I have been contemplating long enough about starting writing on a regular basis and it never happened. I was really impressed by the Personal Development Project that Kristina Miller did more than a year ago which involved writing one post every day for 30 days. I wanted to complete this project myself, but I always found thousand excuses why every day was the wrong time, so I never did. And I know the reasons. One is perfectionism, or exactly what Kristina is referring to in her blog when she brings in the concept of being precious described so well by Scott Berkun.
Here is why I want to challenge myself with this PDP:
- To commit to something to get me more disciplined. If I always fail at having stuff done, I need to put special measures in place.
- To get rid of perfectionism (at least to a certain extent).
- To prove to myself that I can do it.
- I think it’s fun. Many times I started writing something but then I decided it’s not good/interesting/new enough and gave up. Then years later I found drafts, they turned out great and I blamed myself for not finishing them! This is exactly what being precious means. I was initially imagining how picky audience reads my blog, judges it and laughs at me. And I escaped stepping out of comfort zone, because this is what expressing personal ideas in writing is.
- To practice writing in English.
- To get into the habit of regular writing.
- To gain self-confidence.
- To keep record of my ideas (I do have ideas sometimes that I consider worth keeping for future 😉
- To see whether this project will make any changes in me. This sounds especially exciting!
Ok, so here are the rules: I will make a post every day to this blog. It can be about anything I consider interesting and worth sharing – personal, professional, whatever.
Let’s see where this brings me!
One idea struck me today and I decided to let it see the light and stay there for me to look back later and smile with indulgence 🙂 The more I work in PR, the more questions I have about this profession.
I read all the time that if you want to be the best in your profession, you have to be inherently curious, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, and dare to approach gurus and learn from them. So here’s my question: Is it always the case? I would say that you need to do your homework and try to figure everything out by yourself before approaching anyone. Chances are you find the answers. But there are more chances that you find more questions 🙂 Or if you wait until you read enough to find answers, you are already lagging behind and lost excitement about seeking for the answer. So here is the question: If I am asking a question in a professional community, does it mean that I didn’t do my homework? Doesn’t it sound unprofessional? Or it depends on the question (and who you are asking)? Professional nuts and bolts change, right? Especially in the fields like public relations. For example, what is a press-release and how does it work? Many argue it’s dead.
Here is what I would ask the professional community:
- What are your best ways to learn new things in PR?
- What are the best online groups/communities for PR people?
- What are the best meetups?
- I feels to me that in PR there are no rules, you are never certain about what will eventually work , because every situation is so unique. Will the media pick up the news? Of course you learn from your experience, but there is always a degree of uncertainty. What had worked previously might not work this time.
- How to get to work with clients whose mission you really care for?
- How to grow your portfolio?
- How to build PR strategy when you don’t know what will work and nobody can tell you for sure?
- How to find a mentor in the profession?
- How to find a professional who can consult you with your projects?
- How to grow your media connections?
- And the most provocative question, in my opinion: Do media connections really matter? Indeed, the fact that you met a journalist at an event doesn’t make it easy for you to sell her another “Uber for Uber”… but it might make it easier 😉
- Does a startup even need a PR person if journalists prefer emails from founders VS Pr people? – khm-m-m…
Ok, I laid out some questions, now it’s time to do the homework 🙂
Update: As I reed this post over, I realize I know the answers. But I will let it stay as it is. Just because I think these questions are interesting 🙂
Isn’t a possible solution to procrastination problem just starting doing what you’ve planned for a long time? Just sit and start doing!.. Without painful preparation and this I-need-to-do-one-more-thing-before-I-start-oh-and-this-too… And while you start being upset about yourself because you can’t keep your commitments to yourself all good intention is finally and officially over, you shut your textbook with relief and disgracefully sink into Facebook…
So here’s the strategy I’m willing to try: no matter whether you are unprepared and have many unfinished tasks – don’t think too much! In fact don’t think at all, but just start with a tiny step. You can fix typos later, erase dumb thoughts (which you will later find interesting by the way), revise and rewrite. But start no matter what!
