#19: The Longevity Economy, Ignore at Your Own Peril
with Emily Clay
March 16, 2023 | 54 Minutes
On "Inside-Out Career Design" this week, hosts Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell speak with Emily Clay
The longevity economy is here; if you ignore it, you’re missing something valuable. Having different viewpoints, older and younger, is a strategic advantage for a business. The massive demographic shift that is happening worldwide will affect a wide range of industries. Older adults have outsized influence in the world of business. Older adults offer a wealth of experience, wisdom, and resilience. Couple that with the energy of younger people, and you have an ideal mix. The longevity economy is here to stay, and as a business owner, to ignore it is ignoring an opportunity for growth, even in this economy, actually, in any economy. As an older adult, believe that your age can be an advantage that can help businesses and communities. You are well advised to replace fear with curiosity and learn new technologies to stay on top of the game.
In our conversation, we talk about…
- how there are more and more companies willing to hire older adults with the right skillset,
- why it’s important to keep up with technology and keep learning,
- creative ways to earn money,
- hot to get into vocational work,
- how having a simple personal website is a strategic advantage,
- why it's important to be intentional about the people you are around,
- and how the huge demographic shift happening now is an opportunity for older adults.
About Emily Clay
Emily is a Community Engagement Manager who enjoys nerding out about the longevity economy and talking about solving problems through entrepreneurship. Her podcast, Please Ignore Us, focuses on solutions in the longevity economy.
With 30+ years of experience in digital media working for ad tech startups and national media companies, she's skilled at building strategic partnerships and creating new revenue streams.
In 2021, she received a fellowship from RSA (Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce), a UK social impact organization. In 2022, she was recognized as a Top 10 finalist by the International Longevity Center UK for a social impact idea she presented. When Emily isn't working, you can find her either skiing, biking, doing yoga or painting in her encaustic art studio.
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Books, resources, and people mentioned in this episode
- Seth Godin
- Netflix series: Grace and Frankie
- Matt Damon
- Movie: We Bought a Zoo
- YouTube Clip: 20 seconds of Courage
- Ray Dalio: Principes – Life and Work
- Loom videos
- Microsoft Study: Preparing for the Turnover Crisis
- Elizabeth White: 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal: Your Guide to a Better Life
- Harvard University
- Johns Hopkins University
- President Barack Obama
- No-code tools
- Free Personal Website
- Dick Huey
- Akimbo Workshop
- Stanford University
- Longevity Summit Conference
- Barbara Waxman
- Bridge Meadows: A multigenerational Housing Community
- Bruce Feiler: Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age
About the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast
This podcast is obsessed with answering a single question: Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career?
Join Nicola Vetter and Peter Axtell, co-founders of the WhatsNext.com Career Insights platform and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment, as they follow their obsession with answering this question by sharing their insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talking with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches -- anyone and everyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of “what’s next for me?” and “what should I do with my life?”
They seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers.
Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are and what you are meant to do with the time you’ve been given.
Emily Clay 00:00
And then there's three questions that I would, you know, ask for yourself, you know, am I happy in my life right now? Or am I just kind of dreaming about a different new life? And then number two is, is there something I want to do that I haven't done? And then number three is, am I living someone else's dream, and not my own?
Peter Axtell 01:25
Welcome to Inside-Out Career Design. In this show, we're obsessed with answering a single question. Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career? My name is Peter Axtell, and I'm here with Nicola Vetter. We're co-founders of the WhatsNext.com CareerInsights platform, and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment. Join us as we seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers. We'll share our insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talk with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches, anyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of: "What's next for me?" and "What should I do with my life?" Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are, and what you're meant to do with the time you've been given.
Peter Axtell 01:36
Are you trying to figure out what to do with your life, to figure out what to do with the precious time you've been given on this earth? Or to figure out what only you as a remarkable and unique individual can bring into this world? If you are, please join us for one of our live and completely free online workshops, where we cover different topics to help you figure out what to do with your life and career without wasting precious time, taking wild guesses, or risking it all. To save your spot in our next live and free workshop go to WhatsNext.com/workshops. We can't wait to see you there. Again, that's WhatsNext.com/workshops.
