Finding Harmony as a PR Pro: 3 Tips to Make It Less Elusive Than You Think
When you look at this picture what do you see?
To me, I see a lot of colors, a lot of movement, a lot of things going on. But even with all this activity, there’s still a sense of fluidity and order.
It reminds me of my life as PR pro, mother, wife, friend, daughter, sports fan, music lover, leisure runner… the list goes on and on. In short, I wear many hats. One of the first questions people ask me when they find out what I do for a living and that I have four kids is (guess what): “How do you do it?” They wonder how on earth I keep my life balanced.
It’s an interesting question and I don’t think there’s a right answer. With a lot of things in life, it’s all about perspective. Just like that picture.
Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, put it well during a meeting I had with him earlier this year. He said that there is no reason work has to be the thing you balance, because you should do everything you do with unmitigated passion and complete abandon.
It’s true. I’ve found that there is no black and white when it comes to work life and home life. It all just blends together because I love my job and I think about it all of the time, even at home. By the same token, I love my family and my kids, and I think about them all the time, even at work.
To answer the question, how do I do it? Here are three tips I use to stay balanced that might also work for you.
1. Ask for help. Ask for help at work. Ask for help at home. Ask for help at the grocery store. Just ask for help. Sometimes we get overly ambitious and think we can do it all ourselves, whether it’s creating a perfect press release or being able to tote your kids to and from all of their sports games. But we usually end up putting a lot of unnecessary stress on ourselves, and worse, we might not be able to meet a commitment or goal. You can’t succeed at everything all the time by yourself and the good news is, you don’t have to. Turn to your colleagues, family and friends for support. Great leaders recognize what they can do well and when they need to lean on others to make something happen.
2. Take time for yourself. Take all your different hats off once in a while—your PR hat, your marketing hat, your mom hat, your dad hat, your spouse/significant other hat—and just wear your me hat. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a spa day, an hour or two at the gym or a splurge at the mall, give yourself time to decompress. We often think of stress as a weight on our shoulders. Just as with lifting weights, when you put the weight down, your muscles rest, recover and grow stronger. Stress is the same way. When you let go of your stress, you can rest and recover so you’re stronger the next time you take it on.
3. Be ok with the choices you make. Sometimes your choices turn out for the better and other times they might not, whether in PR or in life. We’ve all been in situations where we wish we chose differently, or if we had known something earlier it would have helped us make a better decision—like knowing ahead of time that your client’s competitor would be dropping a significant announcement on your client’s launch day or getting stuck in traffic because you didn’t trust your navigation system and chose to go your own way, making you late for an important appointment. Acknowledge and accept your choices and move on without dwelling on what could have been. At the end of the day, it’s how we choose to react to the consequences of our choices that defines us. We get to choose every moment the kind of person we want to be.
Are you living life by your own terms? Doing what you really want to do? What does your life mean, and how can you make it richer? Whether it’s making some tweaks to your schedule to accommodate both a press release that needs to be placed on the wires and being there on time for your child’s soccer game or taking a day off to recharge after a busy stretch of launch planning and executions, it’s important to reflect and remember why you’re making the choices you make, and embrace them.
What is harmony to you? Find a picture that represents harmony or perhaps draw one… whatever it is, give yourself the time to reflect on it.