How Hiking Prepared Me for My Career
Growing up, I was never a very active kid. The most I moved my body was during dance, but I never got into traditionally athletic sports. I was the kid who complained the whole mile in gym class. But the one activity I have loved my whole life is hiking. There’s something so peaceful about going out and enjoying nature, especially as a Colorado native.
Hiking has, in many ways, prepared me for almost everything I encounter in life including, believe it or not, shaping my career. Here are a few hiking habits that I apply to my job every day — and you can, too!
Keep a positive attitude and always get back up again
So many long hikes have frustrated me in the past. I’ve thought to myself, This is longer than I expected, and I didn’t pack enough water or, Why did I think I could hike this far. While it’s easy to think negatively in these situations, it’s important to remember to think of the positive outcomes that will come from pushing through and meeting the goals I set at the beginning of the journey. In the office, we all have our rough days, but at a public relations agency, it’s especially important to stay positive. When your pitch doesn’t land as you wanted it to, pick yourself up and think of ways to improve and meet your goals. When a client event doesn’t go the way you had hoped, brush yourself off and think of positive ways you can change strategy for the next event. Keep your head up always!
Take a look at the big picture and set goals
Sometimes it can be challenging to think of the big picture on a hike when all you want to do is sit and take a break. Let’s say your final goal for the hike is to reach the top of the mountain. Before you even start, you have to take a step back and determine the best way to reach this goal. Once you put those tactics to work and you reach the top of the mountain, the views are breathtaking and the reward is well worth it. In public relations, it’s important to look at your strategy and determine what the end goal is before executing. Will these tactics make a positive impact on the big picture? If so, you’ll find the end results can be very rewarding!
Be a problem solver, not a complainer
Coming across a fork in a trail or an unfamiliar path is a frequent occurrence on a hike. When this happens, it’s time to put your thinking cap on and find a solution. Similarly, in public relations, it’s essential that we think of how to solve everyday problems. For example, if a client has a big campaign or launch that is outside of your expertise, put yourself in the client’s shoes and think of the best tactics that would benefit the brand. In PR, it’s important to always think of the solution rather than dwell on the issue itself. Think ahead, not in the past!
Always be prepared
Yes, this one is a little cliché, but hikers must always be prepared. You never know if it could rain, you could get hungry or you could run out of water. That’s why you should always pack an umbrella, a jacket, extra water and food just in case. At a public relations firm, you must always be prepared for anything. You never know when a client crisis could hit or if you may need to staff an interview in 30 minutes. Be prepared to be a strong voice for the client so they know that your team’s got this.
The next time you go on a hike (if that’s your thing), think about how the journey has parallels to your career. And don’t forget to pack lots of water!