- Posted by Nailah Jones
- On October 23, 2018
- career advice, career development, careers, careers in communications, college, communications, internship, leadership, media relations, PR, PRecision Curriculum, public relations, students, training
Taking initiative is something that most people will encourage you to do, but it may feel confusing when you are trying to understand where you fit into the bigger picture of hundreds of moving parts within a work environment. Maybe you want to take that next step to take the lead on a project, or you have a bright idea, but you end up second-guessing yourself. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned during my internship at Poston Communications is to ignore that. Instead of sitting on your ideas or thinking you have to take the back seat because you’re an intern – do the opposite. Move yourself to your next level of growth by taking those chances – regardless of how big or small.
Some helpful advice that I received from one of my Poston teammates regarding taking initiative is to ask yourself and your team leaders, “What is the bigger picture?” In other words, figure out the end goal for the specific task and build on that. When you can, think of ways that you can expound on something and develop it into an even more in-depth idea. Although getting into this routine can seem difficult to do when you are already balancing multiple tasks, remember that the smallest things can make a world of difference.
What simple tasks can be done to make processes with your team members more efficient? I now try to think about how I can make things easier every hour on the hour. Also, make sure you are pushing everything to its fullest potential. This line of thinking also leads to the more significant point of asking questions. If I don’t fully understand something about a topic or project, how can I put my best foot forward and produce the best results? I always make sure to ask questions for clarification, and that usually helps with understanding the scope of the project I’m completing.
Self-confidence allows taking initiative to come more naturally. As an intern, it can be easy to think that you don’t know as much as everyone else so all of your ideas are meaningless – but this just isn’t true! Sure, you might not have as much practical experience as some of your peers, but that does not discredit your critical thinking ability. Throughout this internship, I have grown to have more confidence in myself and my ideas, which leads to more situations where I am bringing my insight to the forefront.
Remember that as part of the next generation of PR professionals, you will have a fresh perspective if you keep an open mind. I have found that building confidence can take a while when you are just starting in the professional world, but it helps to remember that everyone has been in your shoes before. Developing that extra boost of confidence allows you to put yourself out there in ways that can help grow you as a professional, and it shows your peers that you are just as committed as they are.
I also keep in mind that I am part of a team and not an individual. Being able to connect with your team and establishing a collaborative mindset will increase your motivation to help achieve goals. Every success that your team member has is also a success for you to celebrate, too. I have found that this makes it easier to consider all of the intricate details because you now understand why they are so important. It also leads to you discovering ways to help you and your team member gain more wins to celebrate.
As a final note, don’t forget everyone makes mistakes, and this should not stop you from putting yourself out there. If you do happen to encounter a small hiccup – learn from it and move on. Don’t hold yourself back because you are afraid of doing something wrong. Practice makes perfect (or as close to it as you can get!).
Live by the words go big or go home. You should always keep in mind that you don’t land internship and job opportunities to only take a backseat and blend into the background. Sometimes, use your voice to inform your team members of that bright idea you have, or show how helpful you can be. Let your work ethic speak for itself and show your peers why you belong.
Nailah Jones is a 2018 fall intern at Poston Communications, based in Atlanta.
Interns Step Up
Poston Communications is celebrating the contributions of its stellar group of 2018 fall interns.