Jas’ note: I’m beyond thrilled to have Heather Whaling as the first poster in this Inspire Series. She’s one of the hardest working pros around and she has plenty to share, as you’ll see.
When I launched my own company in 2009, I had no way of predicting where the journey would lead, but I stayed focused on a core purpose: I was 100% committed to building a PR firm that people would want to work for and companies want to work with. Three-plus years later, we’re well on our way. I’m fortunate to work with an amazingly talented team and clients that I truly believe in.
So, how do I keep from slipping into neutral and just letting life progress as-is? If you’ve reached a point in your career where you feel like you’re doing what you set out to do, congratulations. But, don’t stop. Don’t get comfortable with status quo.
When Jason asked me to write about what motivates and inspires me, I spent some time reflecting. Here are my four tips for staying motivated:
Define your all. What matters most to you? There’s a lot of debate right now about “having it all,” but what does that actually mean? In PR – a professional where we often feel like we’re always on the clock – how do you blend personal and professional goals to create the life you want? At work or at home, you need to set your priorities. (If you don’t set them for yourself, someone else will.) If you take time to define your “all,” then you’re equipped to proactively make decisions that will move you toward those lofty aspirations. Living life on your terms is motivating.
Act like an owner. In her book [Re]Frame: Little Inspirations for a Larger Purpose, Sarah Evans encourages readers to act like an owner. As she notes, “We are more likely to take better care about something when we ‘own’ it. Even if it’s merely changing how we view what it means to us. If you want to be happier at work, change how you think about work.” Even if you’re not technically the company owner, shift your mindset. As Sarah says, “own your work, or go find something worth owning. There is no option C.” When you feel personally invested something, you’re naturally more motivated to make it succeed.
Embrace the crazy. This has become the de facto motto in our office, as well as my own life. A career in PR, while fulfilling, can lead to some unavoidable chaos. Plus, personally, I’m embarking on a new adventure, as a small business owner and a mom-to-be, both of which are demanding, unpredictable situations. Instead of stressing about it, I’ve decided to simply embrace the crazy. As I’ve learned, the less you dwell on the impending “crazy,” the more you can enjoy wherever the road leads you.
Find your energy. During the next couple weeks, pay extra attention to those moments when you feel incredibly energized. What happened? Did you land a major media placement for a client? Create a piece of content that resonated with online communities? Land a new client? Mentor someone? Volunteer in your community? Whatever it is – and whenever/wherever it occurs – take note. After a couple of weeks, you’ll spot emerging patterns. Then, you can start to purposefully recreate similar situations. As you infuse activities into your week to generate this positive burst of energy, you should become an even more motivated self-starter.
Your turn: How do you stay motivated and inspired so you can apply your best self to whatever you’re doing at home or at work?
About Heather: As president of Geben Communication, Heather Whaling (aka @prTini) leads new business development, client relations and strategic planning for the firm. An avid Twitter user, Heather can trace 75% of Geben’s business back to relationships that began online. This ability to turn social networking into business outcomes has helped Geben evolve into a highly respected, sought-after, award-winning PR firm. Want to learn more? Connect with Heather: Blog • Twitter • Instagram
We all see the importance of staying relevant as PR pros, social media managers and marketing directors. But, how can you stay relevant in these changing times? Here’s my latest Monday Minute to explain.
How do you stay relevant? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter, @JasMollica.
“This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end, my only friend, the end.”- The Doors
Remember when Google+ was supposed to kill off Facebook? How about that time Twitter was going to die? Both statements never came true. Why? Because there’s no such thing as one social platform killing another. Watch…
Let me know your thoughts? Am I wrong or right?
Tags: beautiful friend, branding, business strategies with social media, Facebook, integrating social media, Social Media, social media killer, social media strategy, social platform, technology, the end of facebook, twitter's demise, vine, why google+ won't survive
What is it about putting up with BS that we enjoy so much. Do we like feeling wanted? Do we figure it will get better, in life and in business? I’ve come to a point in my life, and in my career, where the BS has to stop. There’s no room for success when you put up with BS! Repeat that a few times and see if it doesn’t make you feel better.
In public relations, we are taught to work collaboratively. We may even say yes to something we don’t necessarily believe. Why would you do that? I pride myself in life and in business with being honest. If I BS someone, how is that going to really help a client or a friend? If a client has hired me to provide a social media plan or media training, I’m going to be honest. I’m not going to be a jerk and say, “I’m right and your wrong!” It’s a collaboration. We come to a mutual agreement that plan A is much better than plan B.
The same goes with social media. We can put up this persona that everything is great, it’s just like riding a unicorn while reading memes with pictures of cute kittens. News flash- life sucks sometimes and it’s ok to say that. Isn’t honesty really the best policy? When you become something you aren’t on social networks, you are setting yourself up for failure. I’d rather see you speak your mind than BS your way through a conversation.
