First we had IQ. Then we had EQ. Now we have AQ.

AQ, if you haven’t come across it yet, is your Adaptability Quotient. It measures how well you adapt to change. Specifically, it’s your ability to adapt and thrive in an ever-fluctuating climate of political, economic and technological disruption.

Or risk becoming obsolete.

The thing about obsolescence is that it doesn’t violently lunge at you. It doesn’t attack during the night and you’re found days later when the neighbours notice something’s off. No, obsolescence is much, much sneakier than that. Yet it’s decidedly dull.

If you don’t remain relevant, people simply stop caring. Your customers, your company, your colleagues move on. And you, simply, don’t.

Scary, hey?

For me this is particularly relevant. While I encourage my clients to innovate, reinvent, become crystal clear on their message and build their networks, when I look back on my 2017 it seems I’ve been decidedly tardy.

I’ve never had a loud online voice – too much fluff, not enough stuff. Is what I tell myself. But as my straight-talking (in a loving kind of way) coach so recently pointed out,

“Not participating is bullsh*t. If you want to stay relevant, you have to stay in the game. You’re facing a critical point where you must dramatically rise to the next level of performance. And if you fail to see and act on it, you’ll start to decline.”

Yes ma’am.

The problem with staying relevant is that it’s uncomfortable, difficult and scary. None of us wakes up and says, “Today is the day I destroy my life”. Like sheep, we get lost one blade of grass at a time. We make these tiny decisions – a decision to not attend that networking event, to not learn that new skill, to not read the latest industry publications, to not volunteer for that project, to not speak up in a meeting, to not write that blog post, to not update our LinkedIn status…

And then we wake up one day and think “How did I get over here?” And more importantly, “How do I get back there?”

How do we keep pace and remain relevant, when it’s so uncomfortable? Better than that, how do we thrive in an unknown future?

Reflecting on these and other questions I think the answer might lie, somewhere, in deepening our connection with ourselves. In other words, deepening our knowledge of our personal potential.

The truth is, the discomfort we feel when faced with a new challenge is an old idea of ourselves. Its as we know ourselves to be, not as we know we could be.

So ask yourself,

  1. Is what you’re being still relevant?
  2. Do you acknowledge that change is needed?
  3. Do you know what that change might be?
  4. Are you up for it?

Heading into 2018, I’m committing to these seven things to stay ahead of the curve –

  1. Learning – whether it’s through formal coursework or industry events.
  2. Joining the conversation – more personal connection with my community.
  3. Becoming a thought-leader – finding opportunities to write articles and to speak about personal branding.
  4. Listening to the younger generation – getting their perspective to give me a new way to look at my work.
  5. Innovating – on my personal brand products.
  6. Stretching – continuously pushing myself out of my comfort zone (stand-up comedy classes, anyone?)
  7. Staying true to my values –  but not using them as an excuse for non-performance.

Hold me accountable, will you?

Now you. If you have any tips to share on remaining relevant and building your AQ, I’d love to know. On the other hand, if you’ve found yourself slipping and your willing, please share that too.