I've gotten together with several industry leaders in recent days to commiserate on the economic holocaust. We agreed that losing existing clients and prospective ones hurts even more in a downturn. We also agreed that it's difficult not to take these losses personally. But, we seemed to differ on how we're coping with the crisis.
The people with whom I met looked bedraggled, bedeviled and just plain beaten down. There was an air of resignation about them. And, that scared me. These are people who have attained significant success but are, now, clearly, projecting fear (which one never, ever wants to do).
I don't know this for a fact, but I bet these people define themselves by their business. Their business is their persona so, when it ebbs, so, too, do their hale and hearty ways.
I've suffered in these past six months. But, I've been able to introduce all sorts of new and invigorating challenges that literally force me to take my mind off the losses and setbacks.
I'm not advocating comedy, climbing or triathlons for everyone, but successful businesspeople need outlets to help them survive the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
So, whether its stamp collecting, star gazing or basket weaving, find other ways in which to define yourself. It will help the next time:
– A client of seven years puts the account up for review, but tells you not to worry because the incumbent always wins
– A Midwest prospect invites your team to pitch their business, makes you wait two months for a response and then send a 'Dear agency' form letter
– A 'mole' within a prospect leads you astray after assuring you his strategy will help you win the day
– A close, personal friend suddenly and inexplicably cuts off all communication.
PR is like life. Resiliency is key to longevity. And, resiliency is key to projecting a strong image and reputation as well. I long ago learned to follow the advice of the Eagles 'victory' song: 'I'm already gone.'
Get over it and move on.
Thanks Ken. I do appreciate it. It’s cool to let down one’s hair among friends, but one needs to be aware of the non-verbals in any and all business settings.
Steve: You hit the nail on the head. Agency leaders must also remember that followers have the radar set on HIGH, desperately seeking signals of confidence that communicate “Together, we can weather this storm.” Here’s a link to a post I did on that subject, which mentions the RepMan:
Rep, I couldn’t agree more. You’ve got to find other things to do to help you have an identity well beyond your agency or company. I’ve recently given the same advice to several clients who feel like failures because the business is struggling.
We all have other contributions to make and other passions to pursue that have meaning to us. We all need to pursue them with vigor.