• Paul Gordon & Janine Robertson

Is 2020 the year of bold actions?

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

I like to do bold things.

Writing a book about attitudes to money was bold on my part as I am clearly a Spender so what would I know?

Co authoring a book with my Defender mate Janine was also bold. How could we possibly make it work? Fast forward to today and the book has received great feedback and both Janine and I have realised that it was our different attitudes (polar opposites more likely) that made the book work so well. A Spender and a Defender collaborating ended up creating some great insights.

As you will find out if you read our blogs, I have developed some great Defender behaviours that makes me a Spender with a touch of Defender.  I actually believe this is the most delightful of money attitudes.  A blend of enjoying the spend but doing it using my ‘value lens’.

In December I decided to take another bold step.  

I contacted the guy who helped build Air BnB to it's current lofty heights and also ran a business that at time of sale was the largest boutique hotel group in the US. His name is Chip Conley and he is now the proud founder of Modern Elder Academy  ( This guy is a living legend, so why would he give me any of his precious time? Well, the answer is that we connected because of a common belief that as we reach our mid life we need to rewire ourselves.  We need to realise that 50 is half time in our life not three quarter time (as it has been positioned for many years).  If we are half way through our life, what do we do for the second half?   If you feel like you don’t have a plan for your second half I strongly encourage you to check out his website.  It is unique and powerful. All these questions fascinate me and also fascinate Chip.  His Modern Elder Academy addresses mid career, mid life and wisdom like no other. I had to meet him.  

Long story short is that I reached out to him, he generously responded and then he invited me to take a look at his academy.  So in December 2019 I re-routed a planned holiday and headed to Baja, Mexico, to be a guest of this amazing bloke. It was his holiday time with his family and friends so I felt like I may be an intruder but was made welcome immediately.  He had a fair few people staying over including former colleagues from his boutique hotel business, interesting people from hospitality, media and the world at large plus his parents and family.  It was such a great group. Chip and I spent some time chatting.  I felt I was in the presence of someone who is ‘next level’.  He does a daily blog ‘Wisdom Well’ and last week he recalled our chat for his blog.This was his post:

Worst Day, Best Day.

In Australian Aboriginal society, a “walkabout” is a rite of passage during which male adolescents undergo life in the wilderness for a period as long as six months. The journey marks the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood. Nowadays, Australians have co-opted the word to describe their journeys around the globe. We’ve been fortunate to have many Modern Elder Aussies do a walkabout to Baja. Most recently, it was Paul Gordon ( who came for a couple of days just to learn more about MEA (as it was when we didn’t have a workshop), while he was mixing wisdom and wanderlust on multiple continents. On our ramble down the beach, I learned a few things from him, including the fact that your worst day at work could end up being your best day. Maybe even a golden opportunity. In his mid-40’s, Paul was “retrenched” (aka, made redundant) in corporate Australia. At the time, a wise offboarding expert posed a surprising exercise for him. Rather than suggest he make a list of ideal next career paths, she asked him to make a list of what he didn’t want to do again. In other words, she asked him to create a career editing filter to tap into his accumulated wisdom. Academics call this “environmental mastery,” the ability to know where to “repot” oneself in the right habitat, a quality we get better at with age. Today, Paul says his worst day is now an endless series of best days because he took that advice and avoided the things that no longer served him. How could you become a better midlife editor—turning your worst days into your best days? - Chip

You can see Chip's other posts at Wisdom Well's website.

Apart from feeling honoured to be included in his blog I was also delighted with how he positioned our chat and what he learned from ME. So here is what I learned from Chip.

Incredibly generous with his time.   I have observed that the best Leaders do this naturally.  I am now actively sharing this insight with Leaders I know and it is amazing how powerful this is received by them. Chip knows his passion and lives it authentically.   He has combined his three passions.   Hospitality, writing and teaching.   A great lesson on knowing your passion and making it your life. Wisdom has currency and needs to be shared across generations however you must understand how to be a reverse mentor.  Give and receive wisdom.  Reciprocity of Wisdom is so effective - a mentor and an intern wrapped into one. Mid career does not have an age.  It is a time in our lives. I would love to co create a spenditude component to the Modern Elder Academy curriculum.   We discussed how attitudes to money can restrict changing attitudes to life and career.

The end (or is it just the beginning)?

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