Once I was delivering a pitching webinar to 3,500 people, live. I fought back my nerves and skipped the typical intro, background, bio and stuff. Right at the top, I dove into sharing five successful pitch examples. My anxiety ebbed as I hit points I believed would really help the audience.
And then out of the corner of my eye I saw the questions coming in over the chat box, poking holes in why the examples weren’t relevant to individual questioners. Not something that had ever happened to me before. Here’s an example:
“These somewhat obscure stories get great coverage because they’re creative, but can you discount the fact that you have GREAT existing relationships already?”
I suppose it’s natural to look for excuses for why we’re not succeeding when others are. But I didn’t want listeners to shortchange themselves out of potential growth.
So I set aside my notes and encouraged them to, yes, be realistic about their circumstances, but look for reasons they CAN succeed, rather than for reasons they’ll fail before they even start.
And then I said something that became the most-tweeted quote from the webinar. And that’s funny because I not only didn’t have it in my notes, I’d never said it before or even thought it before that moment:
“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end.”
You and I see somebody else’s glistening placement in a sought-after media outlet. We don’t see the hours of planning, prep and execution. And we certainly don’t see the frustration when things went wrong, when pitches got ignored or when clients went AWOL. So when we consider our current progress (or lack of it) compared to others’ triumph, the gap can seem insurmountable.
Instead we should visualize our successful conclusions and seek out others’ successes we can aspire to emulate. Not only is this attitude more effective, life is also much more fun lived this way.
Michael Smart teaches PR professionals how to dramatically increase their positive media placements. He’s engaged regularly by organizations like General Motors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Georgia Tech to help their media relations teams reach new levels of success. Get more media pitching knowledge from Michael Smart here.