If you work in communications, you know PR refers to public relations. However, if you are a runner, PR has a different meaning: personal record.
Our daughters set personal records this weekend participating in the GO! St. Louis events. Jaimee participated in the 5K Saturday morning, and Jordan ran her first marathon Sunday morning. Seeing them strive for their own PR, I contemplated how to encourage a PR for students studying PR…that’s how the mind of an educator works!
As this semester winds down, I challenge students to take a look at their performance and determine what they can do to set a new personal record toward their goal as public relations professionals.
Since it was all about running this weekend with the Go! St. Louis events taking place, I came across this Huffington Post article that shares some life lessons learned from running. Here’s my teacher takeaways from the list.
1. You are stronger than you think. This can apply to your physical and mental strength. Attitude plays a big part in accomplishing any goal. The work may seem overwhelming; the hill may seem impossible, but if you tell yourself you can do it, and you actually keep “doing,” you will be at the top of that hill before you know it.
2. Every run is different. You can run the same loop at the same time two days in a row and feel like the queen of the world one day and the scum of the earth the next. It doesn’t say anything about you as a person — except that you’re normal. Same goes for writing. One day the creative juices are flowing and with “pen to paper,” the story comes to life, and then the next writing assignment just seems to scream, “You will never be a good writer!” You just have to keep up with the training–whether that is running or writing!
3. There is a fine line between being in pain and being injured. You have to learn where your line is and when to stop. Watching the marathon yesterday, I can tell you, I saw people running through pain! But sometimes, it does go beyond pain and runners are forced to stop. Depending on the injury, their training regiment may be altered for awhile, but I think the operative word here is stop – not quit. Runners still find ways to workout while recuperating from an injury; they don’t just quit all together. The same is true for writers. If you are suffering writing pains, you push yourself to keep writing–no pain, no gain. However, if your writing is bleeding out, it may be time to stop and seek professional help. Go to the writing center, get a writing tutor or sign up for a basic writing composition class. You don’t just quit; you find ways to build your writing strength.
4. Take rest days. Yes! We all love rest days, and so does your writing! Allowing your writing to rest before going back to it for editing, makes the revision process much more successful.
5. There’s something magical and indescribable about a comfortable pace and a good playlist. We all tend to do our best when we are in our zone. As writers, we each need to find our zone too. What works best for you? Complete silence? Music playing? Writing in the morning? Writing late at night? Find your own magic and put it to work for you.
6. The runner’s high is real, and once you’ve experienced it, there’s no turning back. For writers, getting that first piece of copy published is a high. It takes effort and time though. People just starting out running probably think of it as a daily drudgery too, but they push themselves to keep with it. Writers have to do the same.
7. It’s perfectly acceptable to skip happy hour because you were really looking forward to that evening (or tomorrow’s early-morning) run. OK, so this one might be a hard sell for me, so I’ll just say, it may need to be a professional decision on your part to skip happy hour if you know you have a writing assignment due! You may not be “really looking forward to it,” but it is due all the same. For some, a quick happy-hour stop with friends might do them good; for others, it might do them in. Know what works for you.
8. Sometimes cheering for a runner is even better than running. We feel good when we encourage others, and it can motivate us to try harder to stretch beyond our own limitations. Keep this in mind as you edit others’ writing.
9. Fancy gadgets and gear are fun, but they don’t make you a runner. Technology provides a lot of support for writers too, and they can certainly be helpful. Just remember, it is still your own hard work that gets you to your goal.
10. Running a “real race” is not a prerequisite to calling yourself a runner. But don’t be intimidated to try one. Yes, you are still in training, but don’t shy away from real-world writing opportunities either. I’ve only had a couple of students step out of their comfort zone this semester and try to get a piece of copy published. Don’t be intimidated to try.
11. Running is all about you. You determine your own goals. For some, that’s a marathon. For others, it’s making it around the block. As we all know, PR–public relations–allows for multiple career paths. Your PR–personal record–might be different from your peers. Determine your own goals and then work hard to achieve them.
12. Focusing on the horizon can make each step in front of you feel easier. For a first-time marathon runner, looking at the course map can almost seem ridiculously impossible! But if you break it down to each mile marker, it seems more do-able, and staying focused on the awesome sense of accomplishment ahead makes you keep going. The same is true for writing. Break the big tasks down into smaller chunks, and it will feel easier.
13. There are meditative powers in clearing your mind and focusing on your breath or the sound of your feet. Or the sound of your fingers tapping away on your keyboard. Many people find writing to be a stress reliever. Some students say this about their weekly blogging; clear your mind and find your writing focus.
14. The best way to explore a new city or learn a new route is on foot. And the best way to learn to be a more creative writer is to write…and read…and write…and read. Learning by doing; a simple concept, but it works.
15. Running is a common denominator. Runners always have something to talk about together. That’s the advantage of joining interest groups; even for the more introverted person, you can easily hold a conversation while networking when you share a common bond. Joining PRSSA while in college and joining PRSA after graduation, allows young professionals to build relationships with other like-minded people.