As a new member of the Society of Professional Journalists, I am proud of what I have accomplished with the written word.
There have been a laundry list of people who have helped me fine tune my craft along the way. Good and bad conversations were had over the years and and lucky for me, tremendous teaching moments that stick by me to this day.
Honestly there’ve been times where I wanted to fire my computer out the window! The whole process can be very frustrating sometimes, but through all of this, writing has been more than rewarding.
I’ve been privileged to have countless conversations with athletes/personalities that are changing the lives of those around them each and every day. And to say that I’ve played a small part in sharing their story is a wonderful feeling.
When I started reaching out to people about interviews it was an arduous process. Countless emails and follow-ups with no response. And that’s expected. Without a name for myself in the industry I knew it would take time to set these up.
As time went by and the more interviews I conducted, I was able to gain the trust of the interviewees, their agents, and marketing teams. Before I would send anything to print, I would forward a copy for their approval. In my opinion, it was the right thing to do. These people would graciously spend their time speaking to me and the least I could do would be to prepare an accurate depiction of their story/life/activities in the most professional way that I could.
Once I would get their approval on the interview I would post. At that point I started receiving follow-up calls and emails saying that going that extra mile to ensure accuracy was more than they expected. Some even made some questionable decisions in their past that weren’t a secret. I made it clear up front that what had happened in their past was not the focus. The focal point was the positivity they were spreading with their actions since then. I developed a trusting relationship from that point going forward.
Whether it was on or off the field, their contributions to their communities or a cause they are/were passionate about, more often than naught, go unnoticed in the press. And that’s where I come in. I love hearing about the involvement, the giving, and the sheer compassion they have for those who need help.
Controversy creates headlines. In the environment we are in now, unfortunately it seems the only topics focused on or released by a news outlet or provider are negative. It’s not right, but it’s our reality.
Flipping the script, there is no reason why this mindset can’t be translated to an office environment. An honest conversation can be had with all employees regardless of their individual situations. As leaders, tough conversations will be occurring at some point, but that doesn’t mean you lose your humanity during the talks.
How will you develop relationships with your peers and direct reports? By speaking honestly. That trust you will develop will never be replaced. And because of that, people will work harder for you. It will become evident very quickly that you have their best interests at heart and you cannot fake that type of sincerity.