Staying Relevant in a Fast Changing World

As a member of the boomer generation, I sometimes feel like the generations behind me are running so fast – changing the world so quickly – that I feel in danger of getting run over and becoming irrelevant.

At the same time, I have always been a person who likes to move to the beat of my own drummer – not overly concerned with the latest fad – but committed to accomplishing my life’s work in the best way for me.

The challenge is that there are so many new ways to accomplish any task that it is easy to get lost in all the choices.  How is a small business owner supposed to weed through it all?  Recognize a trend from a fad?  When to jump on the Facebook train and when to  Unfriend the world?  The speed at which products and services are created is astounding and the speed at which they are overtaken by the next big thing is even more so. MySpace anyone?

The only answer I really know is that the answers to these questions are different for each person but, here are 3 activities that help keep me in the loop of what is happening so I and my business can stay relevant in a fast changing world.

1 – I subscribe to a feed from TrendWatching which puts out a monthly report on major trends and a forecast for the coming year.  I don’t have to follow every trend but having an awareness of them helps me and lets me help my clients recognize if a trend represents a shift or change they need to make.

2 – I subscribe to a feed from TED – Ideas Worth Spreading.  These videos – roughly 15 minutes – help build awareness of what kind of research, thinking, new ideas and explanations of the changes that are taking place in our world or need to be taking place in our world.

3 – I use a Google homepage to bring in headlines from a variety of sources like science, technology, business because even just scanning the headlines – no article reading necessary – builds awareness about what is happening in areas that are not a part of my life but that can impact my life or at least the world and I can do it,just by scanning the article titles.  I only open and read the ones that intrigue me.

These three activities that fill maybe 15 – 30 minutes of most days is my way of subscribing to the idea that if you see it coming you can get on board or get out of the way but you can’t be mowed down.  This building of future awareness – paying attention to what is coming – is the next best thing to foresight –  the ability to see the pattern of what will be coming before it actually gets rolling.

It is my small way of making sure I can stay relevant – in my own way of course – in a fast changing world.  Do you have a strategy?

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