Dr. Phillip Kambe, an inspiring and electrifying peak performance business and success coach, was holding back no punches during a career development training session I once attended.
He said, “After school, the hard work starts. If you are not excelling, chances are you do not love what you are doing.”
Dr. Kambe is also a Master Trainer/Public Speaking guru with Intelligent Performance International (IPI). I found his talk fascinating, but these words keep echoing in my mind three years afterwards.
The theme of the training was on ‘Self Mastery’, which emphasised the need to identify our passions and master them professionally. Among the many topics mentioned, the one that really caught my attention was on failure. Probably because most of us are plagued by it and it is one of the constant obstacles along the road to success.
Like in many other professions, Public Relations has breeds of cut-throats, quite ready to sap your eagerness to succeed. So, one has to watch out for all possibilities of failure lurking in every dark corner. But I want to dwell a bit more on Kambe’s thoughts.
Lack of clarity
Many professionals lack clarity in what they want and what they would like to achieve.
Without clarity, we most likely achieve little or nothing. It is like going half way but never intending to finish the journey.
Setting goals is the best way to ensure we achieve precision, keeping in mind that success comes in accepting the fact that achieving it, is not going to be easy. Therefore, as we start on different projects, PR practitioners need to have clarity on the projects and set goals that will help guide the intended end results.
Lack of competence
As a person, what is your competency?
Many of us fail to identify our abilities or skills to achieving the best outcomes. And if we do, we are not doing much to nurture these skills. Mastering a skill calls for a willingness to go the extra mile to be even better! Find an outstanding role model you can learn from. One thing we are good at is creating excuses and these must stop if we want to excel. PR practitioners should therefore identify and cultivate their skills. If your best skill is writing, continue doing it but as often as possible.
Lack of commitment
To master something may take an average of 10 years. We need to be patient and resilient if we want to come out successful and defeat failure. “Commitment means unreserved and unconditional action,” Dr. Kambe says.
He thinks professionals and even young people face the biggest challenge of courting short-term returns,
“We like one night stands!” he told the training participants. This is not any different from the PR profession. The assumption that you are going to practice the profession for only five years and suddenly you are an expert must be discouraged. Every day is a learning process.
Lack of consistency
How do you expect to remain at the top if you lack consistency? How much effort are you putting in to remain at the top? To beat failure one has to have a constant fire of steadiness burning. Do not assume that because you have achieved something big, you have finally reached your destination. In fact, you should consider what you are going to do next to maintain the momentum.
If we do not want to stare in the face of failure, never be too comfortable with where you are at any one time! This is especially true in PR. Just because you have cracked the next big idea does not mean the end. Keep in mind that the stakes automatically rise with every other brilliant idea tabled and executed.
Lack of community
We need people to succeed. But what kind of people should you have around you?
Try and hang out with people better than you, who will stretch your intellectual capacity. These are the people who can challenge you to be better.
Dr. Kambe put it this way, “If your salary is the average of five people you hang around with, then you know you are not hanging out with the right people.”
Just because you are hanging around a bunch of PR ‘wannabes’ does not necessarily mean you are growing professionally. Learn to consider the facets and experiences related particularly to growing the profession and your own expertise.
Lack of coaching
Today, many people simply lack direction and are a constant prey for failure.
To dodge failure, may often mean getting a coach who can also be a mentor or teacher, basically someone to encourage us.
We need somebody to tell us once in a while, ‘everything is going to be okay’ or better yet, guide us on what we are doing wrong.
Do you have that person? Dr. Kambe says, “Some people are comfortable because they are doing okay, but let’s ask ourselves: ‘Are we where we want to be?’ If not, find that one person who inspires you to do and be better.”
Remember if your ego ever gets in the way of learning, then that is the end. The path to success becomes but a glimpse of hope. I am still proudly learning. What about you?