Chip Conley | Embracing Your Modern Elder: Why the Best Careers are Built with Age and Wisdom

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Chip Conley | Embracing Your Modern Elder: Why the Best Careers are Built with Age and Wisdom

Chip Conley

Posted on October 22, 2019

Listen to the episode:

Chip Conley doesn’t believe that modern business success is best kept for the young. In fact, this New York Times bestselling author, Airbnb Strategic Advisor and boutique hotel entrepreneur learned that with experience comes wisdom, which doesn’t mean you have all the answers . . . in fact, it means you have more questions than answers. 

Inspired by what he learned while serving as Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy in his mid-50s, Chip wrote his “manifesto on ageism,” Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder. To combat the stigma against older workers in an increasingly Millennial world, Chip proves that generational diversity is the key to creating strong organizations.

But this episode is packed full with more than just age-related insights. We also dig into his young entrepreneurial success with Joie de Vivre Hospitality, philosophies on mindfulness and meditation, near-death experiences, longtime work with Burning Man, and SO much more. 

In this episode of the donothing podcast, you’ll learn:

  • Why ageism is so prevalent in today’s workforce
  • What those in midlife and beyond offer that younger employees can’t
  • Why aging is underrated, especially while in the workforce
  • How employees at different life stages can learn from each other
  • What the Modern Elder Academy is
  • How longer lifespans and new technology inspired the Modern Elder Academy
  • Why replacing fear with curiosity can alter many perspectives
  • When Chip became inspired to write about workers in their midlife
  • How Chip started his successful hotelier career
  • Why trusting his intuition helped Chip make the smart decisions
  • When Chip started working for Airbnb
  • Why Chip greatly admires Airbnb’s leadership
  • Chip’s amazing advice on meditation and breathing techniques
  • Why Chip advocates mindfulness and meditation
  • Why Chip regularly fasts and does cleanses
  • Chip’s experience as a long-time Burning Man board member 
  • What makes the Burning Man community so unique
  • Why the board made Burning Man a nonprofit 
  • How an “anarchistic organization” like Burning Man is so well-organized
  • Chip’s near-death experience that made him reconsider his current path
  • What Chip saw on “the other side” when he was flatlining 
  • What health benefits Chip’s experienced since beginning to fast
  • How Chip discovered he had prostate cancer
  • What action Chip immediately took to fight his diagnosis
  • Why Chip considers cancer his teacher—and what has he learned

Connect With Chip Conley






Watch Chip Speak Live at TED Salon

“For the first time ever, we have five generations in the workplace at the same time,” says entrepreneur Chip Conley. What would happen if we were intentional about how we all work together? 


In this talk, Chip shows how age diversity makes companies stronger and calls for different generations to mentor each other at work, with wisdom flowing from old to young and young to old alike.


Buy Chip Conley’s Book, Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder

“Part manifesto and part playbook, Wisdom@Work ignites an urgent conversation about ageism in the workplace, calling on us to treat age as we would any other type of diversity. 


“In the process, Conley liberates the term “elder” from the stigma of “elderly,” and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path to growing whole, not old. Whether you’ve been forced to make a mid-career change, are choosing to work past retirement age, or are struggling to keep up with the millennials rising up the ranks, Wisdom@Work will help you write your next chapter.”


About the Modern Elder Academy

“The Modern Elder Academy (MEA) is the world’s first midlife wisdom school providing 5- and 7-day all-inclusive workshops at our awe-inspiring beachfront campus in the heart of Baja California Sur, Mexico. 


The unique curriculum includes classroom learning as well as bread baking and breaking, impromptu dance parties, cultural experiences, morning meditations, and surreal sunsets. The experience supports our attendees (“compadres,” whose average age is 52) as they navigate this midlife journey and reframe a lifetime of experience.”


Chip’s Recommended Resources

Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, by Kelly Turner, Ph.D.


The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, by Steven Covey


Awake in the Wild, by Mark Colman


About Burning Man


About the Optimum Health Institute


Follow Rob Dube on Social Media







Register Now for the Most Rewarding Leadership Challenge of your Life!

You’ve likely heard about the benefits of integrating mindfulness into your life and leadership. But where do you even begin? Or, how can you take your current mindfulness practice to the next level?

No matter where you are on your journey, the 2020 donothing Leadership Retreat was designed for you! Join me and other like-minded leaders as we get out of our comfort zones and focus on becoming the best leaders we can be.

Together, we’ll grow in ways never imagined through powerful teachings, mindfulness trainings, and undistracted time for real reflection and rejuvenation.


Rob Dube’s Website  


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