You know the score.
You spend your working minutes, hours and days promoting other people and telling them how fantastic they are, but when it comes to your own self-belief and visibility, it can be another matter altogether.
There’s no denying that working in the PR industry is great and I know I’ve had some amazing opportunities over the past two decades, but it’s also a tough gig that takes determination, grit and resilience, sometimes bucketloads of the stuff, and then some.
Whether you work at an agency, are part of an in-house team or have taken the bold move to go it alone, the demands of clients, bosses and the media can be a juggle and the fear can be real.
Factor in pitching into the abyss of furlough, requests to discount your rates because of the pandemic and people suggesting you just get a bit of ‘free advertising’, it’s hardly surprising if your mental health takes a battering.
Let me tell you this, it doesn’t have to be that way and you aren’t alone – you have me!
It’s important to remember that your PR career is a marathon during which you are collecting media contacts and coverage mile by mile, rather than going for one big win during a sprint that’ll be over in seconds.
I hope this posts helps keep your confidence high and your outlook fresh, even when your pitches go unanswered, your client doesn’t get that promised back link and the wrong product image has been used in a glossy magazine.
I’ve been there, got the t-shirt and I know that we can learn from each day and become the best PR possible.
Believe You Belong Here
“I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing and my clients are going to realise that I’m a total fake very soon and fire me.”
Ever thought this as you’ve written a press release or sent out a new biz proposal?
I’ll let you into a secret – you’re not the only one!
At some point in their careers, and not just at the start, many PRs feel like frauds when they’re talking to the press and think that their accomplishments and successes are the result of luck rather than hard work, creative thinking and talent.
Come on, you’re better than that and I won’t let you scupper your own chances of success by thinking otherwise.
Let’s be clear here: you deserve your place at the PR table, so pull up a chair and get comfortable because this party is just getting started.
Stop the Comparisons
Just as social media gives, it can also take away, and while this is very much the nature of the digital-age beast, it doesn’t have to dictate your self-worth and sense of accomplishment.
As a PR pro it’s really easy to be side-tracked by what other people are doing and to obsess over what your competitors ‘seem’ to be achieving. I say ‘seem’ because while it might look as if everyone else is going for gold seven days a week, just remember we generally only tell people what we want them to know, highlighting the good stuff and sweeping the rubbish bits to one side.
Yes, another PR might keep writing about her great success online, but I bet she won’t mention the panic attack she had before she turned on Zoom to deliver a talk because she was so nervous.
A high-profile peer might be in all the glossy magazines talking about the benefits of working for herself, but it could well be that she’s running on empty after yet another exhausting 18-hour day and totally miserable.
I spend a lot of time on social media and love seeing other people succeeding, but I know that you can focus on what other people are doing, and this can get out of hand.
Why not stop right now, take a step back and look at you and your successes. Put the filters on, scroll less, be aware of your triggers and tune into your PR soul, so you can shine the way only you do.
Being YOU is your superpower, and I’m asking you to start believing this! Maybe you love picking up the phone and talking to the press or being part of a winning pitching team is your zone of genius – what you love and are good at makes you the brilliant PR person you are today and that’s why you have clients and contacts, as well as the coverage.
Recognise that, celebrate what you do well and heck, tell the world about yourself rather than watching others taking centre stage and leaving you feeling less than you should.
Let Criticism Make You, Not Break You
Hillary Clinton was reported to have said, “It is important to learn how to take criticism seriously but not personally,” during a speech at NYU, and added, “Critics can be your best friends if you listen to them, and learn from them, but don’t get dragged down by them.”
I think this is a fabulous way to think about the dark side of PR and if you do, it can prevent comments from leading you to self-doubt, or worse, giving up on your dreams, which isn’t what we want.
People, be that the media, clients or even family and friends, can judge you and what you are doing, but you have the power to think about how you respond, and believe me, letting go of the negatives is going to really help you right now.
If a journalist tells you that your press release doesn’t have a news hook, look at it again and see what’s missing or even better, ask them what would work for them and get it right next time.
If your client gets a one star book review on Amazon, remind them to look at all the five-star comments they do have and maybe see that this won’t damage sales – it could just make things look a bit more real and balanced.
While it’s great to have people say good things about you, that isn’t life and if you can step back and look at what has been said and where you can learn, you will be the one winning, and growing.
Celebrate Something Small Every Day
When it comes to dialling up your confidence and amplifying those key feelings of success so they stay around for longer, celebrating a win, be it big, small or hardly there at all, every day will make you feel fabulous.
Each day you don’t step ahead and keep playing small, you stay where you are, and yet, we both know you could do more, be more, feel more.
Whether you’ve written a stand out blog post, got a client in Red or you simply drank a hot cup of coffee while writing in your journal, make a list of your wins each day in a dedicated notebook and not only will this help you to see the progress you’re making, it will give you evidence of your successes in black and white.
No one is super-human, however much we like to think we are, and while the news machine is working 24/7, it doesn’t mean you have to be.
You can’t pour from an empty cup, so switch off from looking for #journorequests and opportunities to speak to the press in the evenings and at the weekend. Press releases can be written tomorrow, you can research awareness days next week and offers of interviews and guest posts can wait, but your well-being and mental health cannot.
Whether you go for a run, do some yoga in the garden, or read a book, find something that helps you chill out and relax, and when you come back to that to-do list you will feel revived, refreshed and ready to shine again.
I think we both know that while PR isn’t ER, it is still a demanding career and one that requires determination, nerves of steel and resilience, but you can do this, and I’m here to help you.
If you like what you’ve read here, why not check out my brand new offering, The PR Pro Collective Private Member’s Club, where we will be tuning into your ‘Good Enough FM’ and finding your true vibe.
This is a unique blend of my 23 years’ experience working in top London agencies, international TV companies and running my own successful PR company, combined with my extensive, award winning coaching, mentoring and teaching skills.
There will be live group coaching sessions, goal setting, problem solving, exert guests, cheat sheets, and practical exercises that will help you to not only be the best PR you can, but one that feels confident in meetings, happy in pitches and able to deal with whatever comes your way.
Lack of direction, imposter syndrome, loss of confidence, knowing your worth and burnout are just some of the issues that come up with my one to one clients and this membership will cover all of that, and more.
Small groups, an online community and my cheerleading approach are all part of the new PR Pro Collective Private Member’s Club – will be easy, no, will be worth it – absolutely YES!
If you are ready to get out of your way, to take charge of your career and to stop second guessing your choices, check out the link below or email me, and together we can make 2020 your time to show up and shine.