Peter Axtell 01:41
Our guest today is Emily Clay. Emily is a Community Engagement Manager, podcaster and has a deep interest in the longevity economy. And she has 30 years of experience in digital media and building strategic partnerships. In 2022 she was among the top 10 finalists at the International Longevity Center UK for the social impact idea she presented. She has a lot to say about the opportunities older adults have. That's why we were really looking forward to talking with Emily. In our conversation, we talk about how there are more and more companies willing to hire older adults with the right skill set, why it's important to keep up with technology and keep learning, how having a simple personal website is a strategic advantage, and how the huge demographic shift happening now is an opportunity for older adults. And now it's time to listen and learn from Emily.
Nicola Vetter 03:01
Welcome, Emily. You and I met at one of Seth Godin's workshops. And I'm really looking forward to this conversation because you have a different way of exploring the question that we are seeking to answer on the Inside-Out Career Design podcast, which is: "what's next for my life for my career? Or even the bigger question, what should I do with my life? Particularly with regards to older workers, and the longevity economy. But before we get into that, what was a What's Next moment in your life where you had to sit down and had no choice but to figure out what's next for you?
Emily Clay 04:32
It's still going. I think the biggest was in 2019 when I decided to leave my full time job. I wanted to explore other things, and I have the ability to do that. And so I had a couple of different ideas that I wanted to pursue and I went ahead and was able to do that. I know that some people are not able to just quit their full time jobs and start something completely different. I'm aware of that. But there are some family circumstances, my dad was ill, it was also pre-pandemic. So companies weren't as friendly, shall we say. And so I really was left with no choice but to leave. So I could spend some time with my dad before he died.
Nicola Vetter 05:31
Sorry to hear that. Now, given what has happened, what did you decide to do then?
Emily Clay 05:41
So I really wanted to be helpful in some capacity. And I'm really good at getting a bunch of different information together that people may not have heard of, or heard about, and putting together content. And so the vision originally was to have a matching platform, a career matching platform for people 50 Plus, that did not take off for a variety of reasons. One being that people don't want to be singled out because of age. And so if you are a badass, sorry, for my language, and you're over 50, you think, Well, I don't need that. I don't need help with, you know, finding a job or, and so. So it became pretty challenging. And it was also a two sided market. So we had to get people in the system. And then we also had to figure out how to vet them. And then we also had to have companies that were willing to hire and wanting to, that were intentional about hiring older. So after about working on that for about a year, year and a half, I decided to become a career coach and help people in a mid career transition. And then I'm also a community engagement manager for a tech startup. It is an intergenerational career platform. And so we match people of different ages, who are excited about and are interested in some of the same kinds of jobs and skills. And so it's a way to augment maybe something that didn't know, just by matching them with someone who might, you know, have a different experience, say it's UX design or something. And so each person will bring something different to that conversation.
Peter Axtell 07:46
That's so interesting, brings up two questions for me. So did you experience that people 50+, who had been kind of successful, said, I don't think I need help?
Emily Clay 07:56
I think it was a matter of so we did extensive research, but there's something called confirmation bias. And so I think, I think people were friendly and excited about it and thought it was a good idea, including my business partner who had startup and exit experience at Microsoft. But at the end of the day, people don't want to be singled out as different. And people don't want to be singled out as different because of their age. So that was a massive challenge. And it's such a sticky topic, especially age and career, it's getting better, but there's a lot of shame around it.
Peter Axtell 08:56
So is your new offering a connection offering that helps bring people together as support and ideas?
Emily Clay 09:04
So Cirkel is a membership program. And it's an intergenerational career platform. And so it's not free, but it's a paid community, where you can go and learn about and find out about different jobs that might be available, or companies that are intentional about hiring older, because everyone in the group, they're all different ages, but they don't care how old you are, as long as you have the skill set. And then we'll have different workshops and different events for our members. And so but the matching piece is really about taking two people that have signed up to learn about different things and then saying, Oh, you're interested in television production, well, this person won five Emmy Awards, you might want to talk to that person, you know, so that's how it works.
Nicola Vetter 10:00
So that's amazing, because it's what we would call the life and career design conversations that people have. So it's exactly that. I'm curious, you speak a lot about the longevity economy. Can you tell us about first what that means and how you got interested in that topic?
