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Forever Young

I’m one of the 500 or so people in the USA who go to the movies to see documentaries.

I saw a very interesting documentary the other day, Diana Vreeland, The Eye Has to Travel. It’s life the story of Diana Vreeland, the noted fashion columnist and editor. She was the fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar and the editor of Vogue for many years. After leaving Vogue she became the curator of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

I went to see this documentary with Cathy, my wife. It was only fair. She went with me to see The Other Dream Teama documentary about the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team.

I was glad I went with Cathy. Diana Vreeland lived an amazing life. And while I’m a grubby preppy, without a lot of interest in fashion, I must admit that I learned a lot.

At the end of the film, Ms. Vreeland mad a great point that applies to life and career success. I don’t have the exact quote, but it went something like this…

I will die young. I may be 70 or 80 or 90, but I will still be young.

I love this idea. Watch children, they attack everything they do with a sense of wonder and excitement. That’s because they’re young. The world is new and exciting.

As we get older, we can get jaded. Things that delighted us when we were children no longer have that special appeal. Diana Vreeland never got old. The film contains excerpts from a series of interviews she did with George Plimpton (who lived a pretty interesting life himself) for her memoir. The world was an exciting place for her. She found something new to appreciate every day.

That’s the common sense career success point here. Be childlike. Approach your work with a sense of wonder and excitement. Do what you can to keep your work life new and exciting.

Rich Illingworth was a good friend of mine for 30 years. He passed away last October. He was only 62. He was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer early last year – a diagnosis that almost always proves fatal.

Rich retired in 2009 after 38 years a Human Resources professional. Once he retired, he devoted his time to various charitable causes. He was busier than ever, approaching each new day with wonder and excitement.

After he was diagnosed, he continued to approach each day with wonder and excitement.

He took his family to Disney World. He posted Facebook photos of him and his wife Jan on a swing set. He was determined to get the most out of life in his limited time. He was childlike in his enthusiasm for life.

This was nothing new for Rich. He approached his career in the same way. He got the most out of it because he put the most into it. Mergers, acquisitions, new bosses – Rich saw all of these as an opportunity to learn, grow and contribute. No matter what happened, he was determined to do the best he could and enjoy the ride.

Rest in peace Rich. I, and a lot of other people, will miss you.

Take a lesson from Diana Vreeland and Rich Illingworth. Don’t just do the minimum required for your job. Approach it with a sense of wonder and excitement every day. Find ways to do new and interesting things. This will keep you young, allow you to become a top performer and create the life and career success you want and deserve.

You can find more common sense career advice like this in a webinar I did recently. I recorded it. You can find the replay at http://budurl.com/MCCWebinar/ Check it out and let me know what you think.

As always, thanks for reading my thoughts on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you. And, as Bob Dylan says, “May you stay forever young.”

The Other Dream Team

Bud Bilanich, Ed.D., is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.