Are you getting wise or just getting old?

Looked a bit 'rough' after the 50th Birthday Party

Looked a bit ‘rough’ after the 50th Birthday Party

Many years ago, myself and Linda used to benchmark weddings. When attending friends weddings, we took mental notes of how it all worked. Did the mammies get flowers? What readings worked best in the church? Did the band play Waltzing Matilda? And so on. We were at that stage.

Funeral Benchmarking: Now I find myself now doing the same thing at funerals.  Did the priest get the deceased’s name right? (that seems like quite a fundamental point). Was the eulogy powerful or boring? At one recent funeral, the starting point in a 22-minute soliloquy was the deceased’s intellectual progress when he was a baby! I immediately took an executive decision; my eulogy will not commence until after my First Holy Communion! So, somewhere along the line the benchmarking ratio changed from four Weddings and a funeral to 26 funerals and 1 wedding.

Getting Old: Ageing sort of creeps up on you. One day you’re playing GAA. Then you gravitate towards golf. Before you know it, you are discussing the price of a pint and the fact that each birthday the candles cost more than the cake. The time slides by quickly. I’m told that when you’re over 80, time goes so fast it feels like you are having breakfast every 15 minutes! Now, we all know the downsides to getting old (it’s a long list). But, are there any upsides to counterbalance this?

Cosmetic Surgery: Age supposedly brings wisdom. The chance to be yourself. To have authentic conversations. To love yourself, warts ‘n all. If you don’t accept yourself now, when will it happen? Perhaps there is less pressure on men in the ‘getting older’ stakes. No one wants to look old, but there’s a line in the sand when it comes to getting Botoxed to death. When Kim Novak presented an award at the Oscars ceremony last year – this once truly beautiful woman looked like an exhibit in the National Wax Museum. If you look ‘false’ it’s hard for people to take you seriously. Try to maintain eye contact with a man who’s wearing a wig; it’s difficult.

Accepting Yourself: Accepting yourself is absolutely not the same thing as ‘giving up’. It’s not carte blanch for laziness (physical or mental), a license to guard the couch. There are a million activities to keep learning and growing. But grow forwards. Don’t try to recapture how you looked when you were 22, 33 or 44. The real trick is not just to get old, but also to get wise. Madeleine L’Engle said: “The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been”. When you embrace self-acceptance, you have found the source of mental health. And if you are becoming overly concerned about getting old, just think that it’s a privilege denied to many.


PS: Lighter Note 1: It’s very hard to source good mental health professionals! Have you found that? When my psychiatrist told me I was crazy, I said: “I want a second opinion”. He said OK, “In addition to the mental illness, you’re carrying a lot of extra weight”.

PS: Lighter Note 2:  Thanks to Grahame Morphey who swears this is a true story…

Ever worked for a boss who reacts before getting the facts?

Arcelor-Mittal Steel, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO. The new boss was determined to rid the company of slackers. On a tour of the facilities, he noticed a guy leaning against a wall. 
The room was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business. He asked the guy:

“How much money do you make a week?”

A little surprised, the young man looked at him and said, “I make $400 a week. Why?”

The CEO said, “Wait right here.” 
He walked back to his office, came back in two minutes, and handed the guy $1,600 in cash and said: “Here’s four weeks’ pay. 
Now GET OUT and don’t come back.”

Feeling pretty good about himself the CEO looked around the room and asked:

“Does anyone want to tell me what that goof-ball did here?”

 From across the room a voice said, “Pizza delivery guy from Domino’s.”

 Check our website or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organisation development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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