Don’t Let The Big Dogs Scare You

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communications, Interview, Olivia, Public Relations, Skills, Uncategorized

by Olivia Humphreys ~

A Tale about Communication, Adoption and The NFL

My boyfriend and I recently adopted the world’s sweetest dog, Flora, from the Clay County Humane Society. According to the shelter, she is a lab/terrier mix, almost two years old, and was brought in as a stray by the police.

She’s actually as sweet as she looks!
She’s actually as sweet as she looks!

Now that we’ve had Flora for a few months, we know what she likes and what she doesn’t like.

What she likes: snuggling, terrorizing the cat, chewing on bones and sticks, Puggles (her best friend at the dog park is a Puggle named Roxy), and playing chase and wrestling with small dogs.

You don’t even have to be sitting down for her to want to snuggle.
You don’t even have to be sitting down for her to want to snuggle.

What she doesn’t like: being left at home, retrieving balls, being introduced to new people, when new people try to pet her, and big dogs.

For the most part, she gets along just fine with bigger dogs. But about once a month, typically when she’s chasing a Puggle, a few big dogs will start to join in the fun and Flora’s reaction is to become incredibly submissive, roll over and cower.

When this happens, the other dogs will pick up on her energy, begin nipping at her and refuse to let her run away. There’s typically a lot of barking, yelping, teeth baring, and people trying to corral their dogs when this happens.

So far, she’s come out of each attack unscathed physically. Mentally, she’s set back a few weeks and it takes a lot of coaxing and interactions with nice big dogs to get her comfortable with them again.

So at this point, you’re probably like, this is a nice story, but what does this have to do with me?

If you’re a person who can go through life completely confident in every social situation you’re ever in, then absolutely nothing. You can stop reading now because you probably won’t learn anything else.

But if you’re like the rest of the world, chances are there are situations that make you wish you could cower and run away to your happy place.

For a lot of people, this situation occurs when you do something Flora doesn’t like to do either: meet new people for the first time.

Going up and talking to someone is incredibly terrifying. Trust me, I know. But if you’re a person working in the communication industry, you have to learn how to overcome it in order to start networking.

There’s one experience that helped me overcome my fear of talking to people, and it didn’t happen in college. It happened at Super Bowl Media Day in 2012, when I was a senior in high school.

Me with the other contest winners.
Me with the other contest winners.

I won a competition for high school sports journalists that enabled me to go to Super Bowl Media Day. I assumed it would be set up like a regular press conference and I would sit there and watch all of these professional journalists interview Tom Brady and Eli Manning and a few of the other players and coaches.

Man, was I wrong.

Basically, the event takes place on the entire field. There are booths set up for the star players to sit in and everyone else on the team wanders around the field with all of the journalists.

Andre Brown from the NY Giants
Andre Brown from the NY Giants.

So, picture this in your head. I’m an 18-year-old tiny girl surrounded by these giant football players, a lot of them stars, and I can just walk right up to any of them and start talking to them.

 

Brian Waters from the NE Patriots in one of the special booths
Brian Waters from the NE Patriots in one of the special booths.

Much like Flora is now, I was a terrier in a pen full of German Shepherds, Great Danes and Rottweilers.

It was positively terrifying.

Until I realized one extremely important detail: they were people, just like me.

They were all just as excited to be there as I was and were so happy to talk to me. You can see how excited and friendly they were in the video I made for my internship at D3TV at DePauw University.*

Danny Woodhead may have been the only player on the field who was my size
Danny Woodhead may have been the only player on the field who was my size.

Although I made a fool of myself by asking absurd questions the lesson learned that day is the one that has been the most valuable to me in my career as a public relations professional. I understand that not everyone can go to Super Bowl Media Day and interview football players to get over their fear of talking to people. But for anyone in the communications industry, it is so incredibly vital to be able to talk to anyone about anything at anytime.

And when you start to see people as actual people and not their titles, it makes it substantially easier to do that.

Yes, I still get butterflies in my stomach sometimes when I talk to “important” people, but it doesn’t ever stop me from actually talking to them. It definitely takes a while to get comfortable just walking up to people and talking to them, but don’t be like Flora and let bad experiences discourage you or set you back.

