A few weeks ago I attended an Ed Sheeran concert.
If you don’t know who he is, and you are over 50 years old, you are not alone (as I found out before, during and after the concert).
At 60, I was in the top 1% of the oldest people there…which was awesome.
I love his music, his demeanor and despite my daughter thinking it was a bit silly that I was attending, I could tell she was super jealous too.
And I’ll believe whether it’s true or not, that she gave me a few points for being just a little cool.
The show was great and I highly recommend you check him out if you get an opportunity to see him live.
Now that doesn’t mean I am sending you an affiliate link or anything to attend his next show.
Believe me, Ed Sheeran doesn’t need me to sell tickets for him…he’s doing just fine, thank you.
I just need to tell you this story.
I don’t know about you but I hear too often for my taste people making excuses for young entrepreneurs and less experienced business leaders not “getting it” as it pertains to acknowledging and compensating people properly who have helped them achieve great success in very short period s of time.
Those who want to give the benefit of the doubt in these cases, use as the excuse:
“They are young and just don’t get it yet.”
I learned at that concert that age has nothing to do with “getting it.”
Ed Sheeran is 27 years old and he gave me a new perspective on the relationship between age and wisdom.
The warmup band for Ed (I’m so cool I am on a first name basis with him) was Snow Patrol—I’ve heard of them before, I have a couple of songs from them on my iPod and my wife and I were excited when they were announced.
Near the end of their set, they thanked everyone for supporting them in their career which we learned spanned 25 years.
Did you know Snow Patrol had been around that long? I didn’t.
And then they thanked Ed Sheeran profusely for having them on tour with him.
Interesting…the star of the show was 2 years old, mainly eating and pooping, when his backup act was already rocking and rolling.
Shortly after Snow Patrol was done, Ed Sheeran appeared, with amazing energy, as he leaped on to the stage, playing non-stop music for 2 hours.
At some point during his set he paused to mention that when he was “young” (I guess like 5 years ago when he was 22?), it was Snow Patrol that took him on tour with them when he was more of a nobody and just starting out.
I heard similar gratefulness in his voice, to what I heard from Snow Patrol’s lead singer.
I also heard a 27 year old who “gets it.”
That he understood at such a young age that you have to be on the shoulders of giants to get so far (and so fast!) was refreshing. And he also understood that there are countless ways to sincerely reciprocate along the way.
I don’t know if Sheeran is a great guy or not…he didn’t tell me…but what he showed with his actions said something that could never be expressed with words.
Through his behavior it was clear how much he understood gratefulness and appreciation and that he also knows that acknowledgement of others is part of the success formula…and that formula is not just for rock stars.
I left the show thinking about how painful it’s been to write the acknowledgments section of my new book—not painful because of the love and support I’ve gotten throughout my career from so many people–but painful because when I hand in the final manuscript, I fear I may forget to mention someone significant.
Ed has it easy right now—he’s only had 27 years of accumulated support and wisdom contributing to his success—but his life will get much more complicated assuming he lives the rest of his life with the philosophy of never forgetting how he got there (wherever he ends up getting to).
His relationship capital account will far exceed his bank account by a wide margin if he keeps playing the game this way.
I wish him well and will follow him for so many reasons…two in particular:
I want him to keep making great music that I know millions will enjoy and I also want to see how he keeps paying it forward.
And I now have a different appreciation for Snow Patrol, a group I liked and now a group I will love and respect forever–and I don’t care if they ever record another song in the future.
Again, they didn’t tell me what great guys they are either but what they showed to the audience by being there and playing full out (and hopefully it was sincere), was a brand of humility and grace we can all emulate.
So thanks for allowing me to do some“thinking out loud” on this topic (pun intended if you know Ed Sheeran’s music)…click on that link and let me know if you think Ed is the bomb (like my daughter does).
I know 50,000 people at Met Life Stadium thought he was just “perfect”…and I know Snow Patrol was content to keep “chasing Ed Sheeran” even while they are also“chasing cars.” (You know who they are now, right?)
P.S. You didn’t expect rock videos this Sunday morning did you?
Hope you clicked on the music of Ed Sherran and Snow Patrol above (and that you didn’t wake up anyone in your house).
The other thing I couldn’t help think about given this multi-generational kinship talked about above was something I said in a previous post which I sent on my 60thbirthday and titled it, “Too many of my mentors are dead”. I re-wrote an excerpt here in the context of today’s post above:
My mentor, Marty Edelston, often said to me, in order to be sure that I had the right idea about aging:
“I love getting older since it means I am only getting smarter.”
And if he was still alive today, he would once again explain the difference to me between “60 years of experience” vs. “one year of experience for 60 years.”
What that means:
Knowledge and wisdom are cumulative assuming you are a lifelong learner.
Marty was a lifelong learner and he taught me to think that way too, which at its core means always having insatiable curiosity, always hanging out with people smarter (and often older) than yourself and never letting your ego get in the way of learning.
And it’s OK to gain wisdom from those who are younger than you too.
While there are prodigies who can make huge differences for thousands by the time they attend their first prom (or even if they are a “late bloomer” like Ed Sherran at 27!), most mortals like you and I need some age (and wisdom) to get there…and not just doing the same thing year after year.
I am often the oldest person (by chronological age) in many of the rooms I hang out in these days (and even sometimes in a large football stadium too).
However, in those rooms I am usually hanging out with some of the most phenomenal marketers in the world—which is something I am proud of and I no longer make jokes about everyone in the room being young enough to be one of my kids.
A better perspective: I am getting my Ph.D. in areas of marketing from others who may not have put in the hours or years (yet)… but they have achieved expertise way beyond what I know in their short time on earth about one thing or many things.
Maybe Snow Patrol will let me join their band? 🙂