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Age is Just A Number-Be forever young in business

Age is Just A Number-Be forever young in business
December 17, 2009 Ignacio Fiallos

It’s the end of Week 2 of the Tiger scandal and with the tally up to 14 mistresses I, for one, am over it.  Instead I’d like to focus our attention on someone I found surprisingly inspiring this week:  Karl Lagerfeld.  Yep, the brilliant pony-tailed visionary behind Chanel, Fendi and the eponymous Karl Lagerfeld line.

I netflixed Rodolphe Marconi’s 2007 documentary, “Lagerfeld Confidential” expecting fun fashion fluff and instead got a solid dose of art, philosophy and a quality coaching session on staying young by staying relevant.  Lagerfeld, who is in his 70’s — with no sign of slowing down — is ageless.  Like the much-adored Julia Child, Lagerfeld has found his greatest professional success since turning 50.  I had the pleasure of meeting him when I worked on the VH1 Fashion Awards about a decade ago and I can attest to his dynamic, if intimidating presence.  It was back in his fan fluttering days and what impressed me most was watching him simulataneously carry on 5 different conversations in 5 different languages without ever missing a beat.  This guy’s brain is revved.  Lagerfeld is focused and he is present.  In the documentary he discusses at length the importance of being of the moment which is the essence of fashion but one can also say it’s about living in your times which is to stay not being stuck in the past.

Key Lagerfeldian points:

Welcome New Challenges. As we get older, many of us shrink from challenging ourselves.   It can be scary and exhausting but learning new skills or employing our skills in new ways are important ways of exercising our brains.   In 1987, out of necessity Lagerfeld picked up a camera for the first time and shot a Chanel ad.  He’s been shooting the ads and commercials ever since.

Embrace Technology. Or at least keep up with it.  This is a big one depending on your age.   And it’s not just about gadgets but how we interface with technology.   There was a great piece in the New York times recently about Anne Sweeney, president of ABC/Disney television insisting her daughter take a television to college and her daughter pushing back saying, “why? I watch everything on Hulu.”  Pow!  Missing the boat on technology has devastated the music and publishing businesses.   It’s coming at us from all sides — don’t let fear of the new keep you out of the game.

Rethrottle to go Full Throttle. Lagerfeld says it more than once in the documentary — he needs time alone to rest, regenerate and think.  He couldn’t function let alone create on such a massive scale if he didn’t.

Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a motivational speaker, business keynote speaker and sales training speaker. To see more about going Full throttle in your sales, business and life, go to and see his new book, Full Throttle on


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