Emily Clay 10:25
Yes. So I was trying to make a career pivot, and experienced, no interest in people hiring me. And so that's why I wanted to start Illumehire, which was the company I was telling you about, the failed startup that I worked on. And I learned a ton, though, I learned so many different technology tools. And I learned a ton from my business partner, Nick, and kind of more MBA speak, and how to present, and things like that. I think, to me, the longevity economy, a lot of people don't know what it is right off the bat. It's basically products and services for older adults. So there's a massive demographic shift going on globally. And more people are talking about it now. But people weren't talking about it very much a couple years ago. And so this has implications across the board in terms of different industries. So you know, look at Entertainment, there are film producers who want screenplays with characters who are age 50+, because if a majority of people are going to be older, then do you want to watch people who are in their 20s all the time? No, you just don't. So, you know, Grace and Frankie. So there are a number of different examples of films, TV series, that actually have these people who are older and are entertaining, and people want to watch it, people want to see it, because that's more of a realistic portrayal of who they are. And I think I got interested also just in the dialog about different words that are used. So do you want to be called a senior? I mean, I don't. Do you want to be called elderly? No. How about just older adult? And I thought a lot about, oh, gosh, should I get into this? Because it's such a taboo topic. But then I thought, no, I should absolutely get into it. Because it's a taboo topic. And because it's a business advantage, when you have diverse ages on your workforce. I mean, it's a fact, you'll actually be more productive, and generate even more profits, when you have these different viewpoints and different lenses coming to the table, both ways older and younger.
Peter Axtell 13:23
I can remember over the years that we've explored this topic of workplace motivation and well-being and years ago, it seemed that there were a number of people in positions of power who just didn't care. I don't have time for that. I don't care. Is that now changing? This would be very good news that the people are starting to wake up and realize that they have to care about things like well-being and having people who are older with wisdom. Do you see a change in that?
Emily Clay 13:55
In terms of hiring older, in particular, or the wellness piece?
Peter Axtell 14:00
Well, I think, we can do both. But let's try with the hiring piece. Are people waking up to that?
Emily Clay 14:06
So I think a little bit yes, I think so. 8% of companies throughout the US, they do have include age as part of their diversity, equity and inclusion. But it really comes from leadership and saying, hey, it isn't just about race and gender, we want to measure age as well because if it isn't measured, then people aren't going to pay attention to it. And so people at a company aren't going to pay attention to it. So you know, when people are trying to get their foot in the door, the block happens at the hiring level. And so it's disheartening and frustrating especially for women, and women of color, and older women of color, and older women in general, and men struggle too. But it's going to have to change. And it's going to be more about more skill-based not about what you look like or how old you are.
Peter Axtell 15:20
So you say that the gatekeeper at the hiring level, that's where people get cut off there, it doesn't even get higher than that? Are there some strategies or advantages to get past those gatekeepers?
Emily Clay 15:34
Yes, in fact, one of them is just making sure that you are up on technology, and really being honest with yourself about learning and growing in that regard. So, you know, we talked a little bit about having your own website. And I think no matter who you are, even if you're a highly coveted developer, you know, wouldn't it be cool if you had a website, and then you talked about this really amazing program for inner city kids, for example, and you wanted to participate and show them how to code and so you participated once a week or, you know, so that would be part of your personality, showing on your website, right? And so if you're in your 40s, mid 40s, even 50s and beyond, I just think it's valuable for people to get a window into who you are. And so things like what's your favorite TED talk? You know, what inspired you? There's a little silly, it's a 20 second clip of Matt Damon and "We bought a zoo." And he talks about the 20 seconds of courage. And it's, you can Google it, but I have it on my Twitter account, too, because I just love it. So he had 20 seconds, really, and he's teaching his kids how to be courageous for 20 seconds. And, and so, you know, you could include a clip like that, you know, just things that, and your favorite books, your favorite business books, you know, maybe you've been following a venture capitalist, maybe you are in a startup, and you've been following a venture capitalist you admire, and you've read their blog. So if you have three or four sentences about it, and then have that link there, it just gives a little window into what you're thinking about, and how you think and what you value. And so I think it's really important, a lot of people don't do it. But I think it's a missed opportunity, because you can have the website, on your LinkedIn profile, you can have it on your Twitter, and so it's still amazing when lot of people don't have one, because there's so many easy DIY opportunities in order to build your own site.
