Once upon a time half-a-globe-away from home somewhere in the middle of exercising my usual bookworm habit and projecting the author’s experience on my adventures ego I stumbled upon Liz Gilbert’s speculation on happiness. “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it,” she said in her bestseller “Eat Pray Love.”
The idea stung bitterly. I have “traveled around the world looking for it.” But was I happy? No.
I quickly rushed through the happiness factors checklist created by M. Seligman, a founder of positive psychology.
Supportive family – checked, friends – the best one could ever have, romantic relationships – sort of, a satisfying career perspective… Emmm…
So a crucial element of “happy and fulfilling life” was lacking. My mind started racing. There were those tiny pieces of personal victories and achievements? But how do I match them into one whole vibrant picture? Mentally I started creating another checklist to evaluate my skills.
To begin with, I had obviously developed a taste for writing. I was head over heels in love with word combinations and sentence structures.
Next, I decided, I knew how to express my thoughts and deliver the information to a listener. Time spent teaching contributed to presentation skills and the ability to speak up.
I also remembered my recklessness when during the university years I took on a responsibility of managing rock events not knowing much about event management but desperately passionate about music. Since it worked out well I could say I was a quick learner.
The hopefully critical self-assessment rang the bell. The answer was clear: my favourite course in the university psychology program, psychology of PR and advertising! Bang!
Skills packed up, fears left at home, and here I am, again half-across the globe from home, in the coolest postgrad program in the oldest college of Toronto. It hasn’t been a month yet, but I feel like my whole personality is reshaping. I’ve taken a new approach with looking at the news and feel like a social media addict is growing in me. Now every FB post is an experimental material in terms of responses it gets.
The thrill of entering a PR profession is in its continuous evolving. The media has reshaped dramatically in the recent years which made it simultaneously easier and harder for a PR professional to do the job. In our “speak-up” era, when everyone can voice an opinion, engaging general public into a dialogue became possible as never before. But on the other hand, being heard in the chaotic choir of different voices takes skills and wit.
Growing social corporate responsibility and increasing awareness of global issues makes it even more interesting. Now when companies actually make an effort to build relationships with their clients the demand of PR specialists has steeply grown. And that’s good news for us, establishing professionals.
The biggest personal challenge though is trying the new cultural context. Some boldness to the point of recklessness is required to enter a profession heavily dependent on culture when being new to the country. But what's the fun in staying in a comfort zone?
Once in a while I turn my thoughts back to the comfort of home. But then as an inner response I hear in my head loud and clear Steve Job’s: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Don’t settle.”