Climbing to the top of the public relations career mountain is an unadulterated rush for some people. It sure feels great to get there, but once at the summit, what’s next? All that cold mountain air, blue sky and long view downward can seem meaningless if the journey to the top was a solo, single-minded effort.
Achieving success, whether at work or play, is not about what you do, but how you do it. As a communications recruiter who is called upon to find the best senior talent, I look for people who have built a solid career and have also taken the time to mentor and encourage others. I seek individuals who devote some of their free time to non-profit causes, and have established a well-rounded life with a network of friends or family. Having a supportive network of people to rely on can greatly enhance personal and professional experiences. While there are activities we call “work” and activities we call “life”, the truth is there is huge overlap, not two separate solitudes.
Yes, “going all the way” in communications requires thousands of hours of hard work and a careful, work-life balancing act. It also means having a sense of humour, possessing a positive attitude, and taking some time every day to “savour the moment.” It could be as simple as listening to a co-worker describe a challenge they are having with finding the right strategy to win a new client. You may have another way of looking at the problem that could lead to a good solution. And even though you may be tired after a long day at work, watching your child perfect their cursive writing skills can be invigorating.
Take a moment to inhale the bouquet of your wine glass, instead of guzzling it straight down. Establish limits on yourself that allow you to mentally “turn off” your work life when you go home. Finding the right balance between career and personal pursuits can often mean simply becoming more organized. Maintain a calendar that shows what you need to do, when, and with whom. Make sure you are not weighted too heavily in one area, as other aspects of your life will suffer and you will feel the consequences. Devote regular time to nurturing your inner self. If you enjoy coaching children’s sports, make them a part of your weekly routine. There are not enough hours in a day to seize every opportunity that is presented; choose wisely and the reward will be a fulfilling career and joyful life.
There is no magic potion that allows some people to succeed where others fail, although I believe that selflessness and devotion to others are prerequisites for high levels of achievement. The race to the top is not about who you managed to step over. It’s about those you were able to offer a step up to along the way.
Sandra Upeslacis is the Manager of Talent Retention and Acquisition at NATIONAL Public Relations, Canada’s largest public relations firm with more than 325 employees in nine offices across Canada, in London and New York. www.national.ca . Email, [email protected][ad]