Now hear this: school colors, funky shapes suddenly make hearing aids relevant to the vain I couldn't help but smile when I read today's story in the New York Times about the latest trend in designer hearing aids. It seems the latest rage is hearing aids that come in school colors, or match the wearer's hair color or cause others to think you're wearing cool jewelry. Apparently, many people who need hearing aids are hesitant to wear them simply because they are concerned it marks them as "old" to need assistance with something as ordinary as hearing. We can hardly blame the makers of hearing aids. They're just trying to remain relevant by finding new ways to make their product more palatable. If offering them in leopard skin or in the God-awful orange favored by many college football teams is what it takes to get people to wear them, well, more power to them. Personally, I think it's sad that people are so vain they can't bear the thought of wearing a hearing aid. Do they not realize what a nuisance they are to others, who have to repeat themselves all the time? And why is that the same person who's worried about how they'll look in hearing aids will go out of the house dressed head to toe in Tennesee or Florida colors? I'd rather be thought old than seriously fashion-challenged. I'm glad companies like Oticon are doing what it takes to make hearing devices relevant to those who need them. I just hope that the hard of hearing will take action. It is hard to remain relevant as a business professional if you can't hear what's going on. In fact, a key to remaining relevant is being willing to admit when you can't do something, don't know something, or need to change something in order to fully participate and contribute at work and in life. I know whereof I speak. I've been wearing two programmable digital hearing aids that fit down in the ear canal since I was in my mid-40's and they've completely changed my life. I wish I had gotten them sooner. God only knows what I missed all those years or what I inadvertently agreed with or unfairly dismissed. I know my neighbors are glad I bought aids. For almost 5 years I called them (and introduced them to others as) Sam and Carol. It turns out they're really Cam and Meryl. Here's the takeaway: consider what you're doing (or not) to remain relevant and be honest about the need to assess ALL your skills and make necessary changes. If you own a company or produce a product, consider whether there are ways to breathe new life into your business by doing something as simple as making an aesthetic change.
Are you relevant? Here's how to know: if you're absolutely certain what you offer really matters and you've won the mindshare and heartshare of your clients and potential clients, you "get" the SPUD Factor. SPUD stands for Strategic, Proactive, Universal, and Dynamic. If you aren't sure how relevant you are, or you fear becoming a SPUD Dud, this blog's for you. Find out what it takes to remain relevant in the face of change. Learn from good - and bad - examples how relevancy drives longevity.