Peter Axtell 18:16
I never would have thought about that, because you think about, okay, get your get your resume in order and get on Twitter and get on LinkedIn. But you're talking about a whole other thing that really represents your character, much more than just here's my LinkedIn profile and what you're up to. I think that's a brilliant idea.
Nicola Vetter 18:35
Especially I think, for people that are looking for what's next out there. If you can put yourself out there with kind of a calling card as a personal website, then that must be very inspiring for employees, potential employees that are looking for someone to hire.
Emily Clay 19:00
You mean employers or employees? Well, it differentiates yourself. And it's highly competitive out there. So if there's a choice between you and say you've listed five of your favorite books, business books, not you know, Harry Potter. But, you know, then maybe that person has read some of those books, you know, Ray Dalio's Principles, that's a big one for millennials. Well, so some of these things that you're writing about, might resonate with people, you know, or even that 20 minute clip that I told you about. They might think oh, that's so cool. I love that. I love that message. So it doesn't have to be some brilliant, you know, pros or loads of blogs included on it. You can just have your, you know, three or four sentences and why you love this video, or why you love this TED talk, or why you love this book, or the three takeaways from this book, and how it helped you. It's an opportunity to show another side of you, that's all.
Nicola Vetter 19:14
Emily Clay 19:17
And the benefit of having a website, instead of having it on LinkedIn is what? Oh, well, you can have the website listed on your LinkedIn. I mean, I think you should have both, LinkedIn and your own website. But no, the benefit is really, the website can reveal your personality more. LinkedIn isn't, yes, you can have videos posted on LinkedIn but that can be annoying, you know, as someone scrolling through, so I think you have to be careful with that. But unless you're really on message, and you keep it at 30 seconds, all of that, but if you have your own site, then you could put in a loom video about and kind of an overlay, and then have your opinions about this article. Hey, I wanted to say, you know, I dropped in this article, because this article really explains the longevity economy, you know, or whatever it is that you're passionate about. So yeah, I think there's so many opportunities for people to get creative in terms of putting themselves out there.
Nicola Vetter 21:32
Do people need to be concerned about keywords for SEO reasons and AI strategies, when they create their own website?
Emily Clay 21:43
I think it's always good to look into and to figure out, let's say for example, if you have a WordPress site, then there are a number of different plugins that can take care of, you know, different SEO strategies. And I think it's important to see how you can rise to the top, I mean, not just having people typing your exact name, but you can tag articles, there's all different things that you can do to kind of rise to the top. My site is in WordPress. So that's the one that I'm mainly familiar with.
Peter Axtell 22:25
You know, in one of your blog posts, you wrote about this Microsoft study on the great resignation, which seems everyone has heard of, and it cited three forces, the economic crisis, the changing generation, and the realization that people can have a different social contract. It was a fascinating article. And I'd like to dig deeper into each one of those and see how it applies to our audience of people who are trying to figure out what's next. So what about the economic crisis?
Emily Clay 23:02
You know, the economy is gonna go up and down. And if you're a certain age, you've seen and been through a couple of different things. Like, when I graduated from college, it was a down economy, and there weren't very many jobs. And so I moved to a bigger city. But there's, yes, you know, it's a massive challenge. But I also think that looking at things like, what are the different trends in terms of healthcare? What are the different trends in terms of the demographic shift? I mean, there's going to be more need for social gerontologists, for example, there's going to be more need for therapists, so people are going back to school to get their masters in psychology. So yes, it's a down economy, but there are also loads and loads of jobs that are badly needed out there. And even vocational, somebody brought up vocational work to me the other day, and it might not pay as much, but it's gonna pay more than working at a grocery store. And so you take, you know, these courses anywhere from six months to a year, and then you're certified and then you can give ultrasounds or you can, you know, so maybe you're making $40,000 to $50,000 a year, but that's a lot better than nothing. And it's one way to get your foot in the door. If you show the fortitude to get in the door by doing a certification then I think that can really help, that very specific certification to land a job, you know. And then what was the next piece you wanted to talk about?
