisance class action trial. The New York Times, Crain's, and the Plain Dealer interviewed me. Security analysts called for my take if they should short the stock of the defendants such as Sherwin-Williams.
So, how do we get back our mojo when it's, well, obvious, our branding is getting tired? Here 4 are tips:
Frame the negative as a wonderful gift. If we didn't pick up that something was wrong, there would be no impetus to change. That Millennial who avoided eye contact at a staff meeting is exactly the person we needed to deliver a wake-up call. It was time we got it that the world had changed and we better change with it. Both macro moves like learning a new field and micro moves like re-styling our hair and finding the right coloring to cover or blend in with the gray.
Ask for input. When threatened, we usually choke. It's the pressure. That's the time to reach out to the experts or a few trusted colleagues. I found I had to hire an executive coach for several months to help me add marketing communications to the menu of services I offered. No, I couldn't have found that new pathway on my own. All my systems were on shut-down. Pressure does that.
Experiment. There's that old adage: We plan, the gods laugh. Sure, we can map out a course of action. But we shouldn't take it too seriously. Opportunity could be knocking on the door and we ignore that because are totally focused on The Plan.
Experts observe that MySpace failed while Facebook succeeded because the leadership at Facebook kept veering from the original strategy as the marketplace, technology, and the ad world kept changing. Myspace remained married to The Plan.
Write off sunk costs. To move forward we have to stop looking backward. A great guide for breaking free is Henry Cloud's "Necessary Endings." Why we cling to the past is usually because of what we have invested in it - that is, sunk costs. There are all the relationships we had nurtured. There are the expensive degrees and courses we had taken. There are the trade associations in which we held leadership positions.
We have to write those off, just as Microsoft wrote off its billions in Nokia. That didn't work out. What no longer works out for us has to go.
Once she rebranded as a role model for successful aging, Betty White truly achieved amazing professional fame. That was a gamble. Most of us hesitate from considering a negative as a platform for a new career. Yet, that could finally help us achieve what we had been searching for during our early and middle work years: a powerful brandname. That's still attainable.