10 Steps for Staying Relevant

Staying Relevant in you art and your business is important for you to think about in the fast paced world we live in today. When you and your work are relevant, you put yourself in a position to benefit and stay ahead of those who are not paying attention. 


Staying Relevant

If you think about what is relevant today in your world, and compare it to what isn’t, you will start to see the benefit of at least considering trying to keep up with new methods and technology in your field, and in your day to day life.

Just think about the typewriter. It used to be relevant. Do you have, need, use, or want one? Why have a typewriter when you can have a computer, right? Don’t be a typewriter. Let’s take something I know about very well. Years ago sign painters (myself included) would get out their brushes and paints and hand letter trucks, boats, vans, walls, windows, everything. Today that seems like such a slow and archaic way of making signs, when nearly everyone is using computers and vinyls, and wraps to do the same thing. It’s faster, it’s better, and there’s no drying time.  

How about old buildings, and cars and such. I like them. They have there own style, character, and intrigue. They were possibly even relevant in their time. But, in almost every case, they’re not as great as what could be done today. I’ve heard an auto executive say that the worst car built today is better than the best car built ten years ago.  New materials, technology, and areodynamics, to name a few, are just better. The automakers have to keep pushing the envelope to stay relevant and survive, much less thrive.

Look at professional baseball. I don’t just like baseball, I love baseball. Is it really the national pastime anymore? I say no way. The world is moving fast, people want and expect everything fast, and baseball is a slow game. Baseball is not as relevant as it once was. The numbers of viewers watching baseball on the tube are not nearly what they once were, while at the same time, the NFL is getting TV ratings that are huge. Television ratings are not the only thing that makes one thing more relevant than another, but if one show is getting 30 million viewers, and another show is getting 3 million, who would be more relevant?

What does Staying Relevant mean to you? 

What does staying relevant actually mean to you? I think it means that you are continuing to improve your craft and your reason for doing what you do. You are informed. You are aware of new products and concepts that are available to you in your field, whether you decide to use them or not. On top of earning a good reputation, you look for ways to increase your reputation and your visibility. You have your own style. You speak with authority out of knowledge and experience. Other people believe you to relevant and be of value and they tell others, through  media or word of mouth. 

Staying relevant does not mean you try every new widget and mouse trap that comes down the pike, but you give promising ones some thought. Your relevance does not have to include spending countless hours on dozens of social media sites, committees, clubs, boards, magazine subscriptions and the like. Some, yes of course, but you have to self filter out some of the crap, and get good at ignoring the unimportant, so you have plenty of time to focus on what is actually relevant to you and your life. Not every thing new is good, and just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Below is a list of things for you to consider when it comes to you being relevant in your art, your business, and your self.

Tips on Staying Relevant

    1. Evolve. Keep educating yourself. Reading, classes, workshops, asking questions of other people who know something you don’t. Self education  and personal development are life long pursuits, you are never too old to learn something new.

    2. Get familiar with some technology. Study up on it yourself, or get some one smart to tell you about what’s going on. You don’t have to be a wizard, but you need to know some things. If you get to know  a little about technology, you might like it.You will be able to benefit from it and possibly gain an edge over others because they haven’t taken the time to inform themselves. You might also find that it makes your life a whole lot more productive and easier.
    3. Learn to adapt to change around you. It’s a fast movin’ world we live in, and it ain’t slowin’ down. Keep up or get kicked to the curb. There will be small changes from time to time, they are not so tough. The major ones are the ones that can make or break you. Technology, the economy, trends, be aware and know your market.  
    4. Pay attention to your health. You can’t do a damn thing when your sick in bed. You don’t have to do the iron man, but watch the wait, get your heart rate up frequently, skip the cake once in a while.
    5. Be informed about what’s going on around you. Your town, your country, your government, your customers, your neighbors. Be inquisitive and well informed not only in your chosen profession, but in your community. Your clients, customers, collectors and everyone else you come into contact continuously are a part of your network. Utilize them to further your network connections, your influence, and your knowledge. If you need a little help talking with people,  use the form technique, it’s easy and it’s fun.
    6. Engage people who are younger than you are. Talk to them, especially if they impress you. Contrary to what a lot of people tell me, not all young people are lazy and careless. Some are very impressive. They can be quite interesting and in tune with things you might not even be aware of. It is quite possible to be motivated and even inspired by young people who have their act together.

    7. Gain knowledge from older people who have been successful and still have their wits about them. I have learned so much by listening to older, successful people I have met. Experience does count for something. Many times they have been through some of the same things I have, sometimes not. They look at things differently because of a different time frame and life experience.

    8. Crystallize your own vision. Feed it. Refine it. Dream it. Work at it. Keep the focus on what you are attempting to accomplish. Take time to plan, and give thought to staying relevant through your whole career and your entire life, not just the moment.

    9. Live forward, through the windshield, not through the rear view mirror. That award you got for being Mr. All America three years ago might have been a big deal then, but does it feed you today? Are your creations from five years ago as important as what your going to create tomorrow, and next year? Your getting better right? Yesteryear was just practice for today, live forward.

    10. Don’t think you know everything. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. Even if you know a lot, there’s room to know more. It never ceases to amaze me how the least talented are the most full of themselves, generally speaking. It blows my mind. You can have a great influence not only through your work, but by being a mentor or by teaching what you know to others. Should you turn out to be even a decent teacher/mentor, the people you help will become some of your biggest fans, and in doing so, they will tell others about you, which will help to keep you relevant in the process.

Staying Relevant

Just to wrap it up, you don’t stay relevant without some trying. Stay true to who you are, but don’t let that big old world pass you by without giving yourself a fighting chance. Strive to be and stay relevant, Don’t be a typewriter.

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