Peter Axtell 24:56
The second one was the changing generation what you just touched on. And obviously this huge shift to the baby boomers, which has been going on now for, I don't know, three or four years. So let's also talk about the changing generation.
Emily Clay 25:11
Right. And so, you know, as it pertains to the economy, I mean, most of the articles I've read talk about how people are leaving the workforce to retire, that isn't necessarily the case. A lot of people have been shown the door at a certain age. And so that's a piece that is super unfortunate, but it is a trend that is happening. But I think that the more difficult it is to find good workers, I think that people who are enlightened and progressive, and know that your talents and skills don't end at 45, 50, 55, they don't just stop, you don't just wake up one day and go, Oh, my God, I don't know anything, Ah. And so I think those leaders and those people are catching on and going, oh, yeah, sure, we'll take a look. You know, we'll see about this person, so what if they're older. But the demographic shift is massive, people aren't having as many children. And that's been going on for a while. And so now it's coming to a head, where you know what, a lot of companies aren't going to have a choice, they're going to have to evolve if they want to progress and be successful, they're gonna have to take a look at these other candidates.
Peter Axtell 26:54
I like this point for our audience a lot. The idea of the only thing that I'm good for now is to go work at Whole Foods. No offense to people who work at Whole Foods, I love the people at Whole Foods. But the idea that it's all over for me, as opposed to No, wait a minute, what if I take a proactive step, and see, I'm kind of interested in let's say, healthcare, and I'm interested in psychology, or physical therapy, whatever, then I can actually go and do something to move myself forward, which of course, is creating a momentum and creates dignity, rather than just say, I just have to give up, you're taking some proactive action. I think it's a great idea.
Emily Clay 27:36
Yeah, I think every day, you have to wake up and have your own affirmation. And some people don't like that word or think it's too woowoo but I believe that if you are talking to yourself, and saying, I can only work for New Seasons, I can only do you know, or it's a grocery store in Portland, or I can only do this, then you go where your mind goes, and it isn't easy to combat those Gremlins on your shoulder going, Oh, my God, you're not good enough, or I've applied to 5 million jobs, and no one will take me. I just think it's time to dig deep and you know, people have certain words that they adhere to or they focus on in 2023. I'm a fan of that. I'm a big fan of that. I'm also a fan of rewriting your own story. So maybe it hasn't happened yet. But you do your future self. You talk about your future self, and go into detail about what that looks like. But there are all different kinds of creative ways to earn. And my friend Elizabeth White, she wrote 55, underemployed and faking normal, she went to Harvard, she went to Johns Hopkins, brilliant woman, she couldn't find a job. So she wrote this book kind of out of frustration. But she said, you know, Emily, people just need to get off their high horse. And so what she meant was one of her friends came to her and said, hey, you know, I have this job. And it involves, you know, organizing, and we got to really dig deep and you know, and it pays, you know, such and such whatever. Well, Elizabeth thought it was like organizing a community things like what President Obama had done. This one was talking about organizing a closet. And Elizabeth said, Well, I'm not doing that. You know, I mean, she has highly esteemed credentials, and has spoken in front of Congress and all kinds of things. And her friend said, Elizabeth, get off your high horse, you need this money. And so there's a little bit of element of that to get off your high horse. Yeah, you may have made 150, 160 or whatever. But it's going to be tougher now. And so figure out a creative way to make those, you know, work, maybe it's part vocational, and then maybe it's part, you know, doing something that you did in the past, but at, you know, a salary that maybe it wasn't what you had before. It's also a different day. I don't think salaries are going up right now, either. And so there's that to remember, as well, and to not take it personally.
Peter Axtell 30:53
Not take it personally.
Nicola Vetter 30:54
That's a good point. Now, I love the getting off the high horse. But for people who are looking for what's next, how can they prepare for the future of work that you've been writing about a lot as well, in order to stay relevant and informed? So we talked about a few examples. Do you have some more?
