Stacie Zinn Roberts

Communications Professionals Should Find Their Avocado

By: Stacie Zinn Roberts | October 8, 2014 | 
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How Communications Professionals Can Find Their Avocado By Stacie Zinn Roberts 

Dear communications professionals: Do you love your job?

Feel fulfilled by it?

Jump out of bed every morning just burning to spend your day cajoling editors, smiling at that manager who never pronounces your name correctly, and writing just one more news release on your client’s latest widget?

Come on, do you?

Are You Happy Right Now?

A recent Gallup Poll of 5.4 million working adults found that more than half of Americans hate their jobs.

Communications professionals, those of us who toil in the marketing and PR fields, are not immune.

A June 2013 study by the iOpener Institute for People & Performance, revealed that although communications professionals are highly productive with a respectable measurement of “time spent on task” score of 61 percent, we’re not very happy about it.

Our “time spent happy” earned a sad score of just 39 percent.

For communications professionals, it seems that where you work adds more to the happiness index than what kind of PR you practice.

Independent Communications Professionals are More Happy

A 2013 poll by the Independent Public Relations Alliance (IPRA), a section of the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter, showed that 88 percent of independent communications professionals reported being “extremely happy” or “happy” with their status as indies.

More than 90 percent said working independently had a “somewhat positive” or “very positive” effect on their quality of life.

Respondents said flexible hours, and the ability to choose clients, were the top two benefits of being an independent practitioner.

It seems communications professionals value the freedom found in working independently over the guarantee of a weekly paycheck.

Given the opportunity to leave independent work, 73 percent reported they were not likely to rejoin the ranks of salaried employees.

Short of quitting your corporate gig to open up your own shop, what can you do to increase your happiness level?

Rather than looking to outside sources to find a bit more happiness in your life (such as earning a promotion, landing a new client, or winning the lottery so you can ditch the day job), I recommend five steps you can take now to promote happiness for yourself in your own daily life.

1. Stop Beating Yourself Up

You write messaging for other people all day long.

For this exercise, I want you to listen to your own self talk. You know, that little voice in your head?

If every thought, every story you tell yourself is negative, you’ve already defeated yourself before you attempt the next task or try something new.

The next time you hear that voice in your head say you’re not good enough, not smart enough, too tired, or too old to attempt something, STOP.

Realize not every random thought you have is true.

By taking time to pause and evaluate the content of your own self talk, you give yourself the chance to change the story.

2. Take Time for Yourself

In a stressful world of client management, deadlines, and constant connectivity through smart phones and social media, you may never have a moment to yourself.

Try keeping a journal to record your thoughts each night, or learn how to meditate, in order to give yourself some quiet time.

3. Find Your Purpose

Everyone has something about them that’s special.

I call that unique element Your Avocado.

I truly believe the key to a happy life is to find Your Avocado, and express it in the world, through your work, a hobby, or by volunteering.

Happiness begins when you spend time doing what you are born to do, whether a paycheck is attached to it or not.

4. Make a Plan

Once you find Your Avocado, don’t get discouraged if it requires a large commitment such as moving across country, changing careers, or going back to school.

I suggest breaking down big changes into small, manageable bites that can be accomplished in: A week, a month, three months, six months, a year, three years, and five years, if necessary.

When you tackle a change piece by piece, it’s not as daunting.

5. Take Action

Once you’ve found Your Avocado, and have made a plan to accomplish your goals, leaving it on paper isn’t enough.

You have to go out and do it.

I don’t recommend you become reckless, but I do encourage you to take a risk.

Nothing worthwhile will happen if you don’t give it a shot.

Once you commit to the process, just watch how happy your life can become.

And that’s true for everyone, not just communications professionals.

photo credit: ToniVC via photopin cc

About Stacie Zinn Roberts


Stacie Zinn Roberts is the author of the new book: How to Live Your Passion & Fulfill Your Dreams. She also hosts the online show, Live Your Passion TV. Stacie is a motivational speaker, award-winning journalist and marketing consultant through her company, What’s Your Avocado?

  • I love every piece of this! Great advice!

  • When I saw the title of this post I thought, “Man, I love avocados”

    Then I started reading it and I thought, “Man, I love my job”

    Finally at the end, I thought; “This is fantastic advice for life AND work”

    Great post! And YAY for avocados (allll the avocados)

  • I’m dying to know how you came upon using the term avocado like this … I mean, avocados are delicious. And healthy. They’re like the butter of the plant world, and how could that possibly be anything but wonderful? Am I getting close??

  • Yes, yes and yes! I love avocado (aguacate in Spanish) and I very much agree with what you say Stacie. 
    Finding what you love and doing it is the secret of happiness. Staying in a job, relationship, etc where you are not happy it´s not just bad for your long term health, it´s also stupid!
    And just like Eleanor Pierce said, please share with us: why avocado?

  • Eleanor Pierce HAHAHA! I was just about to write the exact same thing!

  • LauraPetrolino I LOOOOOVE AVOCADOS!!!

  • There is so much truth in this post. I love my job (yeah, there’s stress and bad days, but I’m talking about the “overall”). And I love working from home, in a virtual office. Nothing could be better, in fact. And I left a 20 year career in the TV industry to achieve this wonder. 🙂 It wasn’t easy, but I made it happen. Great post, and ALL HAIL THE AVOCADO!!

  • WhatsYourAvocad

    Thanks so much for your comments and questions! The Avocado, though delicious and I do have a killer recipe for guacamole, well, it came to me in a dream. Sounds hokey, I know. But true. I was at a crossroads in  my life and knew I was not living my passion. I’d always known I had a mission and I felt I wasn’t fulfilling it. So on this particular night, I gave it up to a higher power and asked for guidance. Somehow I fell asleep and I had this really vivid dream. In the dream, a friend of mine who was heavily invested in agriculture was telling  me that every commodity that he had invested in had tanked. He didn’t know what he was going to do. Then, in the dream, he leaned forward as if to tell me a secret. He said that on a lark, many years ago, he’d planted a grove of avocados. He did it just for fun. And now, just when he needed it, avocado prices had gone through the roof. The thing that he’d overlooked, the avocado, was the thing that would save him. And I woke up! I wondered if I should call my friend and tell him to plant avocados, but something held me back. I pondered this all day. Finally, I realized that the avocado wasn’t for him, it was for me. The thing that I’d overlooked was the thing that would save me. We all have something about us that’s special but we’re often too afraid to express it for fear of being too daring, too arrogant to think that we might have something unique to offer. But the truth is, we all have that something, that spark, that uniqueness that defines us. It may be in our work, in our hobbies, in our volunteer activities or in a way we can do something that no one else can. Armed with this information, I created my company, wrote a book and speak at events to help others find their Avocado. That’s how it happened. I guess it could have been a pineapple or a pear or any other fruit. But it’s the avocado.

  • An avocado, hmmm. Your five points are so spot on. Everyone needs to study them, learn them, and heed them.

  • WhatsYourAvocad Thank you for this story! (Because honestly I had kind of wondered the history of the name.) My story of this nature involves a kayak …. I really need to share it someday!

  • WhatsYourAvocad

    biggreenpen WhatsYourAvocad Oh, yes, please do share the kayak story! It could be your avocado!!!! Thanks so much for your comments.

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  • What an amazing, inspirational post! I know I’m a few months behind, but this is exactly what I needed to hear as we start the new year! Thank you for your message!

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