People ask me why I ended up in the field of PR and advertising. I start to answer, “Because I like writing and people,” and while that’s true, it’s not the whole story. But for someone who loves words so much, I’ve had a hard time putting into words exactly what makes me love the idea of public relations so much.
Thankfully this quote I found recently from Ryan Holiday, a successful marketer, describes most perfectly how to do what I want to do:
Find canvases for other people to paint on.
Find canvases for others.
How beautiful is that?
And what exactly does it mean?
The saying obviously isn’t literal. You aren’t actually finding canvases for people. Unless you’re like me and you’re in a sorority full of women constantly painting crafts on canvases, and on your run to Michael’s you ask, “Hey, I’m at the store, anyone need a canvas to paint on?”
Finding a canvas for other people to paint on means building others up, not bringing them down.
It means convincing your best friend to try on a dress you know will look amazing on her.
It means tutoring at your campus writing center to help your peers write their best papers, giving math majors the confidence to write brilliant introductory paragraphs.
It means seeing a job posting online that isn’t right for you, but would be a fantastic fit for another journalism student you know. So you text her.
It means being behind the camera, because you’re more interested in how adorable your sister looks in that outfit than you are in whatever combination of yoga pants and cardigans you’re wearing.
It means asking questions, listening, and observing the world around you, because if you watch closely enough, you’ll be able to see things in other people that they often don’t see in themselves.
Nothing makes me happier than finding ways for other people to showcase their talents and passions. Not to sound cheesy– this is definitely going to sound cheesy– but everyone’s got something special about them, and they don’t always know it. It takes someone else to show them. And then it takes someone else to brag about them and say, “Look, world! Sarah here is a fantastic dancer, everyone watch her! Brad makes a really good steak and we should all go over to his house sometime! Lucy has really cool doodles in her notebook so she should submit her art in the literary magazine!”
I like to celebrate people. And it’s so freaking cool that there’s a whole profession dedicated to celebrating people. Or, should I say, finding their canvases.