In business, we want to work with clients that (hopefully) are looking for us to add our expertise. I had someone tell me once they couldn’t stand working with a certain client, but it was all worth it because they paid on time. It’s come to that in your PR career… settling for someone who pays on time. That, my friends, is BS. Don’t stay with a client because they pay on time. If you begin with honesty, you’ll have an open line of communication all throughout… and that’s good for both sides.
Before you say that not adding a little BS is impossible, think of this. Who are the most successful people in your career field? Do you think they BS’d their way to the top. After awhile, the BS runs out and we find out who someone really is. That isn’t a good day.
Cicero once said, “Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?” The more honest you are and the less fake you are, you’ll find more success!
In 2008, I came to the realization that public relations was changing. Facebook was just starting to make an impact; Twitter and YouTube were still fairly new. I noticed that more and more forward-thinking PR pros were adapting these social platforms into their thinking. It was going to be the future.
What was I to do though? Should I just forge ahead with the old ways or should I start integrating them into my practices? I chose the latter, thankfully. Those months of changing my ways and learning more about social media led to me re-inventing myself. It also helped me move on to a new agency job a year later. Ultimately, it was also the building block to my business, JRM Comm.
Here is what this should mean to you. While you may feel like you are good, you can always do more and be more. Every single day, you can look at ways at being better and being more than you are already.
1) Don’t fall into the comfort zone- I mentioned this in part two of my blog series. The more comfortable you get, the more we become lackadaisical. Find ways to learn something different to make yourself unique and resourceful. This will not happen in one day. Over time, your peers and co-workers will see you are the “go-to” person for new, fresh ideas.
2) Challenge your own mind- I worked in television and radio for years. I knew after a while though that it wasn’t going to give me what I ultimately wanted: Control. So, I challenged myself to do something different. Sure, many TV/radio folks transition into PR nowadays, but I still knew it was going to be a different way of life. I dove in head first and immersed myself into learning as much as I could. I wanted the challenge… and so should you.
3) Risk… understand it- By re-inventing yourself, you are taking a risk- calculated or otherwise. Understand that by trying to change-up what you’ve done for years isn’t exactly something you flip the switch on. The risk is that it may not work, but how many times did Steve Jobs try before he became successful. Believe that risk is part of your plan and you’ll have a better grip on your future.
Remember, change is good. But you have to believe it. Don’t think you can be this new, re-invented person overnight. It may take a few months or up to a year to really feel comfortable. BUT, if you believe… it WILL HAPPEN!
As I start off this five-part series on the blog, it’s my hope that it can help you find ease as you look for ways to improve what you are already doing. Here we go!
Whether you are a solo professional or working in an office, organization and balance are two of the more important things. You may have one, but not the other.
I’m here to say, that it is possible. It doesn’t happen in a day or month. It takes time. Since I became a solo PR pro, I’ve learned that balance is integral to your home and work success. Here is how I’m doing it.
1. Create a comfortable work environment. We’ve all seen that Facebook post or Twitter pic of a messy desk. There’s no way you can be productive with your desk cluttered with papers, yesterday’s snack and the over abundance of photos of your dog. Take a moment to set up a desk that will allow productivity and inspiration. You want to feel as good as possible to work. I have my inbox, inspirational quotes and a notepad on mine.
2. Start your week out by setting goals. I mentioned that notepad… Mid 2012, my wife mentioned that I may be better organized if I had a notepad at my desk. At the beginning of each week, put your clients and the tasks you have for each. Then, look at the tasks that are “must do’s.” This will not only help keep you focused, but on point as well. No more of the “I have nothing to do!”
3. Social shutdown. For those of us that manage social communities, this is a tough one. However, being on social networks can be an amazing distraction. Don’t just be on Twitter or pinning to Pinterest because you have a few minutes. Focus on the task at hand, then move to your social agenda. Community managers have a unique problem here. But, while you step away from time to time, work on reporting what is going on in your social communities.
4. Work is work, home is home. You do need that separation, especially when you are a solo pro. While I enjoy working on some projects after the kids go to bed, your mind needs to reboot. Don’t push the brain too much. Set a time to shut it down for the day and make a note where you need to pick up. You aren’t a robot, so take a break.
5. Invest in a planner. Everything doesn’t need to be on your iPhone. I’ve used a planner in concert with my phone. I like the opportunity to jot down a new meeting or quick idea. Good planners can last years, while your phone is replaceable. Another great think about a planner is that, like the notepad, it is great for focus and keeping track of goals you have set.
Try one or more of these out and let me know how it works for you. What do you do to attain your goals and balance? Let me know in the comments.
I enjoy giving back when I can. So, as we start a new year, it’s time to help those in our great fields of PR, social media and marketing. Starting on Thursday, Jan. 3, I’ll have a five-part blog series on things you can do to improve your career, day-to-day life in the office and at home and much more.
Here’s some background on the series:
I can’t wait for you to join me weekly here and get your feedback and insights.
In today’s Monday Minute, we discuss content. Sure, you can post anything you want in blogs and in the social space. But is it smart?
How are you making sure your content is smart? Let me know in the comments.