Hosting 3,400 hearing professionals from 64 countries for a four-day expo to talk about everything from revolutionary new technology to the future of hearing healthcare is no small task.

We, at Starkey, started planning for the 2020 Starkey Expo as soon as we wrapped up our previous expo in 2018. While each one is yet another reminder for me of just how amazing our #StarkeyFamily is at pulling off events like this, it’s also a reminder that we must continually get comfortable with being uncomfortable. As the expo has taught me, being pushed outside of your comfort zone isn’t just a good thing; it’s necessary.

Our theme at the expo was ‘Go Beyond.’ That means going beyond the horizon. Our team unveiled groundbreaking features for our new Livio Edge AI — the first custom hearing aid with rechargeable lithium batteries, Edge Mode for boosted listening power in noisy environments and a Thrive Care App to help caregivers no matter where they are. We also looked to the future. Imagine a hearing aid that can detect your mood and alert you to changes, a hearing aid that can help recognize faces and everyday objects like grocery items and tell you in your ear what you are seeing.

When Starkey’s visionary, Bill Austin, or its incredible development team comes to me with these kinds of dreams, there’s a question I always go back to and one I asked several times to the expo audience — What is your why? For Starkey, our why is simple. It’s about people helping people. So when Mr. Austin or Starkey’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Achin Bhowmik, walk into my office asking, “What if?” I turn around and ask, “Why not?”

Whether it’s the disruption of technology or the disruption so many are worried could happen with over-the-counter hearing aids, you always need to go back to your why. As I wrote in my recent opinion piece for Morning Consult, 25 years at Starkey has taught me that people are the bottom line. If you put people first, everything else will fall into place.

If there was one lesson I hope people took home from the expo, it’s that the hearing industry, at its core, is about connecting people to people. Innovation and disruption are good things if done to improve the daily life of the patient.

This will be the greatest decade of hearing healthcare. The choice is yours: Will you lead, adapt and thrive? Or will you get left behind?

The Monday after the expo, I posed a question on social media that got quite a bit of traction: What is one step you are going to take to transform yourself and your business? Thank you for all your great responses. And so now, I pose that question again. Because it’s not just one Monday reminder that we need. It’s what we are doing the following Monday and the Monday after that. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is the only way change happens.

The future doesn’t just sit around and wait for you. You must go and find it and define it. Just let us at Starkey know what we can do to help.