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Susan Cellura

Communications: Pain, Scars, and Glory!

By: Susan Cellura | September 3, 2013 | 
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Communications- Pain, Scars, and Glory!By Susan Cellura

As we have established in a previous post, I am a (cough) HUGE college football fan.

So when Lindsay Bell asked me if I’d like to be a guest blogger, well, my mind went directly to football and communications.

I’m hoping many of you have seen the comedy/football movie, “The Replacements,” but if not, it’s about professional football players going on strike, and how the ragtag team of replacements accomplished more than just wins.

During one of the final scenes, Shane Falco, the quarterback played by Keanu Reeves, has to motivate the offense.

His “inspirational” quote is “Pain heals; chicks dig scars; glory lasts forever.”

Let’s take a look at how this quote fits communications as well, shall we?

Pain Heals

Even with all the focus on injuries and how to prevent them – at all levels of the game – players still get hurt. And they fight through pain to keep playing. Maybe some do it for their own pride, but I’d wager they are also pushing through for the team. Each player wants the team to succeed.

While many would agree that being a communicator isn’t physically dangerous (although I think banging one’s head against a wall qualifies), there are many times we have to suffer through the pain of annoying clients, customers, and sometimes leadership who, while not knowing anything about communications, believe they know best.  That’s when we have to play with the pain and help the team succeed.

Chicks Dig Scars

I don’t personally agree with this at face value, (but maybe Gini Dietrich does after her recent bike wreck), so let’s view it from a “communicators have scars and carry them as badges of honor” standpoint.

Think about it. How many horror stories do you have since you began your career? Our “scars” equal our experience. We’ve licked those wounds and now showcase them over drinks with each other or use them as a barometer for clients and audiences. I mean, doesn’t your elbow ache when a client wants to tweet without knowing why?

Glory Lasts Forever

That one play. That one win. That gamble that paid off. That game strategy. Clemson alumni will always love Coach Danny Ford for taking the Tigers to that 1981 National Championship win.

Fans of the Chicago Bears will always remember “Sweetness” as well as “The Fridge” scoring a touchdown to help them win Super Bowl XX.

“The Catch,” as the winning touchdown reception by Dwight Clark off a Joe Montana pass in the 1982 NFC Championship Game, is still revered by ESPN commentators. History is full of glorious moments.

As a communicator, don’t you have a few projects that you continue to proudly reference?

You know what I mean. You take on a dreamy look as you recount the pieces that led to success: Teamwork, putting together both short- and long-term strategies, being creative, thoughtful, a listener, an educator, and an advisor. You are the coach, quarterback, offense, defense, and sometimes even the kicker.

The goal, though, is to be able to move quickly and change the play unexpectedly if the need arises, even if you have already snapped the ball. This is critical for launching a new product, working with client wishes and objectives, or engaging with the media. Communicators have to handle immediate concerns as well as look three years ahead. That’s how we become the “go-to” player.

You don’t start out looking for glory, but sometimes, it finds you.

About Susan Cellura


CEO of E. Marketing Communications, Susan Cellura is a dynamic marketing communications professional with over 20 years of experience. She is an enthusiastic team-builder, with a progressive history of success in designing and implementing communications programs for global organizations. A strategic thinker with the ability to understand the needs of multiple audiences and deliver solutions, Susan is a results-oriented problem-solver with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation abilities. On a personal note, she currently resides in Texas, is married with a daughter, a dog and a new kitten. She loves college football, especially her Clemson Tigers, and enjoys the beach, reading, spending time with friends and family, wine and eating!

21 comments
scottbrowning
scottbrowning

It sure is interesting how different disciplines apply to multiple aspects of life. Interesting take on this. And a good movie reference as well.

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

Just to be clear, the SEC doesn't play real football so they don't have real scars or glory to share. :)

Sometimes we don't recognize how hard a particular project and why we should be proud of our work because we just did what we thought had to be done. And even afterwards we don't always recognize why we should be proud of ourselves.

photo chris
photo chris

I have a really hard time with this: "and sometimes leadership who, while not knowing anything about communications, believe they know best.  That’s when we have to play with the pain and help the team succeed." 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

I think everyone digs scars! We had a few people over on Sunday for a BBQ and everyone wanted to see the scars from my recent crash.

Funny story that has nothing to do with the content of this awesome post. I was giving it a final read before scheduling it and the photo was of the Bears playing the Packers and the Packers had the ball on the two yard line. I had to change the photo and then proceeded to make fun of our Canadian content director. :-)

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

Great post Susan! One of my favourite quotes, from Princess Bride, is "Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." Work isn't always easy-that's why it isn't called Fun.

EricPudalov
EricPudalov

I absolutely love this post AND find it very inspiring!  I've been in the nonprofit field for several years now, and I admit I've made a number of mistakes.  But I now realize that those errors have continually helped me in the present.  And while it is difficult to "change the play" in the middle of things, it's clear that this is an essential skill - who can disagree?

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

Love this Susan! Love how you took footbal and related it to commnications. I'll let you in on a little secret...I have a Sweetness t-shirt :D

Word Ninja
Word Ninja

Very fun post, Susan. Some of those scars come from some of those glory moments.

susancellura
susancellura

@Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes HA! Yes, I believe Clemson proved that this past weekend. ;-)

And I agree, we do work hard and do what needs to be done. And I think we are actually quite humble...which is sometimes quite the irony, yes? :-)

susancellura
susancellura

Thank you!! Work is a four-letter word. :-)

photo chris
photo chris

@EricPudalov oh- I also have a hard time "changing the plan." It's the PLAN for pete's sake- why make one if you're not going to hash it out and how do you know when you REALLY need to stick it out or change it.  *shaking head*  This year I am learning to work in a more circular motion- rather than linear. It's making me pleasantly dizzy.

EricPudalov
EricPudalov

@belllindsay Well in that case, I have a U-shaped scar all across my head that I like to show off (not joking). :-)

IpjRobson
IpjRobson

@belllindsay Never thought I would see that in a comment. 

Made me laugh, but say that's cool all at the same time.

susancellura
susancellura

@photo chris @EricPudalov I hope you are enjoying being dizzy. :-) Yep, ,we have plans, but just like a game plan, the opposing team doesn't really want you to be successful with it. Think of a pass play...if the defense reads it, then the QB may choose to go to another receiver or run it or throw it away. That's part of the excitement (and frustration)!  :-)

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