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In my line of work, many people come to me wanting big publicity. The national kind that comes with millions of eyeballs, massive circulation and thousands of people spreading their message to their friends and family. Publicity that shapes policy, changes lives and has an enduring impact on the world as we know it.
They want the stadium. And our world of pop stars, red carpets and reality shows convince many people that there’s a Honey Boo Boo Child opportunity out there for all of us. They would be wrong.
Despite the most aggressive “overnight successes,” truly earth-shaking campaigns take months and years to build. Lots of them fail. Others do well, but never get to that “Radio GaGa” moment.
So where do you start? A couple thoughts:
1. Why Am I Here? You have to understand what you’re setting out to do and how you’re going to change the world. It needs to be different – preferably unique – and achieve a specific goal. Otherwise you’ll end up spinning your wheels (and maybe burning a lot of cash).
2. Write It Down. Nothing forces us to clarity like putting our thoughts down on paper. It’s why diet gurus and self help coaches tell us to post our goals and progress on the refrigerator: because we have to look at that scrap of paper every day and admit when we’ve fallen down. Writing something down not only provides clarity, it’s also the ultimate bullshit test.
3. Take baby steps. You will NOT change the world in a day. Or a week. Maybe not even in a year. Break your plan into daily, attainable goals that blaze as clear and straight a path to your end product as possible. And be realistic about how long it’s going to take you to get to the end. Don’t stress yourself out along the road, lest you doom yourself to failure.
4. Make friends, eliminate waste. Teaming up can be great, as friends help carry the load and bring you new circles of people to work with and sell to. But not every new addition to your army will be a good one. Don’t get sidetracked by people with their own agendas, or who want to grab your wheel and steer for a while. Cut them loose, politely, without burning bridges.
5. Grab the brass ring when it comes. Never miss an opportunity to do something you know is the right thing. Make short term sacrifices for long term gains. Know the difference.
Only lottery winners and beauty queens wake up the next day with their lives completely changed. The rest of us have to work at it.