The Bold and the… OK, I’m a Little Overwhelmed

19 02 2009

Normally, I would never admit to having anything less than nerves of steel.

After all, I presented a PR campaign to an international client this summer with no fear and he bought it. Before I was 22. Before I had finished my senior year of PR.

But now, now… I’m a little bit timid and my nerves are pulsing with more malleability than that board room meeting over the summer in N.C.

Why?

Because now I am telling fellow professionals in my field what to do. Not an authoritative thing, mind you. I’m not their boss. Technically, I haven’t even entered the workforce yet – I interact with it on a daily basis, but I am still a senior who is not FULLy in the workforce yet.

Confused?

Meet PR(evolution): the pet project of me and Jessica Ayers.

PR(evolution)

PR(evolution) is a new idea here at the University of Alabama – students teaching students (I know, this has happened before… wait for it) AND staff (even more) AND practitioners. One might say:

“But Platform Online Magazine does this already.”

To which I would have to say that Platform, an online publication targeting students, teachers and practioners in the field of PR does in fact do this. But what does it teach them? PR? Sure… we do that, too.  But  we also teach Social Media. Think of us as the brainchild of Platform. Continue to read them. They’re great. Betsy Plank even recommends the publication and its blog and Twitter. But if you want to understand how Platform and other PR professionals use Social Media, you might want to take a peek at PR(evolution).

Now past its first and second sessions, PR(evolution) is well on its way to being succesful – we now have commitments to speak at public institutions and to present to the local libraries.

We have high-ranking professional coming in to tell us that our program is being used to help evaluate what SM they should use. (See DCH – The Hospital)

And all this has me wondering – is it all about to fall out the bottom? Because this could really lead places. Recently, in private talk, Damien Basile, a man who knows his way around PR, social media and brilliant dialogue, asked why I was afraid to embrace the success. After long thought… its because I am afraid it will fall out all at once and I will be left holding pieces.

After all, in order to embrace this, I have to make it my whole focus… I can have other background focuses, but they will only serve as a minor support net.

So my question to you (as I love to encourage dialogue) is: when you began to hit your own brand of success, what continue to motivate you and keep you from being scared to death that it would all fall through?

This blog, of course, falls more into my “Taking What’s Mine” mantra and less of “Giving Something New” because this time, I need some assurance.

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7 responses

19 02 2009
Damien Basile

Unwavering belief that it will succeed. I give only my mindspace to the possibility of success. Failure is not an option. When you bring in other options they become possible realities.

19 02 2009
Dominique

I’ll give a good response later, as I’d like to give this question the attention it deserves, but for now, here’s the short and short of it:

I don’t think. I just keep going. I attempt to block it all away and just plug myself into it, because I’m terrified that if I let it go to my head, I’ll bottom out.

More later, I promise.

19 02 2009
jacobsummers

Well, so far I am enjoying all the advice. I mean it.
–JMS–

19 02 2009
Richard Becker

Jacob,

Fear doesn’t exist. We invent it.

You cannot hope to succeed if you are not willing to take some risks and fail sometimes. People who don’t are boring.

Of course, since failure is part of the equation, we develop contingency plans. That is what they are for. Besides, my Rule No. 9 for advertising suggests …

Rule 9: There is always a better way. There are a few great ads, some good ads, and a boatload of bad ads being produced every day. But even the best ads can always be made better.

What does that mean? There really isn’t a fail. It’s all just an opportunity to do things a little better. The sooner you get that, pushing aside all those years of receiving grades, the better off you will be in the profession.

Look forward to see what’s cooking.

Best,
Rich

19 02 2009
jacobsummers

Ha, I was never one for the grades anyway… just for dedication to doing things well. As per my current situation this afternoon where I had to setup Tech for a program and redid their presentations because they looked like crap.

20 02 2009
Jessica

I have a personality of extremes. I don’t know anyone who has ever hit the height of my “highs” when things are going well, and I know very few who have experienced the depth of my “lows.” That’s the risk you run in feeling everything.

When I played competitive tennis, I was the one on the bus fired up to play the semi-pro teams. Yes, the odds were that we would lose, but I was the only player on my team to ever win. That was after three blood blisters on my feet and a torn tendon in my knee. Losing is the risk you run in competing.

When I ran my first marathon, I had never run that far before, but it never crossed my mind that I might be one of the athletes taken from the course on a golf cart or an ambulance. Not finishing is the risk you run in starting.

When I first came to you with the idea of PR(evolution), the purpose was to meet a need. Students in our department didn’t know how to use social media in public relations, and we decided that it was important that they learn. Success, in this case, has nothing to do with how many professionals we impress or professors we wow. Success will mean that we met the need. Failure will mean that we did not. Not giving everything is the risk you run in trying to give something.

You run a risk with every action you take. Failure is a factor in every situation. However, failure should never be a factor in your attitude. The only danger is that we don’t give all of our best to this project!

20 02 2009
Dominique

I promised more, so here goes.

Strangely enough, I’ve never really been afraid of failure per se. I’ve always been one to take risks and put my neck out on the line for the sake of trying. Failure itself doesn’t scare me; losing something does. That fear of losing something, whether it’s someone dear to me or my momentum in a project or even my motivation, propels me to just keep going. I can’t risk stopping and trying to analyze every single second, because if I do that (as I am prone to do), then I will lose my focus and quit. It’s happened plenty of times before, but I don’t let myself any more.

Example: you know about my history with depression. Well, I could sit down and analyze how I feel and why and all the tiniest details about depression and suicide and the gamut of emotional turmoil that is my mind… or I could just keep working at my life. If I stop and think about it and how easy it is to just stop, I won’t get anywhere. Same thing goes for everything I do. I can’t do the things I’m actively involved in if I start re-analyzing everything.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just take a deep breath and keep chugging along. If you worry too hard, I guarantee you, nothing will get done and then you really will bottom out.

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