The journey to black belt

  • I’m thrilled to share a personal milestone: I’ve just earned my black belt in the martial art Choi Kwan Do. Whilst it’s primarily a personal accomplishment, I’ve realised how the journey to this achievement holds valuable lessons relevant to my work as a PR consultant.

    Time and patience: This journey took years of dedication and discipline. In the PR world, building relationships and trust also takes time. Patience is key, as lasting connections don’t happen overnight.

    Commitment to Completion: To reach black belt, requires unwavering commitment.  The same principle applies to my work. In PR, seeing a project through, no matter the obstacles and challenges is crucial to its success.

    Inner Resolve: Martial arts pushed me to find the self-discipline and resilience to overcome both mental and physical hurdles. These qualities are paramount in PR, especially when facing crises or difficult situations.

    Dedication: To reach this point, I had to put in the effort consistently.  Knowing my long-term goal, my strategy was ‘simply’ to put in the required work and as my instructor told me “do it until you can do it”.  In PR, dedication to clients and their goals is what sets us apart. Going the extra mile is often what makes the difference. Thinking long-term is crucial for stability and ongoing success.

    Listening:  You’ll never get anywhere in martial arts if you’re not prepared to listen closely to instructions and be prepared to learn from those who know better than you.  This applies in all spheres of life, including in PR.  As a consultant, my role is to advise and listen to my clients’ needs to help me best tailor this advice.

    The value of feedback:  Feedback is far more than just a list of what you might be doing wrong.  Given in a constructive way, it can help you to fine-tune your approach and make tweaks where necessary.  It’s all about two-way communication between consultant and client and developing a partnership based on mutual respect.

    Focusing on the positive: My daughter once pointed out that when my instructor asked how I was getting on, I would list everything I was doing wrong. “Don’t do that!” she said, “Focus on the positive. 90% of what you did was good, so why focus on a few little mistakes?”  She was right.  I was so fixated on every tiny little error that I was portraying myself in a bad light to our instructor instead of just leaving him to make up his own mind based on our performance.

    In business, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your work is not good enough, when the reality can often be that the opposite is true.  The reminder for me is to give yourself a break, don’t be your own worst enemy!

    What kind of leader am I?  As part of my training for black belt, I took on the role of assistant instructor, becoming qualified the same evening I achieved my black belt.  But what kind of leader am I, and what do we look for in those who lead us?  As an instructor, I like to focus on setting a good example and providing clear instructions with plenty of praise and encouragement. As a PR practitioner, I focus on quality, delivering on my promises, working in partnership with open communication based on trust and respect for each other’s knowledge, skills and experience.

    It has been a long road to a black belt.  I am proud of my achievement and am humbled by the lessons I have learned along the way.  I’m excited to help others learn the skills I have, and apply some of these qualities to my business.

    Massive thank you to all who’ve supported me along the way.


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