While many individuals are counting down the clock to "retirement", Bennett is just getting started (also the title of one of his books). Besides being a favorite singer of mine, I'm a fan of Bennett becomes he's an example of age just being a representation for how long you've been on this Earth.
With a career that spans decades, Bennett offers three critical lessons to entrepreneurs.
1. Hold out for quality.
Bennett's mother was a dressmaker who had to raise three children on her own after Bennett's father died when he was 10 years old. To make extra income, she brought work home, but would get upset at times about the dress she was working on because she had a rule to "not work on a bad dress."
What does refusing to work on a bad dress have to do with entrepreneurial success? Everything.
In today's success-on-demand culture, delaying gratification and holding out for quality in order to produce something enduring is rare. Patience has been removed from the dictionary and consciousness of our culture (I'm guilty at times as well).
But, if you look at any world-class artist, you'll see that quality and staying true to who they were was a big part of their long-term success. Bennett avoided making novelty songs that were in at the time and choose to stick to music that was timeless to maintain his sanity and integrity.
As he stated in an interview, "Stick with quality and every career will have its ups and downs, but if you stay with quality then you will have a long career."
Obstacles and rough moments will inevitably arise to test your identity and principles. Will you stick it out and endure? Or, will you give in to whatever trend will arise? To help answer this question, create some guiding principles for your company and work. This will help make your decision process seamless.
2. Have at least two creative endeavors to feed off each other.
Not only is Bennett a singer, but he's also a painter who has paintings in the Smithsonian Institute. Bennett began to give painting more attention after Duke Ellington (who also has multiple creative endeavors and hobbies) recommend this to Bennett.
Having multiple outlets to feed into each other is beneficial since the likelihood of burnout and boredom increases as the years accumulate. However, when you have another outlet, you can leave the one you feel burned out on and restore your energy from the other endeavor.
If you're a writer, perhaps take up drawing or even dancing to channel a different pathway of perspective to bring back to your main outlet.
3. Surround yourself with people who seemingly don't match.
Bennett has collaborated with individuals such as Amy Winehouse and John Mayer while making albums with Lady Gaga despite a 60 year age gap.
While good music comes out of these collaborations, spending time with younger people keeps Bennett young and current instead of lamenting in the past. This is a core skill set for continual reinvention and staying relevant.
As entrepreneurs, to accomplish this same feat, spend ample amounts of time with people outside of your industry. Being in the health industry, talking about sleep and epigenetics is exciting, but only surrounding myself with other health professionals would become boring plus box in my creative potential.
Therefore I make it an effort to hang out in circles with artists from all walks of life among other professions on a regular basis so I can bring a fresh perspective and way of communicating into my work to deliver a better experience. A simple way to get this habit started is to look at some upcoming events in your city and go to one that has no surface level relation to your main profession.
As Bennett is demonstrating, adopting a growth mindset is the key element in lasting career success and fulfillment.