I read somewhere that procrastination happens to perfectionists. Here’s the proof that being perfectionist is counter-productive. If you want your final result to be beyond ideal, you delay work out of fear that you won’t perform well enough and this fear only does harm you! Here’s another interesting conclusion: don’t be perfectionist! If you don’t want your plans to stay only plans forever, get rid of perfectionism, pretend you don’t care about the final result and just want to play and see what happens later. Pretend you are a bit irresponsible and careless! I will try to follow this and see what will it bring me to!…
What do you think about these strategies?
I recently had a very interesting conversation with my husband. I asked him, if he ever wished he’d had someone smart and experienced to talk to about certain life choices he was about to make in the past.
He said yes but not quite talk about life choices. Rather, – he said, – I wish I had someone who would ask me the right questions. For example, “do you know you have an opportunity that can potentially change your life? Why don’t you take it?” He said that looking back at his life he now sees great opportunities he didn’t use, because he simply didn’t see them back then. For example, while working at his first job as a QA at Netscape, he could have tried to switch to a developer role and learn from the best of the best people in the industry who were all working at Netscape at the time.
So, the question my husband brought up is why we don’t see opportunities that are available to us? Why we often see these opportunities years later and think: “Why on earth didn’t I do this and that?.. This was such an obvious thing to do…”
Here’s what I think. Sometimes we aren’t thinking about looking for these opportunities. We are comfortable with what we have and are therefore not looking into changing anything. We might just not want to step out of our comfort zone. Or we might just not being visionary enough regarding our future. Or simply lazy… J
Second, sometimes we see too many opportunities or paths and cannot choose the right one and go for it. And this “blocks’ our vision and ability to act.
Third, sometimes we don’t take opportunities seriously or don’t believe they are worth extra effort. This happens because we don’t believe in ourselves. “Why-bother-if-I-am-not-good-at-it” sort of thing.
In any ways, this discussion made me think differently about my life. I definitely have great opportunities right now! And you do, too! We just need to look for them, make choices and act. Which is also not so easy, I agree 😉
I like going to meetups. It’s a great way to meet new people, practice your marketing pitches whatever they might be, and of course great tool in job search. I wish there were meetups in Russia where I am from, because it is a great way to find like-minded people and it is very convenient, too – no commitment to attend future meetups and no fear to feel like an outsider. Just show up and share you story: where you are or where you want to be!
On Tuesday last week I went to a meetup organized by Mashable and General Assembly on the occasion of the Social Media Day. Mashable’s Pete Cashmore came up with the idea of this day in 2010 to celebrate the universal potential and infinite expansion of social media across the world and all facets of people’s lives. Nowadays this day is celebrated worldwide in the beginning of July.
Last Saturday I went to a workshop at General Assembly called “Tumblr, WeWork + GA Present: Summer Blog Party”. In fact, I was interested in a blogging workshop, and recently my job search mentor Michelle told me about General Assembly. I was excited about what this education startup does and decided to check it out when I have a chance. General Assembly is an education company that specializes in online and offline classes focused on teaching practical skills in digital industries, such as digital marketing, business, growth hacking, design and coding. I have been interested in digital marketing lately and at this time I am studying for a final exam for a Coursera class called “Introduction to marketing” (which is awesome, by the way!)
Back in 2009 I wrote a Master’s thesis at San Diego State University about why do people spend so much time on Facebook. I was trying to understand what keeps people checking Facebook again and again and again and forget everything they were doing as soon as they open the blue page. Where does this addition come from? So I decided to analyze different motives of Facebook usage and then correlated this data with the amount of time spent on Facebook.
After my thesis defense I was frequently asked about my findings by friends and colleagues, but I never wrote anything about them in a blog. We are now in 2014 and until recently, I thought that social media have developed so tremendously since 2009 that my research would be outdated.
But a couple of weeks ago I realized that my findings could still be interesting and might offer some insight even now. At times I even think that nothing changed since 2009 and people use Facebook the same way.
So what did I find? First, yes, the amount of time spent on Facebook is defined by the motive that people use Facebook for. Let’s say, they might use Facebook to send messages, like sms or email. Or they might use it as a portfolio to showcase their professional success. Or as a way to build personal image… So which motive is the most time-consuming? I found that people who spend the most time on Facebook simply felt bored.