Lots to give thanks for in the world of public relations

November 21, 2011

With Thanksgiving upon us, I thought now might be the time to express the gratitude I hold for an industry I love and a business that feeds my passion and vents my creativity. So here, for 2011, is what I am thankful for in the world of public relations:

1. Constant, relentless change. It fuels my wonder and drives my interests. Without the vast changes we have witnessed in public relations over the past five years, frankly I don’t know if I would still be in the industry. For the first 20 years of my career, the game was pretty static. Try to influence the influencers — many of whom were the media — and hope they take up your message. But then came the tidal wave of technology, the omnipotence of the media, the advent of consumer-generated media. The game changed, and only those fast and eager enough to change with it, now survive and thrive. Thank God!

2. The ascent of public relations. Over simple advertising. Today it’s assumptive. PR trumps all. Engagement, storytelling, and self-publishing hold more value than simple shilling. The power to connect, absorb, learn, touch, and reach is within our very fingertips. I give thanks to that fact every day, and appreciate an industry so powerfully integrated into that process.

3. I paid my 10,000-hour debt years ago. I am done with practice and free to create. Yes, Gladwell is right. Mastery comes with a huge price. Any worthy pursuit must be accompanied by that 10,000-hour commitment. I am grateful that I paid that price early in my career, and had a wife generous enough to pay the freight while I practiced so that now I can create and improvise, confident that the foundational skills will see me through.

4. The team I work with intensely, daily. They inspire and challenge. Push and extend my own conception of the possible. I always envisioned someday owning a firm, even when I worked alone from the basement of my home. I never, though, envisioned working with a team of 50 professionals so committed to their own professional growth. Every day, they break convention and force me to follow suit. They look out beyond the horizon for the beacons of the future and help me sail towards those points. And the secret little truth is that all I have to do is unfurl the sails. They point the way, and, believe me, it is one hell of an exhilarating journey! Even when storms are brewing.

So that’s my Thanksgiving to our industry and to the business I love. Thanks for a great 2011 as we round out the year and prepare for our traditional end-of-year celebrations.

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