This is a guest post from Natalie Trice, award winning PR coach and lecturer.
While PE with Joe Wicks, growing veg in the garden, and clapping for carers on Thursday nights may have been part of the honeymoon period of COVID-19, nearly six months into this ‘new normal’ and there is no denying that for some PR professionals it’s been a hard slog.
Going to networking and attending meetings, catching up with colleagues, after work drinks with friends and simply having the freedom to do as you please, are an integral part of the job, and when they’re snatched away all of a sudden, things can start to feel a little bit fragile and the ‘not good enough’ gremlins can come crawling back to you haunt you.
Let’s face it, working in PR is great but it also takes nerves of steel, bags of resilience and a tenacious spirit to get on with the job and keep coming up with the goods. When you are pitching into a void, your press contacts are on furlough and client budgets are being cut faster than the banana bread you’ve been baking for the past few months, it’s little surprise you might start questioning yourself and your abilities.
Everyone’s situation is different, and the pandemic is coming at us all at different angles, but those age-old feelings of not being good enough can snap at our heels when we least expect it and Imposter Syndrome has a tendency to make an unwelcome appearance when the chips are down, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
I have some tips to share with you that I hope will help you to keep calm and carry on the way I know you can.
1) Forget the filters
Yes, it might seem that everyone else has got their stuff together on social media, but look beyond the posts and think about what is really going on. Seeing daily client wins on Facebook and cool, colourful co-ordinated content on Instagram isn’t always a true reflection of what is really happening (I’ve been known to bribe my kids for perfect pics), so don’t let those things dial-up the negative frequencies in your life. Look at the content you put out there, see how true you are being to yourself, cheer on your peers but just keep the filters in check, and remember that we never really know what is going on with someone else.
2) Remember that this isn’t the end of the world
Rather than going right for the worst-case scenario, that it’s all going totally wrong, just steady yourself and see what your truth is. When your mind wanders towards worry and the frightening feelings of uncertainty return, refocus your mind on the present moment, look at what you can do in the here and now and remember, you are going to get through this. Yes, losing work and having uncertainty about the career you have been working hard to build over the years isn’t great, but putting one foot in front of the other, looking at what you still have to do and creating a plan, is one way to move ahead.
3) Get it down on paper
I haven’t kept a diary for many years, but over the past few months I’ve started to do it again, and love it. It’s part thoughts, part memes, the odd drawing, a lot of lists and at the end of the day I write down three good things – something that we do in The PR Pro Hub as well. I won’t be winning any Booker Prizes for my journal, but it’s great to have somewhere to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper, and it could help you too.
4) Celebrate your wins
Big, small or hardly there at all – a win, is a win. You might think that you can only shout about a new job or a client getting a double page spread in The Times, but to get there you will have taken many smaller steps and they all deserve some recognition. Whether it’s finally doing your accounts, writing a blog post for your website or even drinking a hot cuppa without reheating it in the microwave, twice, give yourself a break and see the progress you are making.
Remember that you can do this. Things might feel tough right now, but they will get better.
Find out more about Natalie Trice’s work at her website. Her three-month group programme The PR Pro Collective launches in September.