A few weeks ago, I (Emmanuel) was called upon at the 11th hour by the organisers of an international student conference to replace one of their scheduled speakers. I only had a few hours to prepare to give a talk around their theme of ‘Personal and professional development for global relevance’ (Thanks Amara!) I couldn’t help but ask myself this question “What exactly does it mean to be globally relevant on a personal level?”
As a lecturer and researcher, I was forced to ask myself some questions. Are today’s courses and degrees designed with a “global eye”? Are students being prepared for a global world? How do I know if I am globally relevant? What does it take to be globally relevant? With all these questions in my mind, I chose a title (same as above), which was just as much self-reflection as it was my seminar talk. I will share a few points from my nth hour prepared slides but I am also really curious for your opinion on this topic.
I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a definition for global relevance. I stumbled on a definition of Global Relevance by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as “the required characteristic of an International Standard that can be used or implemented as broadly as possible by affected industries and other stakeholders around the world.” I have made some modifications to this definition to “The required characteristic of an individual that can be applied as broadly as possible by affected (knowing, rational, studied, responsible…) individuals, groups and other stakeholders around the world.”
Now armed this this definition, I pose a question to you as I did at the talk – Would you consider yourself to be globally relevant? Global relevance is as much an end point as it is a journey. Without knowledge of where you are journeying to, you can go on a long, unending drive until you run out of fuel. For those seeking global relevance in an area of specialism or interest e.g. sports, academic, technology, writing etc. without knowing what the end goal is might lead you into that long winding path of confusion. Perhaps it is time to look at your personal GPS and reassess your journey (hopefully your GPS is not like my old one which kept telling me GO LEFT at every turn…binned.com)
So how can we find that relevance globally?
Begin with the end in mind – This is our mantra on the Aspiring Professional’s hub. In your field of study, area of business interest or chosen career, is there anyone, business or role model in that position you aspire to be in worldwide? Knowing something about the journey to their attainment or achievement could be a starting guide for you to start a plan for your own global attainment. These days it is not so hard to learn about global figures when you have Google and in most cases these global stars are on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter or have personal websites.
Have a plan – of your own for that career, design, business or idea BUT with a global audience in mind. For example, if you are choosing a course at University, think broadly about how relevant that course is another country or even worldwide before deciding. If creating a business plan, can that business service a need in another town, state, country, continent beyond your current location? So we suggest in whatever your goals or targets, THINK GLOBALLY.
With every good plan and desire come challenges, so Research, Research, Research. This is usually where most plans fail as the LACK OF KNOWLEDGE leads to death of the idea or what was once a great plan.
Understand your USP or Brand – in the business and marketing worlds, the terms USP (unique selling point) and brands come to mind. Understanding what your skills, attributes or ability (USP) or what your brand is in the context of your audience or the people who might need, understand or want those skills are is very important. As Paul Stafford, Co-founder of DesignStudio says “a brand will always be able to transcend barriers if audiences believe and connect with the message.”
Furthermore, whilst understanding personal attributes remains important, sharing and having a community to help you contextualise and develop your ideas is just as important if not more so it is important to Network. Remember, you are not the only one in the world with the ground-breaking or crazy idea so having a platform to harness that attribute or idea with a receptive or critical audience would do you no harm.
Finally, self-evaluation is important. With constant evaluation, you can assess whether you, your ideas or plans are progressing or whether it is stale and needs change or a revamp. Whilst preparing this talk, I came across The Success Indicator Poster by Mary Ellen Tribby, which differentiates, successful from unsuccessful people. This can be your motivational tool to start that global journey.
We would like to say thank you to all our readers. We are humbled at how far reaching our articles have ‘travelled’ and we think it is fair to say we are indeed finding our feet within those murky waters of global relevance. Please share your thoughts on this article by leaving a comment, we learn so much from them! If you have an article to share, please email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org.