Emily Clay 31:20
I do. I think you know. For me, it was really diving in and being curious about about technology. And so if you would just replace fear with curiosity, and really dive in. So follow people on Twitter, they call it building in the open, where they talk about all the no-code tools that they use. So I follow a bunch of people who are not engineers, are not developers, software developers, they started their company with all of these different no-code tools. And so yes, you still have to learn the technology. But you don't have to be a developer in order to start something. But a lot of people don't know the term no-code. So one example of no-code is WordPress. Another one is Webflow. And one individual, he was a security guard at a building and he taught himself, in his downtime at work, he taught himself how to build websites using Webflow. Well, he's now developed an agency, and he earns 30 grand a month. So don't you think those kinds of things are interesting to know about? You know, I mean, there's a lot more opportunity out there than I think people realize, and yes, some of it is doing things on your own, taking the bull by the horns and doing things on your own. But if you know, the capability of some of these technology tools, you have the advantage of age, because you can bring a different lens to it. So for example, I was reading about an app. And it's for women who suffer in domestic violence situations, and the app disappears. So that the spouse can't find it on their phone. Now, I don't know how they do this. But I was looking at that and thinking about it in terms of a different use case. And I was talking to a friend about it. And thought, you know, this kind of thing could be, you know, white labeled and sold to like, this idea that I had that I don't want to talk about, but it could be sold to like law firms, or whatever. And they're like, did you just think of that? And I said, Well, yes, but it's because of all the reading I've done about these different tools is these new technologies that are available. And so I think it's an advantage to be the age that we are, but you really have to believe it. You have to believe because you can bring a different lens to something and go oh, god that disappears. Why couldn't we do X, Y and Z with this? You know, just replace fear with curiosity, and I've struggled with the fear, for sure, you know, but it's so rewarding when you can do crawl out of that and go, Oh, wow, okay, it's not that hard. I'm good. It's not that difficult.
Peter Axtell 35:08
It reminds me, we are very big on psychology, and there's this idea of state of being. And now people can't see this on the video right now. But when I'm looking at Emily, your state of being, you have this timeless quality to you, because you can just see what your presence is. And this is known in psychology that that is magnetic to people. It's not what are you doing? It's who are you being? How are you showing up? I can show up and be proactive, I'm going to do this, and I'm going to learn this, and I'm going to show up that has got to be magnetic. I don't have any case studies to give you right now. But there's got to be somebody walks in and say, that person, there's something about them that I'm attracted to, and I want to hire them.
Emily Clay 36:04
Yeah, I think a bunch of different things can help. You know, I know people don't want to hear it. But volunteering can help. Because then you create these allies, and then they have friends. And then they could say, Oh, my God, she's awesome. I want to hire, you know, this person. So And then also something that Dick Huey said, from the Akimbo workshop, he said, be intentional about the people you are around. So not just friends and family, but be intentional about if you want to be in this space in the longevity economy, Emily, you know, for example, you've got to go to the longevity conference at Stanford, and which I did, and you know, how I got there? It was a $500 ticket and my friend said, why don't you just ask him if you can volunteer? And I did. And they said, Yes. And so it was just the flight because I stayed at a friend's house. But these are creative patchwork things. And I met loads of heavy hitters in the longevity space. I was already connected to many of them. But it was so nice to have a face to a name. And to be kind of Oh, my God, there's Barbara Waxman, there's, you know, like all these people who are in the space. I didn't land any big job out of it but I've definitely landed additional relationships and friendships just by going to this. And so in that intentional piece, I really liked that, that resonated with me.
Nicola Vetter 37:56
And probably also, I would get some clarity.
Emily Clay 38:04
Yeah, in terms of, I mean, if you're passionate about something you have to, his point was, Are you going to be on the fringes, on the outside looking in? Or are you going to be there at the conference, introducing yourself, talking about these issues, talking about innovation in this space? You know, that's what I mean.
Nicola Vetter 38:30
Now, you, you also talk about strategic partnerships. And I'm wondering, this is more something for the business context, probably the companies that form strategic partnerships, but I believe that also individuals can form such strategic partnerships, for example, at a conference like that. How does that help people to move towards more clarity about their next career steps?
Emily Clay 39:04
Well, I think a couple of things, when you're meeting people looking at their LinkedIn. I'm on LinkedIn all the time and obsessed with where people went to school, what are they doing, where are they working? Are they working for someone? How did they get there? Do they have an online program? I can be a little bit of a nerd, but I think it's very individual, if you're passionate about something, and you see the writing on the wall in terms of the demographic shifts, and what kinds of things could be impacted in the future. I just think the more curious you are about it and talk to people, then they get excited too. And you can kind of gain more clarity by setting aside time to talk to some of these people, if that's what you need, if you need the clarity.
