I felt like a fraud.
This month has been the busiest I’ve been in a long while – and we still have 8 days to go.
By now, you may know that I am a public relations consultant and lead the team at Mosron Communications – a full service public relations consultancy practice in Lagos, Nigeria. As a relative unknown in the industry, we have mostly worked with growing organisations or large institutions whose senior management have at one time or the other worked with me in a personal capacity.
But recently, things took a turn: about 7 organisations reached out to us to present strategy documents to lead their PR efforts for 2020 or for a specific campaign.
That was a big deal.
Yet I messed up the first presentation. We were given a gentle let down (I am so thankful for those carefully chosen words because the person is someone I really respect) but the feedback was clear: you don’t seem capable of handling a project of this magnitude.
But I knew we could. What could have gone wrong? I was distraught: this was a big opportunity I had messed up. But even more important for me was the perception that this potential client and respected individual now had of me: she’s all mouth and no substance. (Lol – the client never said that though; that was my interpretation to our conversation.)
Instead of wallowing in self-pity (which I indulged in for about 8 hours; I literally shut down!) I started asking questions. I asked senior PR colleagues, showed the document we had submitted – the consensus was the same: sound strategy, awful presentation of ideas.
These constructive feedback led to us making unprecedented investments and strategic changes. With renewed vigor, we went back to work and delivered the material to the next client. This time, the feedback was astounding!
Hitherto, comments were mild “good job’. This time it was “This is fantastic! Your team did an awesome job!” “Wow!”
There again, I learnt that focusing on your core skills is critical for growth if you want your business to scale fast.
Many times, when an organisation tries to cut cost by assigning specific assignments to staff whose specialisation is not in that space, they also cut income potential significantly.Tolulope Olorundero
Now, I have come to accept my limitations: I’m only a design wannabe. When serious work is required, get the professionals to do what they know how to do best. The result for me also was instantaneous: I was now completely focused on the creative and strategic process when I stopped worrying about how to design documents. We covered more grounds faster than ever!
Why have I said all this?
In a week’s time, I will be speaking during TWO sessions at the Social Media Week Lagos event. I had known since last year, was excited about it and was prepared – until I started feeling like a fraud.
Lolz. Interestingly, because of this experience, the drastic changes we made and the results that have come in so far – I not only feel even more prepared to speak, there are cogent business lessons I can share.
I battled with the question: at what point do you tell your story? When you have it all figured out? When you are writing the last chapter of your life’s book? Every time you win big, or failures can be shared too? When can you truly say: I have something to share and I know it will be of benefit, if you listened?
Today, I remembered that it was because people failed/refused to share both their low and high moments in their pursuit of passion and entrepreneurship – that is why many of us coming after struggle through the same challenges.
So, I am staying true to my personal brand values of authenticity, integrity and audaciousness and vulnerability.
Join any of my sessions at the Social Media Week – let’s talk about the real things: how to GET the job, and how to DO the job.
My name is Tolulope Olorundero aka Tolucomms. If you forget anything you’ve read so far, remember this: