If you work in government communications every day can be like riding a wave.
- You get great feedback from the Secretary.
- You have a difficult meeting.
- Your media release gets through two Executive with limited changes!
- You drop the ball, and it frustrates a client.
- A staff member lets you down.
- Your manager covers your communications strategy in red pen.
- You have a great coffee catch up with a client.
- The Ministers media adviser yells at you. Because it’s a Tuesday.
In one day, you can go from feeling on top of your game to useless and ineffective. There have been many times when I have wanted to give up. Convincing myself that I am not good enough, that I don’t have the talent, skills or nous to make it. That it wasn’t worth the hard work and long hours. Then I would have a great meeting where the CEO sought out my opinion and agreed with me, or a client sent me a thank you email for my great work. And I would be up – I loved my job, and I was great at it.
It’s rough. Some days going to work is like a slow crawl through enemy territory, other days I am running on clouds. I don’t know if other professions get the same highs and lows, but it’s certainly prevalent in comms.
This is not something people talk about. I googled it. People don’t write about it either. There is a stereotype that communications people – are confident, creative, extroverts. Guess what we aren’t (well not all of us). I have worked with some amazing communications professionals, and all of them have times of self-doubt and loss of confidence.
It’s highly unlikely we can be confident all of the time. Maybe the sooner that we acknowledge that we can only be super confident in brief spurts, the sooner we can recognise where we are and get comfortable with the ups and downs.
Maybe it’s actually ok to second-guess ourselves every now and then. Some great things come out of being at that low point. Because when you lose confidence, you tend to double-check things, picking up obvious errors that you may not of when you were feeling super confident. You work harder and probably achieve more. It’s about knowing why you are reacting the way you are and going with it. Maybe riding the wave is not such a bad thing.