I’ve written about this before, but tonight it rings so true.
I’m just back from the Public Relations Society of America’s International Conference where I was in the middle of close to 3,000 public relations professionals from around the world…all of whom are a whole lot smarter than I am.
One night, I had “chocolate milks” (don’t try to understand…just go with it) with a couple of public relations professionals who make me feel (not on purpose!) like I’m just starting out in the field. As I listened to them talking, the words kept running through my head…. “But I’m just a kid.”
This phrase was said to me by one of my Communication students several years ago as we were talking about his progress at Curry College. Things weren’t going well for him, and he had reached the point where he was convinced his life was going to come crashing down on his head.
I reminded him that he was, in the eyes of others, a “young adult” who was going to have to take responsibility for his own actions very, very soon. Unfortunately, as I learned in the course of our conversation, he wasn’t getting any positive support from his own parents. He needed someone to talk to…someone who could make him feel like he was on the right path.
I have this feeling myself from time to time. I like to try new things…test new ideas…step out of my comfort zone. But I often also find myself wondering if I really know what I’m doing/talking about. This self-doubt especially pops up in my role at Curry as head of our Public Relations Concentration. My challenge is to make sure that what I’m telling my students is going to help them prepare for the inevitable future that lies ahead.
Then I wind up at conferences or smaller-level meetings, PRSA in particular, and find myself in the midst of a bunch of people whose accomplishments leave me with my jaw hanging in amazement. I keep thinking about how smart they are and how I wish I could be like them…confident and self-assured.
I realize after a while, though, that these folks are just like me…human beings. As I listen to their conversations, I hear their own self-doubts, and I’ve learned over the years to ask a simple question: “How did you manage to get past the uncertainty?”
The answer invariably is “I turned to ‘XXX’ for advice and guidance.” And I realize that this whole process isn’t rocket-science. Very simply put, it’s humans helping humans.
So, what does this mean for you as you start…or continue…your own career journey?
It means that you’re not in this alone. There are a lot of folks out there who are ready, willing and able to help you. You just have to be “adult” enough to ask.
You have to embrace your uncertainty, admit your weak points, and, as I say over and over, “dive into the deep end.”
You’re not “just a kid” any more.