April 24, 2020
My Career Defining Moment In Coronavirus
Like most of the world, I’m not sure how many days we’ve been in quarantine. Somehow time passes without so much as a hello, and that’s okay. It’s been an emotional ride; we refer to it as the ebbs and flows at ACPR. There’s been a healthy serving of hard days, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about us PR girls, it’s that we’re resilient, innovative, and always up for a challenge. As for me, a budding flower in the PR world, COVID-19 felt like a ‘make it or break it’ moment in my career — a defining moment some might say.
I’m a Scorpio through and through. I’m very strong-willed and a survivor at heart. But when the stay-at-home order was issued, I panicked. This story has a happy ending, I promise, but if ever there was a journey to get there, I had to trek my way to it. I made plenty of stressed phone calls and shed my fair share of tears. I felt guilt for my lack of gratitude when I was one of the lucky few to have a career to turn to and I felt shame for showing my weaknesses. But there was one thing I forgot to consider; my community has my back. All of my phone calls were answered with understanding and empathy, Allyson talked me through the catastrophizing mindset at least three times that first week (and every week after), and each of my team members virtually checked-in every day. In PR, we pivot constantly, adjusting to the landscape and creating intentional strategies to adapt. Sometimes you just have to spin it.
Early on I recognized that if I could approach this unique reality and my career while #wfh with a curiosity mindset versus fear, then I would come out on top. I knew there were three things I would need to accomplish if I was going to move forward. First, my headspace would need to change—I’m a busy person by nature and wallowing would make this worse. Second, I had to feel all the things. Accepting that there must be bad days in order to appreciate good days (ebbs and flows, remember?), and it’s okay to be sad, tired, frustrated, melancholic, etc. but move on from it. And third, keep going. I have a begrudging habit of holding onto my mistakes like a security blanket. That stress and fear I conjure to constantly remind myself of my mistakes or shortcomings acts as my shield against future road blocks. Here’s the thing, it’s also my demise. If I can’t let that sh*t go, then there’s no moving forward. Full stop.
Now for some of you, there’s a little more waiting to be done. We’re lucky to begin the re-entry process back to society on Monday (for the first time in my life, I won’t be missing my pajamas). And you know the best part? I did it. Not only did I survive, but let me tell you, I heckin’ thrived. I felt the bad and I celebrated the good, I turned up the radio and drove with the windows down, I trusted myself, my team, and the process. I brought it. Did I struggle along the way? Oh, there’s no doubt. But I faced what felt like an impossible mountain and I didn’t back down. And I think that’s the key. I couldn’t manage a morning routine or getting properly dressed every day (no jeans here), but I owned the things I could do. The skills I’ve been honing over my last seven months at ACPR became natural instincts. I refused to let the fearful parts of me become me. I leaned into my strengths and transformed this into a proud career defining moment.
Starting out in the big, bad world is already intimidating. But if I can offer you anything as you begin to stretch your wings, it’s this: you got this. No, seriously. You totally do. It takes a lot of trust, which definitely comes with time, but you know better than anyone what you’re capable of. No one can do what you do, that’s your superpower.
It’s like that saying: With enough pressure and time, you’ll create a diamond.
Courtney is ACPR’s PR & Social Associate. During quarantine she’s proud to have completed two puzzles, countless sudokus, and all three original Jurassic Park movies. She‘s hoping to turn her crow pose into a full headstand soon, but only time will tell.