From the Frontlines of Fatherhood: What my seven-month-old has taught me about PR and life...

Matthew Briggs

As a proud new dad to a seven-month-old baby girl, I’m looking forward to my first Father’s Day. It feels like just yesterday I was making a Father’s Day creation for my dad in kindergarten out of construction paper. Now I’m the one running (ok, scooting) to catch a train into work. How things change...

Aside from the interrupted sleep and drool stains on my shirt, fatherhood has been an amazing ride. In the short few months that my wife and I have been parents, my seven-month-old has taught us a lot. Patience. Persistence. The appreciation of sleep. The list goes on.

As a parent you spend a lot of your time trying to teach your child things, but if you stop to think about it, they are constantly teaching you as well. As one month rolls into the next, I took a step back to reflect on what I’ve learned so far. In the course of doing so, I couldn’t help but realize the similarities between fatherhood, PR and life in general:

 

  • Baby Steps – My daughter loves standing up (with our help). She just wants to go go go, but doesn’t yet realize the importance of taking things one step at a time. Crawl before you walk. Stop, step back and read the signs and signals before forging ahead with an idea. Start in your comfort zone and then push the boundaries of what’s possible. Along the way, be measured and take things in stride.
  • Know Your Audience – Remember that people might be hearing or seeing something for the very first time. Know their level of previous knowledge and experience on a given topic. Don’t assume that the buzzwords and the ideas are familiar and easily absorbed. Much like we’re teaching my daughter things for the first time, we have to balance the passion with being educational. Don’t get frustrated. Get creative.
  • Attitude is Everything – Our daughter feeds off our own energy. Our mood reflects her mood. Bring the passion and enthusiasm to every project, campaign or client interaction. It will pay dividends.
  • Follow Through – When my daughter decides to do something, she does it. It doesn’t matter how difficult the task seems to her. She doesn’t give up and pushes through. Even though her goals may be small to us (figuring out how to empty her container of building blocks), it’s a good lesson for all of us as we set out to achieve our bigger goals.
  • Experience is the Best Teacher – Chewing on my teething ring feels good. Biting my hand hurts. Learn from your experiences – the good and the bad – and impart your knowledge to those around you.
  • It Takes a Village – My wife and I are fortunate to have loving family and friends to help us along this crazy adventure. Just as we rely on them, so too do our teams rely on each other to meet goals and help our clients’ business succeed. Ask for help and offer it up when needed.
  • Sleep On It – I don’t remember the last time I got the recommended seven hours of sleep, but regardless, it’s always a good reminder that big decisions often require special attention. Don’t rush into things. Take the time to make big decisions and brainstorm new campaigns before presenting and executing on them.
  • Be Present – My daughter sees something in front of her and focuses only on that one thing. In an industry where multi-tasking is a must, there’s a lot to be said for focusing on the task at hand. Draw upon lessons from the past and always be thinking about the future, but most importantly, be present, focused and engaged. Good segue into the last life lesson...
  • Just Go For It – Be fearless. Approach every situation with a focused head and an open heart. You’ll be happy with the results.

In PR (and in life) things don’t always go as anticipated. The important thing is that we adjust and adapt. This couldn’t be more applicable to raising a child. If my wife and I find ourselves getting frustrated when things don’t go as planned (and trust me, 99% of the time they don’t!), we have to remind ourselves that our daughter just as new at this thing called life as we are with bringing her into it.

Whether you’re raising a baby or executing a PR campaign, at the end of the day it’s all about patience, passion and in some instances, pacifiers. At the starting line of fatherhood, I can only imagine the countless life lessons my daughter will impart on me. I can’t wait. In the meantime, Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. And if you’re even newer to this thing called fatherhood than I am, remember that there’s always tomorrow for that extra load of laundry or the dishes in the sink. Hit the hay early...you’ll thank me!

 

For a photo montage celebrating PAN Dads please click here: http://bit.ly/1sbA1pW

mattb dad

 

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