5 disciplines for staying relevant in any industry

“I’m not relevant anymore.”

My friend’s words rang in my ears over a cup of coffee. He’s spent fifteen years in his industry, works in a very prestigious role, and by all appearances looks like he’s positioned well for the next ten years. On the inside though, he knows he’s behind the Bell curve.

5 disciplines for staying relevant in any industry - writetojoncook

So, we wound the clock back. Becoming irrelevant doesn’t happen overnight. The good thing is that it’s not a death sentence for anyone: you can be relevant with a few key decisions each day. There are five disciplines that can help you stay relevant in any industry, no matter your age or background.


The old adage is true: leaders are readers. The average CEO reads five books per month. (Refresh Leadership) Reading feeds your mind, heart, and soul with fresh insight and challenges your perspective. Don’t just read what you think you might like. You need to read a variety of content from a range of voices, especially ones with whom you know you don’t see eye-to-eye, to stay relevant.

Ask better questions

Everyone ask questions, but not many people ask good questions or the right questions. The next time you have a question about a process or a person, pause first… and then think of either a better way to ask the same question or consider if there’s a better question to ask. Asking better questions will get better results. The goal in asking better questions is to create better thought, richer discussion, and more productive results.

Learn a new skill from a young person

The average age of a U.S. small business owner is 50 years old. (Experian) Facebook launched over ten years ago. Twitter launched almost ten years ago next March. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful platforms for leveraging your business future.

And yet, so many entrepreneurs and business professionals are still disconnected from social media. Learning a new skill, like how to use LinkedIn, the difference between Google Drive and Google Docs, and even how email marketing works are all valuable skills. Social media will change. Technology is always evolving.

One of the best ways to stay relevant is learning new skills from a young person, like how to use Periscope effectively. I’m only thirty years old, but I’m already looking to college students for what I can learn from them. The day we stop learning is the day we die.

Connect with new people in your industry

Want to stay relevant in your industry? Meet new people. Go to networking events. Ask others in your industry who they think you should meet. Ask them why they thought of that person. And then, buy that person a cup of coffee or a beer, whichever works for you. Connecting with others and connecting others are two important skills that add value to your network and to the future success of others.

Create a life plan

This isn’t a five-year plan. A life plan is a set of principles and aspirations that you hope to be true in your life. For example, part of my life plan is to live faithfully, joyously, prayerfully, and generously in how I approach my everyday life and relationships around me. This hope will help me stay relevant because people want to be around others who are faithful, joyful, devout, and generous in how they treat others.

What do you do to stay relevant in your industry?

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