The Ultimate Power Of Wisdom
I recently had the pleasure of getting to talk to the incredible Chip Conley, the American hotelier and New York Times bestselling author who helped grow AirBNB into the world’s leading hospitality brand.
In 2008 Chip collapsed while giving a speech and technically died 9 times on the way to hospital. After this life altering experience, he dramatically reshaped his life and sold the business that he founded at 26-years-old.
A few years later, he became the Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy at Airbnb, tasked with growing the business to more than one million hosts in 191 countries.
Now, Chip promotes the concept of the “Modern Elder”, with his latest book Wisdom at Work which teaches people how to become indispensable employees in the second half of their working life. Rather than a traditional “midlife crisis” his concept encourages middle aged people to embrace a “midlife marathon.”
Of course, your priorities will probably change, but as long as you continue to work toward adding value to the environment around you and sharing your wisdom with others, the second half of your life will be just a great as the first half.
No matter if you’re young or old, I know you’re going to enjoy my conversation with Chip!
Chip says, “wisdom is not like physics; it’s not something you teach, it’s something you share.” When he began working for AirBnb as the head of strategy, Chip realised he lacked the knowledge and experience needed to be a part of a tech company. He discovered he had to take a step back and reevaluate how he could not only mentor the millenials who brought him in to advise, but also learn from them to better himself.
This led to his creation of the idea of the “modern elder” which he explores in his book, Wisdom at Work. A “modern elder” is a person of great value to a company and is someone who can provide both the wisdom and the guidance that members of younger generations may need in order to become successful.
Being a “modern elder” is more about being relevant than being revered. You have to be able to take your wisdom and give it context. Rather than taking on a parental or preacher role in the life of a young person, where you do more lecturing and soapboxing than anything else, you should strive to be a mentor who asks more questions than gives answers. Let curiosity guide the path of mentorship so you are able to open up endless possibilities for those around you.
A common misconception that Chip strives to correct is that mentorship is a one way street with the mentor only teaching the mentee. Chip believes that the future of mentorship will be based on creating mutual mentorship across generations.
We are facing a new workforce with five generations of people at the same companies. This is the first time this is happening and we have to figure out how wisdom can be shared between people of all ages within a company.
This requires a bit of a reality check for both the younger and the older members of society. No longer are we living in a world where the older generation necessarily knows more than the younger ones. At the same time, there is so much the younger generations need to learn from the older ones. If we can accept that no single generation has more wisdom than another, then we will be able to confront situations where everyone is able to learn and grow.
The most important thing that is required in a mutual mentorship is being passionately engaged and curious. If you consider yourself a mentor and think that you will only be teaching, then you probably aren’t listening for clues of things that you can learn.
Identifying Wisdom In A Mentor/Mentee
Chip advises that young people who are looking for a wiser, older, mentors should seek out those who are curious, because then the mentee may be able to teach them something as well.
A potential mentor, on the other hand, needs to ask him or herself, “what will serve this person I am mentoring?”
Is the mentee looking for a knowledge transfer?
In which case the relationship is usually finite and involves mostly questions from the mentee and answers from the mentor.
Are they looking for development awareness? This is where the mentor helps the mentee discover who they are and what skills they have. This often involves the mentor asking the mentee questions in order to help them see what they have within themselves. This kind of relationship takes a lot of time.
Regardless of the type of wisdom you are seeking in a mentorship situation, the best mentorships are always the ones that are mutual because both members can continue to share their wisdom and help the other grow for many years.
Using Wisdom To Edit Your Life
Once you reach the midpoint in your life you have to be willing and able to “edit” the things out of your life that are no longer serving you. Take the time to reflect and ask yourself, “what were my expectations for where I wanted to be, and what is my reality?” This is obviously an extremely tough question but it’s incredibly important.
If you are able to answer this question honestly, you will be able to leave behind the things you don’t need so you can find new things that will help fulfill your next level of happiness for the remainder of your life.
You always have more wisdom to gain and more wisdom to share.
Let’s start today!
How can you begin to share your wisdom with those around you and how can you allow others to increase your wisdom?
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored