Our New York office happens to be housed in the wonderful WeWork Bryant Park location, and we love all of the special things they do for us as members -- that includes celebrating one of my favorite days of the year, May 4, aka Star Wars Day! Among the perks today: Princess Leia cinnamon rolls, popcorn and snacks, and of course, movies streaming from a projector! It got me thinking about the Star Wars story and how there are so many things you can learn and apply to your career in PR (or any other field), as well as life in general. Here’s a few lessons that come to mind:
Be mindful and positive! Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate… you get the picture. As with anything, when challenged to do something scary or out of your comfort zone -- whether it’s leading a presentation, calling a reporter or managing multiple deadlines -- it’s important to take a break, clear your mind and stay positive. Don’t be like Anakin and give into negative thoughts! Be like Luke and stay true to the course you know is right. If you do, you won’t fail!
Believe, learn, repeat. During Luke’s training with Yoda on Dagobah, he’s pessimistic about lifting his X-wing from the swamp, and when he lets those thoughts take over, he’s unable to do so. Luke can’t believe it when Yoda gets the job done. “That is why you fail,” Yoda says. Key learning: at the very minimum, the most important thing you can when facing a challenge is to believe you can do it. The rest will fall into place. As Yoda tells Luke, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
In PR, we don’t always get the pitch right, but it’s through the experience of writing, revising, and giving it another shot that we learn what works. Get your feet wet, learn from your mistakes and make the next time a success.
Be prepared… but also for the unexpected. From PR plans to timelines to workback plans to trackers, we know how important it is to be prepared as well as to anticipate probable change. But sometimes, we learn best by being thrown into the lion’s den: being confronted with a client crisis; tackling a task we feel we’re not ready for; or participating in a meeting that’s way over our head. We have to deal with surprising scenarios at one point or another, and they happen regularly in our profession. But, they’re also reminders that thinking on your feet is a tool you’ll always have to carry with you. It’s not always a second-nature instinct -- so that means the more you experience, the more you build up this skillset.
Most Jedi start training as small children, but Luke only had a short amount of time before he confronted his biggest challenge (Dad!). And while there was nothing he could do to prepare him for the fact that he’d (unknowingly) kiss his own sister, he approached everything else with courage, tenacity and a think-on-your-feet mentality. Be scrappy!
Tell it like it is! I can’t finish this post without the cherry on top: all the wonder of Princess Leia. She’s the embodiment of what a powerful, strong woman should be -- a quality much treasured at Cutline. Leia is fearless. With a no-holds-barred spirit, she speaks her mind, tells the truth, and she looks great while doing it, too! She has her dramatic princess moments, but at the end of the day, she’s real and that’s what counts. Reporters don’t want to see themselves on a newsletter blast or read a formulaic pitch -- they want to know a story, what’s important and factual, and why it matters.
So thank you to Star Wars, for all you continue to teach us -- and may The Force be with us all!
RIP Carrie Fisher. <3