John Donahoe is the CEO of Nike and previously held senior positions at eBay and the consulting firm Bain. He’s spent most of his professional life in jobs that require a lot of creativity and performance – something you don’t necessarily associate with older people.
In the Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast, the now 60-year-old now talks about his “journey of wisdom” that he made when he was 55. Back then, before joining Nike, Donahoe took a year off and met 50 people, many of whom were over 60. He asked her for her advice on how to stay young as he got older.
On the podcast, he shared some of these lessons that are said to have led to some kind of personal enlightenment for him. He said that one of his interlocutors advised that it was important and helpful to find something that you yourself consider to be useful and for which you want to take responsibility.
Attitude is everything
Furthermore, “the attitude is everything”, as Donahe said in the podcast, “As we get older, we get gray hair or hair falls out, our knees hurt or our back hurts – you can feel the signs of physical aging, so to speak. I feel it all. Yes, we all feel it. But our brains don’t necessarily get older. “
That is why it is advisable to spend more time with younger people in order to stay in touch with the younger generation and to be able to take some of their life energy with them. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that you have to go out to party again (unless you want to), but that you can come into contact with young people through coaching or voluntary work, for example.
According to Donahe, spending only time with older people also makes you old, which is why he likes to be with young people.
In addition, his interlocutor Jim Collins was particularly sure that your “fifties and sixties and, God willing, your seventies (…) are (should) be the most creative and productive years of your life.” He said, at that age you have already gained so much wisdom and experience that you then have the freedom to apply your knowledge wherever you want, without constantly making your work dependent on your ego or self-esteem.