We passed Labor Day weekend and the “Hot Vax” summer seamlessly passed to the “Back to School / Back to Office” life. We’re almost back to the school buses, cabins and bridge and tunnel vibes of 2019!
Rather, we’re somewhere in our fourth (or fifth?) COVID wave, with lots of delays in opening offices and great anxiety at school. And, while we may have compartmentalized work and home in the past, that’s just not possible now. For us as individuals and as professional service providers, we will just have to “Embracer the Suck” as the military mantra says.
The Wall Street Journal Journalist Elizabeth Bernstein recently wrote the article “How To Deal With The Stress In Your Life: Embrace It”, where she broke down the phrase:
My Uncle Sidney, a retired U.S. Navy medic and Vietnam veteran, has a military phrase he uses as advice on what to do when life is ugly: Embrace the Suck.
He gave me this colorful advice in several stressful situations – when I was anxious about the deadline, facing a difficult family member, and most recently struggling with the pandemic.
“The point is, when you’re stuck, surrounded or in pain, you have to assess where you are, learn to live with it and try to move forward,” Uncle Sidney explains.
From a media relations perspective, almost every story is seen through COVID tinted glasses. To break through, it is crucial that opinion leaders avoid trying to act like a hard “reset” button has been pressed. This massive elephant remains firmly in the room, despite our best efforts to move it forward, and spawns media-rich developments like vaccine warrants, health care supplements, and employee testing.
Individually or as a business, you may not want to talk about the pandemic; but, you really can’t.
Collectively, we remain in a deplorable situation. However, as the pandemic progresses, there are new “winners” and maybe not “losers,” but certainly people who have missed their media rocket tricks.
What are the cohesive elements of success?
- Availability and willingness to express uncertainty.
- Be a quick study.
- Understand that today’s media topic of the day can be moved in minutes, with stories being deleted as new information becomes available.
The waves of COVID had media counterparts: bankruptcy, taxes, work and employment, health care, more taxes, more work and employment, traditional work, etc. remain abundant.
Professional services thought leaders and practice and industry group leaders also need to guard against the karmic drag of the pandemic that is undermining their creative spirit and entrepreneurial orientation.
Later in the article, Bernstein quotes Dr. Robyn D. Walser, clinical assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, on the importance of staying focused: means you let go of what matters to you.
What matters personally is paramount, but what matters to your firm and practice is also crucial. The business development plans inked in 2019, early 2020 or even last September need to be reviewed. New goals must be set. And a willingness to ride the wave of a news cycle where you can’t always give definitive answers must be embraced to help you and your brand stand out – and ultimately move forward. .