The Three Unexpected Lessons I Learned in My First Year as a PR Girl
So, it turns out, when they said, “time flies,” they really meant it. Just one year ago, I entered the ACPR office as a tiny bird with just a little bit of knowledge and a whole lot of passion. And now here I stand, two big and beautiful wings and my ambition has only grown. I could write a book on all of the lessons I’ve learned, but if I had to choose three, then you already know they’ll be pillars.
Trust the process I’d imagine that if you scrolled back through every “Courtney” blog post, you’d fine this phrase repeated indefinitely—there’s a reason for that. Trust is without a doubt, one of the most challenging and unforeseen mountains I have ever attempted to conquer—and I’ve climbed quite a few in my 23 years. It requires letting go of control, having faith that the universe will provide (hint: she always does), and patience. Ugh. Truly the devil’s three. PR is an industry that moves at breakneck speed, we are constantly pivoting, strategizing, and evaluating the media landscape. But this is the tricky part, I can put in everything I have into my work, and I do, but that doesn’t mean it will warrant results. I attribute this to two things: intention and well, PR. We truly can’t control what journalists are printing, and we shouldn’t! That would remove the genuineness of the industry. But more importantly, if you go into anything without the right mindset, without believing that you will achieve success, then you won’t. It’s simple math. My mom would say, “it’s the power of positivity.”
Transitions, transitions, transitions This is a grown-up skill that most grown-ups are still learning and re-learning. Let me explain. Your brain needs breaks. In fact, I’m sure I could conjure up numerous scientific studies backing that up with substantial data. I’m not talking long, luxurious, languid breaks. But moments, five minutes at most, where you switch gears. I physically cross things off my to-do list. It sends a little jolt of dopamine and closes the book on that specific task—like a bad outfit you never want to relive. I’m also a mover. I stand up, I move chairs, I cross and re-cross my legs, you name it. Those physical breaks in between tasks helps me prepare my mind for what comes next so I can devote my full attention. I sound like I’ve really got it down (and sometimes I do), but it’s a learning process. There are certainly still days that I feel as if I’m sprinting all day long— that’s usually when I switch to tea.
Clarity is key Do you remember playing that telephone game as a kid? By the time the word or phrase got to the last person it was always completely warped like a crinkled piece of paper. One of the first things I learned on the job was the absolute necessity to walk away from every conversation with a crystal-clear understanding of my next move. It seems like a very straightforward concept, I know, but misunderstandings happen so easily. The difference between clarity and “I’ll figure it out” can be the sole reason you spend hours (no, seriously) on a misguided task. TBH, I don’t have that kind of time. We hustle at ACPR, we’re quick on our feet, and it’s frustrating to cross something off my list and have to go back and completely scrap draft one. I’m not talking about editing post-feedback, I’m talking about starting a project with a semi-clear understanding and executing it incorrectly. That (and only that) is what leads to unfortunate hours wasted. It’s always okay to ask for clarity. In fact, your supervisor will probably appreciate you ensuring that your clear on the project. You can’t build a desk without all the correct tools, right? Same goes for PR.
I can’t even begin to imagine what lessons await me, so I’ll leave you with this. Whatever unexpected road blocks you stumble upon, I dare you to embrace the challenge. There is something to be learned at every twist and turn. Lead with an open mind and an open heart because you never know what opportunity looks like.
Courtney is ACPR’S PR & Social Associate. She is currently three sweaters deep into the reconstruction of her fall wardrobe and there’s no stopping her now. Can you say sweater weather?
Positive affirmations — you’ve heard all about them. They’re used to retrain your mind by challenging negative or unhelpful thoughts. Studies have shown that using uplifting language can combat stress (yes please!) and boost your overall health. Since we’re always looking for ways to level up at ACPR, we’re going to start incorporating them into our daily routines. If you want join us, we’ve compiled a list of our 10 favorite affirmations for you to try on your own.
1. My potential to succeed is limitless.
2. My imperfections make me unique.
3. I’m allowed to make mistakes, they don’t make up my whole story.
4. I’ll surround myself with positive people who will help bring out the best in me.
5. I approve of myself and love myself deeply.
6. I have the power to create change.
7. I’m free to create the life I desire.
8. No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.
9. Negative thoughts only have the power I allow them.
10. My life is a gift and I appreciate everything I have.
Ask Allyson: What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self
ASK ALLYSON: I’mjust starting out in my career and feeling all the feels. Scared, hopeful, uncertain, and excited to name a few. Scared because I’ve just landed my dream job and I don’t want to mess it up. Hopeful that I’m going to do big things with my career. Uncertain about the future and how to navigate my career. Excited because I know I’m on my way. Is this normal? When you were starting out did you ever wake up in the middle of the night in a panic that you didn’t know what you were doing? What advice would you give now to your younger self about your career? -Your Younger Self
Dear Your Younger Self,
First, take a few deep breaths (slow in through the nose and exhale fully through your mouth). Now, remember to keep breathing. We’ve all been there — I’ve been there. It’s ok to feel the all the ways you do, to feel different things, to feel them all at once, or not to feel them at all. While it’s been many, many years, I can still remember exactly how I felt when I was starting out in my career (I also remember exactly where I was and how I felt when I accepted the offer for my internship in NYC — in my car, sitting outside of the Chinese restaurant that I was hosting at just before my shift). As someone with a fear of the unknown who’s also afraid of failing, I get it. Not only did I want to know what was next, but I wanted to know how to get to there the “best” way. Spoiler alert: neither happened (and they still don’t). If I could talk to my younger self, I’d want to tell her so many things. How trying to control everything won’t help. That perfection is overrated. To stop worrying about the future and focus on enjoying the moment. That there is no best way. That everything will work out better than you could have ever dreamed. So if I was going to give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be to work hard and be nice. No matter what you’re doing, do your best. And be nice to everyone, especially yourself. Doing these two things will make everything easier. I promise.