I have been thinking about this for quite a while. Have you ever asked yourself the question: Am I relevant?
What does it mean to be relevant? When I ask myself this question I think of the people I look to when I have a question. If I reach out for an answer from someone; I must believe in one way or another they have relevance to the answer I want or need.
If I have a problem with my car, in most cases, I typically will not go to my banker for an answer. I don’t go to my banker because I do not feel this individual is relevant to my question. On the other hand, I would not go to my doctor if I wanted an answer regarding a Certificate of Deposit or CD (not to be confused with a music CD). And I would not go to my auto mechanic if I had a back problem.
When we have questions we look to those who can possibly help.
Taking the scenarios above one step further; I might go to my mechanic when I have a back problem if I’m looking for a referral and I know my mechanic recently experienced back problems and the doctor had remedied the situation. My mechanic just became relevant because of recent experience and knowledge of someone who might be able to help me.
The same goes for the other scenarios above; there may be relevance but a different kind of relevance; they may not have the answer, but may have the ability to lead you to the answer.
Now we go back to the initial question. Are you relevant? Do people look to you for answers to their questions? Do they look to you when they need a referral? Do friends, family, co-workers, customers, supervisors, etc. turn to you when they are looking for answers?
For example if you work on a manufacturing line, do people come to you with questions regarding the operation of the line; if so, at least this individual believes you to be relevant. In this manufacturing role; do supervisors or managers ever come to you with questions regarding the line or seeking advice on the operations of the line; if so, you are relevant to even more people and to people who may be higher than you in the organization.
Maybe the questions presented to you are not directly related to your job or maybe they are completely unrelated; meaning you are considered a relevant or reliable source about something other than your day-to-day work. You may have relevance because of a hobby, a sport’s interest, family experience, visiting a certain city or area of the country; whatever it is something where people look to you for answers; makes you relevant.
Why is this important; you may be trying to advance your career and being recognized as relevant can go a long way toward reaching your career objective or current goal? You may be starting a business and relevance to your customers is critical to the success of your business.
The information you possess may make you relevant to other individuals or groups that are attempting to solve a problem and you are able to expedite the process because of your knowledge. These individuals may be prospective customers, suppliers, business partners, or may simply be someone who works – as Malcolm Gladwell identifies in his book, “The Tipping Point” – as a connector; one who brings others together.
Possessing knowledge or additional information makes you special and makes you someone people want to know better, you have become a person of interest.