To Wear Out or Rust Out?

About this time every year for at least the past three or four presidential election cycles, I have challenged my clients to run their own “presidential campaign.”

By that I mean to set a very high goal to achieve by election day, Tuesday November 3, 2020. I want you to be celebrating something big of your own at the same moment the winner of the election is celebrating on stage.

More importantly, I want you to commit to working as hard as those presidential candidates are committed to working…and it’s a quite unbelievable pace. You will see them sometimes hold five or more events in a single day, often in different cities.

You’ll see them working long into the night. They want something really badly and will push themselves to the limit of exhaustion to get it.

What is that for you?

How Old Will You Be?

For this presidential cycle, I’m struck by another factor than mere work ethic: age! Many of the key presidential contenders are old, or at least what has long been considered old. Here are the ages of some candidates and how old they will be at the end of their term, should they stay in office as long as possible:

  • Donald Trump (73 now, 78 upon leaving office after a second term…assuming he actually leaves!)
  • Joe Biden (77 now, 86 upon leaving after a second term)
  • Michael Bloomberg (77 now, 86 upon leaving after a second term)
  • Elizabeth Warren (70 now, 79 upon leaving after a second term)

As you may know, I’ve been working with a small group of Edge members called the “Transitions Group.” These designers have built successful firms and, now in their late 50s or 60s…or even touching 70, they are wondering how to find the exit yet keep the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed.

In the group, we talk about things like selling a business to employees, merging with another, firm, selling to a third party, downsizing, and more.

But as I think about these presidential candidates and their energy and their ambition…and their age!…I’m thinking of one more exit strategy—DON’T! Just keep going! Don’t ever think of yourself as old or needing to “slow down.”

Or as the old maxim says, maybe it truly is better to wear out than to rust out. Think about it…

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