Overcoming the fear of screwing up

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It is not news that digital communication is a highly competitive and intensely fierce sector to work in. Social Media is a whole world on its own, with its own requirements and rules. If you are one of the lucky ones who work in this industry, you can relate to the amount of stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation we have to endure in order to get the job done in a timely manner, and delivering outstanding results. When dealing with large customer accounts, especially in the entertainment industry, us workers also have to constantly deal with the ever-present fear of screwing things up; let’s face it, these are gigantic corporations we’re talking about, and they won’t accept anything but pure perfection from their Social Media managers. While the environment can sometimes (…well, maybe always) be hectic, the reward of being involved in something at such a large scale, with the capacity to reach out to thousands of people simultaneously, can be incredibly fulfilling…and scary. It is important to bear in mind a few tricks that experience has taught me over time, to get rid of your ghosts and let your work speak for itself: 1)      Be YOU!: Now, this is the first step towards submerging yourself into the Social Media world because, after all, you are communicating with others and you want to make sure you come off as human…or as humanly as you can be. Companies, just like people, have different personalities, and just like you, there might be one that desperately needs your quirky, serious, fun or transgressive traits to communicate their message. Just make sure you’re good about opening yourself to a whole community. giphy 2)      Be ready to be criticized: and get your hopes and dreams shattered in one second…only joking, but seriously, we come into the world to judge and be judged, especially when it comes to showing your own work. The best attitude to adopt is a positive one by keeping a receptive attitude to criticism, even if it doesn’t come in the most constructive way. Separate yourself from the problem and don’t take what your customer, employer or the Social Community says, to you too much at heart. Take the criticism and turn it into something great. giphy (1) 3)      Be flexible but know your limitations: it’s very important to show yourself as available and that you are happy with the work that’s being handed to you, but it’s ok to say NO when you have honest reasons to believe something won’t work. Showing gratitude by saying yes to everything might backfire on you, making you less effective and awesome than you can be. giphy (2) 4)      Plan ahead of time as much as you can: when chunks of work are constantly being thrown at you, it might seem like an impossible task to get organized, but if that’s the case, set for yourself a schedule of activities and if you must, ask your employer or coworkers for a few minutes to gather your thoughts and organize your daily or weekly work.  The 15-minute daily routine may seem silly when you have all those fires to put out, but once you start with it, the quality of your work will improve by leaps and bounds. giphy (3) 5)      Have fun! So ok, you’re a bundle of nerves or stress. We get it, we’re all alive, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be having fun with your work. Social Media is like XXI century art (minus the hippies, unless you’re one, then it’s totally cool; refer to 1.), so think about what you want to say and do so as an expression of yourself that you share with the world. What could be more fun than doing what you love and getting paid for it? giphy (5) 6)      It’s ok to screw up: you might be a control freak, we are all that way when it comes to showcasing what we think we’re good at, so it’s ok to want things to be as perfect as you can make them. However, making mistakes is part of the learning process, so don’t be afraid to take some risks and expect great things. If it doesn’t work you can always apologize and try again. Just make sure you don’t screw things up for the sake of it. As long as you have genuine motives and your instinct (with good judgment) tells you so, go for it! (Advise: refrain from making a lot of decisions while under the influence of flu/cold medication). giphy (4) 7)      Ask for help: no one expects you to be an insufferable know-it-all. On the contrary, your team will be happy to step in for you if you need a hand. Asking for help is not showing weakness, it’s actually being strong enough to let your pride aside and accept that with the help of others, things can be better. The world wasn’t made in one day by one person, and neither will your work. giphy (6) 8)      Speak up your mind! If you feel something’s wrong or could be improved, don’t be afraid to say so and discuss options with your team and customers. Kindness and respect are strongly advised, especially if you’re dealing with a sensitive issue. Plus, it’s nice to be nice. giphy (8) 9)      Believe in yourself: just because things get hard sometimes, doesn’t mean you’re not amazing at what you do. People saw something in you and you should too. Be confident and continue to strive for greatness. giphy (7)   By Diego González Alzate

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