Peter Axtell 40:18
We have a friend who just retired and she was out of work during, whenever it was, and what she did, she went and volunteered, she showed up at all these various places and volunteered and showed up. And I met various people and learn all kinds of things as a result of her just showing up and say, I'll volunteer, I'll help, I'm not entitled, I'm not too proud to do that. And from that experience, she did it at three or four different places, it landed her to reach her goal to be an agile project manager. It's what she had always wanted to do. And the experience that she got volunteering was the steppingstone to be an agile project manager. And she just retired at 60. She went, bam, I'm gonna go for it. And it was kind of a wonderful success story. And she had a lot of good things to say about volunteering. It's a good idea.
Emily Clay 41:23
It's a good idea in terms of networking, it's a good idea in terms of combating loneliness, and expanding your friendships. And don't treat it as something that you can take, you know, as taking someone's contacts, or think of it as just giving, just give, see what happens, be kind, offer up ideas if they want them. You know, I tend to do that without asking. But you know, I think, just asking permission and being ready to roll up your sleeves. I love that. I think some people don't want to over commit, you know, and go, Oh, God, once a week, that's a long time. But think of the things that you might be able to learn from those people in that room. So there was a woman who I met, she was the first person I met at the Longevity Summit Conference, and she said that she was from Portland. And I said, so am I. And she said, Oh, I'm from Bridge Meadows. I said, Oh, I love Bridge Meadows. And she goes, Oh, my gosh, just the fact that you reacted that way just made my day. Well, Bridge Meadows is an intergenerational living situation, where they take foster kids and seniors, right, and then help each other out. And it's a community. And it's being adopted throughout the nation, it's being replicated throughout the nation. And I have worked in media locally. So I knew about Bridge Meadows, and the work that they were doing, and I knew that it was intergenerational, and that they were replicating it throughout the nation. So anyway, you know, now I can reach out to her and have a conversation and maybe get involved with them, maybe volunteer with them. So, it's being intentional about conferences, about where, where is you want to go in terms of, of your future self, and just embody that as much as possible in terms of the people that you want to be connected with.
Peter Axtell 43:51
You wrote about another thing called YOLO. I have to admit, I didn't know what YOLO meant. After I researched that, it means "you only live once." And you had three or four questions that you ask people with the idea of YOLO. Can we talk about that a little bit? One was if I don't do this, will I regret it?
Emily Clay 44:15
Yeah, that's a biggie. And that was a big, you know, regret. People were interviewed on their deathbed, and I can't recall the name, but I'll send it to you. Because I just wrote it down, like yesterday, anyway, and this regret, so if you say, okay, when I'm 70 or 80, am I going to look back and go, God, I had this chance. I had this chance to change my life. I had this chance to take a step forward and do this. Am I courageous enough? You know, can I figure out a way to make this massive change? And so, I read a ton have self-help and psychology, and a ton. I mean, one of my friends was like, Oh my God, you're like the self-help museum, what's happening? But I just like it, you know, there's one book that I really that I think I put in the email to you, Nicola, is Life Is in the Transitions, no matter what age by Bruce Feiler. And he talks about running towards it, run towards that challenge, run towards that. And don't think about the immediate possible chaos. Think about the outcome. Think about the outcome down the line. And what is it going to be like?
Peter Axtell 45:52
I love that. You also said one of the other ones, what's the worst thing that can happen?
Emily Clay 45:58
And I think we, you know, can catastrophize. And I think as people get older, they're not as willing to take a risk. And that's why I think it's important to do the opposite. It's important to do the opposite. And so what do I mean by that? I think, you know, a lot of people are going to live to 80, 90, 100 and if you're not happy, whether it's job or relationship or whatever, then what are you going to do to fix it? What are you going to do to move forward? What are you going to do to create something new and different? And really looking at what brings you joy? Really looking hard at what brings you joy? And you haven't maybe had those joy moments, you haven't had them in the last 20 years. If you haven't, you know, then refocus your energies on getting that joy back because life is short. And it's easier said than done. But we can do hard things. You can do really, really hard things. And that's what I was talking about earlier about making a future story about your future self. I call it: Future Me Flying, FMF.
