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Toughen Up, Buckle Down and Never Stop Learning

When pursuing a career in the fields of communications and public relations, one unavoidable aspect is the amount of time you end up spending in the public eye, especially in the area of politics. This comes with its own challenges, and those who are just starting out in these industries can find themselves intimidated by the face-to-face nature of these positions. They may find themselves asking questions like: What do I do if people don't agree with what I have to say? What if people respond negatively to me? and How can I prepare myself to work in an industry where people may have a LOT to say about who I am and what I represent?

The answer? Toughen Up, Buckle Down, and Never Stop Learning.

It may sound harsh, but this is lesson one. A wise man once said, "If you put yourself up on a platform, it's easier to get hit by tomatoes" and that still applicable today. Although as a society we have moved past the tradition of throwing fruit at people we disagree with, new ways of showing displeasure have become more readily available and even more public thanks to social media. And if you were to ask me, I'm not sure which sounds worse...being hit in the face with a tomato or being called a name on the internet...but as the old adage goes, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." And yes, words said to discredit us, or our cause may sting at the time of delivery but it's important to note, words are just that, words. And when you step into a position in the public eye, you'll need to brace yourself, because it's bound to happen. Toughen up, anticipate the worst, and know that what you're doing does make a difference, even on days when it doesn't feel like it.

And then once you've grown your tough skin, it's time to buckle down. You've made the decision to pursue an equally challenging and rewarding career path, and I'm assuming devoted a good amount of time and resources to trying to become the best. So, it's always helpful to remind yourself of the thing that inspired you in the beginning and use that reminder any time you're faced with a difficult task and use that inspiration and the knowledge that you're making a difference to steel you to keep going. The work that you're doing is needed and can be extremely rewarding. Don't give up.

Then when you've reached the point where nothing can phase you and you remember why you're doing what you're doing, then it's the perfect time to learn how to do something new, and eventually you end up at step one. You'll need to toughen up all over again. And so, you end up creating this cycle: lather, rinse, repeat. But all three are essential aspects of working with the public, and if practiced, will serve you well.

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