Friday, August 6, 2010

"They're not the best at what they do, they're the only ones who do what they do"

(Recycled blogpost from the ImPRessions blog, visit the blog for similar inspiration)

No band in the history of rock music can touch the Grateful Dead. The individuals referred to as “Deadheads” were not just fans, they were a community; the performances were not just concerts, they were happenings and a way of life for millions of people; and the band was not just a young bunch of 1960s-era musicians, they were public relations and marketing pioneers.

The San Francisco jamband broke all of the music industry rules by encouraging their live shows to be taped and traded, dictating a personal, active two-way community that spread the word without dropping a dime on advertising and essentially utilized “social” media, inbound marketing and PR years before their time. The key to their success? They weren’t afraid to do things that no one else had yet dared to do.

Let’s bring this down to scale and flashback to my freshman year, shall we? It was fall of 2008, and as a scared, information-hungry young soul, I looked to my older peers for answers and clung to them like they were my mom on the first day of kindergarten. They were untouchable, shining PR superheroes in my eyes and no less impressive than any celebrity one might pine over. I used every opportunity I could to ask them questions, grab coffee with them, breathe the same air as them, etc. They gave me some of the best advice and, although I was able to utilize the majority of it appropriately, I took it entirely the wrong way. I thought that in order to be as great as these seemingly immortal PR gods, I had to model my entire plan to look exactly like theirs.

No one, not even us PR majors who seem to have identical plates full of jobs, activities, classes and impressive internships, has the exact same interests, aspirations, personality traits or qualities to offer a company. What’s right for one person could possibly be the outline of what’s right for another person, but definitely not the blueprint. Additionally, when you do draw up your plan, make sure to do it with a pencil and eraser. Planning is great, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to be flexible. Unexpected opportunities are going to come your way, knock you on your butt and send all of your plans flying out of the window…and it is going to be fabulous!

Take those opportunities, even if they complicate things a little. Heck, make your own opportunities: join a club no one’s in, take a job or internship that no one before you has held, move somewhere where no one you know is living (I realize I’m being biased at this point, but just trust me on this). Ask tons and tons of questions—but don’t be afraid not to take someone’s advice. You know yourself, you know what you enjoy and only you can feel that in your gut.

Why follow in someone’s footsteps if you can make you own? I don’t want to be the “next” anyone, I want to be the first and only me. The road less traveled might seem scary, but in my opinion, that makes it seem a lot more intriguing—and getting to the other side will seem a lot more rewarding if you found the way yourself.

“Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right” -“Scarlet Begonias,” The Grateful Dead

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Bathroom Chronicles: Volume 2

April: the weather's getting warmer, our attention spans are getting shorter, I'm sharing my student office at work with at least three bumble bees...

...and people still feel as if they will greatly influence another individual's life by writing something that they feel is particularly witty and/or inspirational on the walls of a bathroom stall (which, by the way, I would not touch with a ten foot pole much less a pencil). Today's inSTALLment comes from the Ellis Hall, 1st floor bathrooms. Amidst the ongoing grammar smack down is, in fact, a wee bit of wisdom:

It's true, folks. Although it's nice to believe that we're just here boppin' around until one day we wake-up and *BOOM*, our destiny is standing at our door with a packed suitcase and some snacks for the road, the fact is that you're here now. You don't wait for the wind to blow you in some pre-destined direction, you change your sails and go the way you choose.

Let's look at the glass half full, shall we? YOU have the ability, right now, to make the moves, right now, to be what you want to be, right now. Everything you're doing and everything you've done up to this point is just adding pieces to the puzzle that is you. You are the books you've read, the places you've went, the people you know, the new things you try out.

It's kind of liberating in my opinion. Want to be that girl? That guy? Be it. Don't wish you were funnier, more outgoing, less of a procrastinator, too much of a busy-body...change it. Sometimes we get so caught up in the flow of things that we forget that we can stop and turn around, stop and breath, stop and start over any time we want.

It's never too late. Think of this as your reminder that there is an "edit" button, if you will.

And of course, never underestimate the writing on the stall.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Old dogs?

Well, it took me about eight months but I've finally come down from my high of witnessing one of the greatest performances of my young adult life. I've been to shows that have prompted me to scream lyrics (and not always the correct ones, I'll admit) until my voice is gone, dance until my legs ache and my feet are black, and shove my short, but mighty, build through a crowd of relentless fans, but never have I ever been so awe-struck by a performance that I literally could not move my body.

Eric Clapton, the god himself, if you will, took center stage with former Blind Faith band mate Steve Winwood to deliver a sold-out crowd a set list that easily could have been the soundtrack to a classic-rock history documentary. Trading the spotlight to perform their signature songs and channel former groups such as Traffic, Cream, and Derek and the Domino's, the two always seemed to come back and hit their highest points when coming back to the music that initially brought them together in the late '60s.

The opening number, Had to Cry Today, gave fans a taste of what they were in for: a soulful, blues-rooted Winwood I even need to explain what Eric Clapton can (still) do with his guitar? Another notable Blind Faith cover was Presence of the Lord, which has, since the concert in June, been on repeat in my father's car ever since. The moment when I stopped breathing temporarily, however, came when Clapton revisited the Derek and the Domino's hit, Layla...acoustic. By this point, I was ready to call it a night until I heard this:

And as if THAT were not enough, he went from Jimi to Cocaine. I am not joking, folks. I have the (slightly shaky, but hey) video to prove it. Just because I'm not one to brag, I'll stop here. Below is the set list...oh, oops. That's kind of like bragging, isn't it?

Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood, Columbus, Ohio - June 15, 2009
Had To Cry Today
Low Down
After Midnight
Presence of The Lord
Sleeping in the Ground
Well Alright
Tough Luck Blues
Pearly Queen
No Face, No Name, No Number
Little Wing
Forever Man
Georgia On My Mind
Driftin’ (acoustic)
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
Layla (acoustic)
Can’t Find My Way Home
Split Decision
Voodoo Chile
Encore:Dear Mr. Fantasy