Those of you who know me will know there are two things that occupy a large part of my time – fitness and PR. For a long time, these have felt in conflict. When I am in the gym I can feel guilty I am not working (or contributing at home), when I am working all hours and mess up my training routine I can feel guilty the other way. Yet the more I focused, the more I realised the deep connection. Thinking about how I can optimise my body and mind and thinking about how I can optimise the reputations and public image of my clients, have interesting similarities.
I am therefore excited to launch a new series that I have been planning for some time, drawing on the lessons I have learnt from fitness, where I strive to reach my own Personal Records (PR) in everything I do, and bringing the same principles and ideas into the day job, the world of Public Relations.
A little context first. This is not a blog offering health or diet advice, but a business focussed analysis on how to do PR better. However, I do believe some background is helpful. For most of my adult life until I was 35, I was happily overweight and whilst not totally unfit – I played 5-a-side football regularly and occasionally went to the gym – I had no regard for what I put into my body and no appreciation of how to get the most out of it. It did not really bother me until it did. Realising belatedly that I was not looking after myself properly. Following a severe back injury (done whilst lying on a deck-chair – I kid you not!) I concluded I needed to change.
So, in December 2015 I decided to change my lifestyle completely and dedicate myself to a life of healthy eating and regular exercise. To do this, I had to be focussed, plan for the short and long term, develop my expertise (in training and nutrition), stay committed to my approach, and keep on having realistic yet stretch goals – sound familiar?
This is not about my own personal journey, but for background it is worth sharing that in one year I dropped from 105kg (I am 6 foot 3 inches, 190cm) to 80kg and most important of all in the time since I have maintained this lifestyle – improving in critical areas both mentally and physically. It is a constant journey of progress, improvement, and reflection. It was not a New Year’s resolution fad but a commitment to a new lifestyle. In the five years since I have dedicated much of my life to improving my personal fitness, setting new Personal Records, learning about what to put in (to my body) and what to exert out. After a period of some reflection, and not a little inspiration from some of the great sporting coaches and performance psychologists, whose books and podcasts I devour, it is clear to me that this knowledge is both very applicable to life and business in general, but also PR in particular.
Each blog in the series is going to focus on a different critical element of health and fitness and show how applying these principles to PR will lead to better results. I will use real life case studies to illustrate the points and show how to optimise both your Public Relations and Personal records.
I will be talking about:
– Planning – any great coach will tell you that success needs careful planning – how often you train, what you do, how you do it, what you consume. These all need to be considered. The same goes with a successful communications campaign, last minute is very often last place.
– Consistency – one hit wonders do nothing for physical fitness and do nothing for your reputation.
– Goal setting – you need to know what you are aiming at. It needs to be defined, it needs to be tough, stretch, improbable even, but achievable.
– Play the long game – nothing of value ever came easy.
– Flexibility – every successful athlete has a flexible body and a flexible mind. Same in PR where nothing is guaranteed, and you are the mercy of a myriad of external factors.
– Inputs not just outputs – if you only focus on what you exert, and not want you consume then you will never achieve your sporting or fitness goals. With PR it is so easy and common to only be interested in achieving quick results, without focusing enough on the key milestones along the way.
– Know your competition – there is no point focusing on only beating yourself when your competitor is running one second faster. How many great campaigns have been wasted because a competitor steals your thunder?
– Work with the best – any professional tennis player knows how to hit a ball, any CEO knows how to pitch their company. But, does flying solo and ignoring expert advice get the best results?
In each blog I will focus on a different attribute and draw on real life experiences from 15 years of advising clients from all around the world on protecting and enhancing their reputations, showing how applying these principles will lead to outstanding results.
I hope you find this series helpful, challenging, thought-provoking, or at the very least not dull and worthy of five minutes of your precious time.
In the words of Phil Jackson, the great Chicago Bulls coach from the 90s, “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength”.
See you next time.