My LAST Year’s resolution

My New Year’s resolution for 2015 ended up being about you, even though when I made it I thought it was all about me. In this post, I’ll share:

– the unexpected lesson you taught me
– what that lesson has to do with media relations
– how it will change things for you and me in 2016

The lesson I learned from you

First, I’m pleased to report that — in what may be a first in my 42 years on this planet — I actually achieved a New Year’s resolution 100 percent.

On Jan. 1, 2015, I resolved to publish a post every week for the entire year. And I did it!

At first, I realize now, I viewed it as kind of a burden. “What am I gonna say to them next?” But I still pushed the posts out, and people responded. They told me what they thought, and how the ideas in the posts helped.

And you know what happened? Eventually I found myself thinking about YOU, my reader, during the rest of the week, even when I wasn’t sitting down to write the posts. I’d visualize you trying your best to win over journalists and bloggers, dealing with sometimes cranky bosses or clients, struggling to find a work/life balance, all the things that we all do. And I’d push myself to articulate a nugget that would make at least one of those parts of your life a little easier or more successful.

Even when I wasn’t working, I’d have some experience (like watching Buddy the Elf freak out about coffee), or I’d realize a new insight, and my first thought would be, “I could include that in the next post!” By the end of the year, it got to the point where I had TOO MANY ideas worth sharing and I didn’t have enough weeks to share them all.

It all came to a head when I published the post just before Christmas (my Christmas “miracle”), about an experience that showed me once again the virtue of serving people. It was then that I realized what had changed about my “resolution” to publish weekly posts. Writing them no longer felt like this chore that I forced myself to do, like avoiding chocolate or losing 5 pounds. Instead, I was motivated with the hope of helping you. And that made it something I look forward to.

So the lesson I learned – with your help – is that focusing on serving others makes what could otherwise feel onerous into something rewarding.

What does that have to do with media relations?

Think about it from the perspective of you serving a journalist. Instead of you stressing about maybe annoying her with your outreach, you look at it differently. You think, “She’s got a lot of pressure on her to provide meaningful content to her audience. I could help her do that by identifying some info she doesn’t have yet and sharing that with her.”

Now, it’s not just some touchy-feel semantics. For you to authentically serve her, you actually have to know what her audience wants and know how to package it in a way that stands out from the noise. That’s where your skills and expertise come in – they’re still more important than mere effort.

What I’m talking about today is a transformation in your mindset, like I had about publishing weekly posts.

What this means for us going forward in 2016

I’m still learning and growing myself, but I’m not going to let that hold me back from sharing more with you. So this year I’m not going to limit these posts to once a week. Not sure what the new pace will be, but you’ll start to see an occasional extra post pop up in addition to the usual edition on Thursday. All with tips and lessons about being a happier, more effective media relations expert and getting more control over your work and life.

And when I create a training program or coaching opportunity that I know will help you, I won’t be shy about letting you know about it. With people telling me these posts are helpful, and knowing my programs are way better than these posts, then I’d be remiss not to.

If it turns out that I’m not the best person to help you with your journey, I’ll understand. Your choice to subscribe and keep reading is precious to me, but it is YOUR choice, not mine. I can’t control whether you keep reading, just like you can’t really control whether a journalist responds favorably to your outreach. All you and I can do is strive to serve a little bit each week.

Thanks for trusting me with your precious attention in this time-starved world.

This article was originally published on January 7, 2016

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