Yesterday morning, I left the house just past 7 and drove north and east to what looked like the outreaches of town. Many towns over from where I live, my destination was the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, which sits on a sprawling lush grassy acreage beside historic out-buildings and with the kind of quiet that I often dream about.
I was there to present my portfolio to a board of public relations professionals in the hope that I will advance to take an exam toward accreditation.
There is no expectation of any certain level of accreditation in public relations. Anyone can start practicing and hopefully, they do it well.
But the industry offers an accreditation process – APR – which is incredibly rigorous and the people who achieve the status of APR really know their stuff. They care deeply about the profession. They do what they do well.
I was admittedly hesitant to make the leap six years ago from journalism to public relations. Why? I have no idea. Only preconceived (untrue!) notions of PR as an industry of yes-men.
Well, it couldn’t be further from the truth. My father once said to me, “In this country, everyone deserves a defense, and everyone needs PR.” True that.
As I’ve grown into my profession, I’ve fallen in love with it. I get to work alongside inspiring entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders and business owners with heart, and I get to consult with and advise them on the best ways to communicate both within their organizations and outside of it.
I get to help them find and tell their wonderful stories. I get to help them figure out creative, strategic, synergistic ways to grow. I get to think AND create all at the same time.
I love it.
Which is why I’m going for my APR. I don’t “need” it per se – I want that personal level of achievement to know that I have some foundation for the work I do. Plain and simple, it’s a personal goal, not one that anyone else expect or requires of me.
Yesterday morning, when I arrived at the library 45 minutes early (hey – I didn’t know how long the drive would take!), I basked in the early morning glow. There was almost steam emanating from the grass as the day warmed quickly. It was one of those sticky days that wasn’t oppressive; it was promising.
The presentation went well, though I was nervous. We talked for two hours, and they asked a lot of questions. I do know what I’m doing, so it was fun to talk about the PR program I was presenting to them.
But we all have so much to learn, in everything we do. There’s never a day that I don’t find the incredible opportunity to build on what I know. That’s a gift unlike any other, a gift that keeps on giving, that makes life better an inch at a time.
What a wonderful journey. If everyone loved their work this much, we’d have happy people singing as they walked down the street. Imagine what a world like that would be.