A few weeks ago, I started a blog about public relations and marketing. Originally I thought the endeavor would be a good way for me to share what I’ve learned during decades of work in a field that I respect and enjoy. The other impetus was that I’ve written a fair number of short articles about PR and they’re just lying around. So why not pull them out, organize and update them and eventually turn them into an e-book? It seemed like a nifty and easy project. A no-brainer.
But something changed between the first post and the fourth. I realized that during the last few years my whole attitude about public relations has gone through a subtle but seismic shift. I’ve always cared about what I do, but now I’m only taking on clients whose missions I adore. And that, my friends, has affected how I think about PR in general. All those already-written articles need a rewrite because I no longer want to merely present the tricks of the trade; I want to frame them within a different context.
You see, I don’t think you can be good at PR without heart.
So what is heart?
There’s the rub. I’m not sure I can define it well and I don’t want to cop out and say something like, “I know it when I see it.”
But the horrible thing is . . . it’s true.
Here’s how this new framework is affecting me:
I’ve been particularly disgusted this year with the hoopla leading up to tomorrow’s election. You know why? I realized that it’s because in spite of all the finger-pointing and righteous indignation, the glossy brochures, robocalls and slick television advertisements — there’s no heart. Sure there’s anger and passion. But how much of that incredibly loud, rude and mean-spirited noise is coming from that place where a person goes deep within to find his or her personal truths?
I just finished The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis and remain totally floored by it. The book is a masterpiece of storytelling. I don’t remember the last time I read something that affected me so that I can’t stop thinking about it. Why this book? I think it’s the incredible concern and caring for each other the characters manifest during extraordinarily tough times. Willis is such a fine storyteller that she doesn’t need to bang us over the heads with the heart of her characters, she just shows us their actions and we’re forever changed.
The wonderful school my children attend is in the process of selecting a new leader. Because I’m a concerned parent, I went to every meet-and-greet with the candidates for the job. The two that impressed me most had an incredibly powerful spirit, and fabulous enthusiasm for education and their role in it. I came away from both of their interviews thinking the world is lucky to have these people who know themselves so well that they can be this passionate about what they do.
I’m helping with the school’s annual fund this year. The process has made me think a lot about the fundraisers I know and those who are most successful. They’re the ones that believe totally in the work of the organizations they represent. Because of this conviction, they’re able to inspire other people to feel and understand the organization’s mission . . . and to want to participate in that story by opening their wallets and checkbooks.
What’s it all mean?
I know this post is jumbled. That’s because I’m in the middle of looking at the world through this particular pair of glasses. It feels important to me. Critical, in fact. I want to be a person who operates from that center of heart in everything I do – personally, creatively and professionally.
Otherwise . . . why bother?
1. First of all, did I make any sense?
2. Do you have examples of where heart exists or is lacking in the world – or your own life — right now?
3. What book has touched so deeply you felt permanently changed by it?
I look forward to a good conversation.