Peter Axtell 47:41
Future me flying?
Emily Clay 47:44
Peter Axtell 47:44
Emily Clay 47:45
And so then I'm kind of hovering over a party. You know, maybe it's a milestone birthday, people are giving a toast, you know, maybe there's music playing in the backyard? Who are those people who you admire or respect and they admire and respect you? Who you know, and I'm getting down to every single detail. What does the house look like? What does a backyard look like? And I think all those things really help and help cement it. It helps rewire your brain. And then instead of daydreaming about it, daydreaming is great. But taking an action step every day. You don't have to be super scared every day, but you have to take an action step every day. Who did you reach out to on LinkedIn? What technology did you learn? Have you done the ChatGPT stuff yet? Have you figured that out? Because it's super interesting.
Peter Axtell 48:54
What is ChatGPT? Can you explain? You're ahead of me. I love technology, but you're ahead of me, Emily, what is GPT?
Emily Clay 49:03
It's an AI tool. And you can ask it questions, and it will come out with different answers. I haven't played around with it yet. But when you read about things like this, and when you see it and set aside half an hour or something because I'm telling you age is an advantage. You know, you could come up with some cool tool that, I don't know, if you play around with it, you can go, Oh, wow, this would be really cool in like, senior living homes and maybe people could ask a question about... I don't know. I just think age is an advantage when you get really curious about different technologies and different things that are coming down the pike in the future.
Nicola Vetter 49:52
That's wonderful. We have so many things that we touched on in this conversation and we're getting to an end now. So I would just like to let our audience know that everything will be in the show notes that we spoke about, and the books that you send me the titles. But I would like to know whether there's anything that we didn't touch on that you really want our audience to know.
Emily Clay 50:23
I think just listening to what excites you, like, you know, when you're telling a story, or when you're passionate about something, remember that, and then, you know, it's another thread into a window into what you might be able to do and make money at. I mean, one woman approached me, we became friends, but, you know, she just revealed that she didn't know anything about fashion. And I said, I hope you spend your money. But that was really rewarding for me to go, okay, here's what kinds of palettes do you like, you know, do like this look, this look, this look? But it made me excited to be able to help her, and so, just listening to that voice of what excites you, I think is super important. And what are you drawn to in terms of topics, or books, or magazines? What are you drawn to, all these things will come together. And then we talked about rewriting your own story. And then there's three questions that I would, ask yourself, am I happy in my life right now? Or am I just kind of dreaming about a different, new life? And then number two is, is there something I want to do that I haven't done? And then number three is, am I living someone else's dream, and not my own? So I think those are all really big, good questions to ask. And because I think people get into a rut, including myself, and then all of a sudden you go, Wait a minute, isn't there more? Isn't there something else? And then there's another resource that I learned about. And it's called Learn how to become.org. And it's really about how to make a career change and a pivot over the age of 50. And so those are the things that I would add.
Peter Axtell 52:51
I think that's a perfect place to end.
Nicola Vetter 52:54
So Emily, thank you so much for this insightful and stimulating conversation.
Emily Clay 53:02
Hey, welcome. Thank you guys. So much fun. That was great.
Peter Axtell 53:05
We hope you enjoyed this interview. The biggest takeaway for me was what a strategic advantage it is to have a simple, personal website that shows your interests, worldview, taste, and personality, it becomes a powerful calling card.
Nicola Vetter 53:23
And I love the three questions. Am I happy in my life right now or am I just dreaming? Am I living someone else's dream and not my own? And three, is there something I want to do and haven't done?
Peter Axtell 53:44
I can definitely say, there's a lot I still want to do. To learn more about Emily, head to WhatsNext.com/19, where we share the transcript links and more. Again, that's WhatsNext.com/19.
Nicola Vetter 54:09
And if you like what you've heard, share it with someone you care about. And subscribe, rate, and review our Inside-Out Career Design podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you'll never miss an episode. Thanks so much for joining us here today. We'll see you next week for another episode. Same time, same place.