So you have a choice, continue to be the terrier that cowers and only ever plays with Puggles, or be the terrier that learns to run with all of the dogs at the dog park.

*You can also read about my experience at Super Bowl Media Day here.

 

flora

 

by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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Embracing My Ruby Slipper Syndrome

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Career Change, Happiness, Olivia, Public Relations

When I was in second grade I made my acting debut as a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz. I used to watch the movie all of the time when I younger. I especially loved the end when Judy Garland’s Dorothy finally made it home and realized she had been having lucid dreams.

 I’m in the bottom right with the other Lullaby League girls. I distinctly remember singing Happy Birthday for my audition piece.
I’m in the bottom right with the other Lullaby League girls. I distinctly remember singing Happy Birthday for my audition piece.

As the years went by and my focus shifted away from musical theater and onto school, the Wizard of Oz drifted from my radar.

That is, until the other day, when I learned about the Ruby Slipper Syndrome in Kivi Leroux Miller’s Nonprofit Marketing Guide email newsletter.

You can’t see it, but we sprayed an unbelievable amount of glitter on our hair and bodies. I’m pretty sure I sparkled in the sun for three years after the final curtain call.
You can’t see it, but we sprayed an unbelievable amount of glitter on our hair and bodies. I’m pretty sure I sparkled in the sun for three years after the final curtain call.

The premise is that you seek out what you think you want in life, only to realize you actually want what you’ve had all along. So basically, you’re Dorothy trying to get away from your family and the evil woman who wants to take your dog, only to realize “there’s no place like home.”

Ruby Slipper Syndrome is not to be confused with fearing change. I full heartedly embrace change and strongly encourage you to as well. It will make your life substantially easier, I promise.

Ruby Slipper Syndrome focuses more on realizing you already have what you need in life to be happy. Not that you’re pursuing something because it’s easier and less scary.

To some degree, this is my life in a nutshell. Minus the wicked woman, a dog that bites and all of the lucid dreams.

I started college dead set on being a sports broadcaster. I was going to be the next Erin Andrews or Sage Steele. I had everything going for me and no reason not to follow through.

Me at the 2012 Super Bowl Media Day interviewing Giants punter, Steve Weatherford, who happens to be one of my best friend’s cousins.
Me at the 2012 Super Bowl Media Day interviewing Giants punter, Steve Weatherford, who happens to be one of my best friend’s cousins.

Until I started learning more about the career. I was told by countless professional women in the field I would have to give up my job, my family, my friends, holidays, weekends, and basically everything I’ve ever cared about.

As I became more immersed, I realized they were right. It forced to step back during my sophomore year of college and think about what I valued most.

I grew up in a close-knit family. My entire immediate family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – live within 30 minutes of my childhood home. My parents worked from 8-5 on the weekdays and half day on Saturday so I always knew I would see them on the weekends. Fishing trips with dad, shopping with mom, watching musicals with my grandparents, and volunteering with my aunt filled my childhood days.

How could I not have had a phenomenal childhood? I had a Barbie comforter for Pete’s sake!
How could I not have had a phenomenal childhood? I had a Barbie comforter for Pete’s sake!

And I loved every minute of it. I’m extremely grateful I had all of those opportunities, because I know most people don’t.

For four years I dreamed of being a sports broadcaster and was so close to actually doing it. I loved sports, writing and acting. It was the perfect combination of all three. But what good would that be if I didn’t have friends or family to come home to every night and share in my success?

In the months leading up to my junior year, I decided to make a career change. I switched to public relations. I knew the lifestyle would be more conducive to my building the life I actually wanted for my future children, which closely mirrors my own childhood.

Now I have an 8-5 job, the weekends off, plenty of friends, a beautiful cat and dog, a fantastic boyfriend and a great relationship with my family, who is only an hour away.

So am I victim of Ruby Slipper Syndrome? Yes, but I’m okay with that because I’m doing what I want to in life.

And doing what you want and surrounding yourself with caring people who love you is how you will thrive in your career, relationships and life.

by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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