Wick Communications

Keep your chin up

In Deadlines on 11 May 2017 at 2:18 pm

Keeping a positive mindset is incredibly difficult to do when the pressure to succeed feels like the open ocean around you.

Those are the words of Julie Zhuo, one of my favorite bloggers and an all-around interesting person. She is the VP of design at Facebook, among other things. Last week, she was addressing morale and how to keep going when things are hard. When is that not a relevant topic?

Zhuo has three suggestions and none of them are groundbreaking, but all of them bear repeating: Accentuate the positive, step back when it feels like you are rushing forward, and ask for support when you need it.

She cautions us against overdoing what I call urgency mandates. “Good, creative work doesn’t come out of fear of failure or pressure to perform,” she writes. “In fact, you tend to favor more conservative ideas and make compromises that water down the soul of what you are trying to do.”

Deadline pressure can be helpful, in the right context. It’s great to have a goal and to know that your work is important to the overall effort. This work we do is our livelihood. We can’t afford less than your best. However, it is unhealthy both personally and to the organization if you are overwhelmed by the pressure of the job. Unrelenting pressure to perform might work when you are shipping widgets or manufacturing thingamajigs, but it will not motivate people in creative professions like journalism. …

Morale is a fickle thing. For me, at least, it requires caring coworkers, a sense of purpose, some freedom of movement to do the work that is important to me and a sense of humor. I know I can’t do my best work if the morale around me is low.

If you are feeling like you are lost in that open ocean and the pressure is increasing, ask for help. Talk to your publisher. Call me. Don’t go under.




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