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Navigating Highs and Lows as a PR Consultant in Indonesia

05 Mar 2024 | STORIES | 0 Comment
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Like wheels, everything has its ups and downs. Yes, life in general spins that way, and there’s no way we could ever escape those cycles. As a public relations (PR) consultant in a PR agency that thrives in mainly communicating, maintaining, and building relations, there will come a time when our actions are no longer efficient or successful enough.

Encountering setbacks such as unsuccessful pitches, not achieving Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and misunderstandings with stakeholders, among other hurdles, can indeed be challenging. Yet, it's essential to embrace the age-old adage, "Failures are stepping stones to success." While it might seem trite, there exist tangible strategies for overcoming these hurdles, as illustrated in a book I recently explored.

Authored by renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Andreas Kurniawan, the book narrates a poignant tale of overcoming immense grief by engaging in menial tasks like washing dishes. The concept may seem unrelated to our professional frustrations or regrets, but the underlying principle remains the same - channeling our negative feelings into a routine activity that yields visible results and gradually rebuilds our confidence.

In line with the insights provided in the book, navigating through feelings of sadness and guilt is more effectively done through activity rather than stagnation. Engaging in a routine that yields small achievements can gradually enhance our confidence and, over time, enrich our experience in various ways. Consequently, this article aims to serve as a guide through the process of coping with grief during challenging periods in our careers.


The beginning

In the first few hours of you making a disappointment or mistake, the emotional roller coaster will be more mind-boggling than any extreme roller coaster in the world could have given. 

All the sadness, anger, shame, and guilt will come rushing in, there will be moments when you think of all the what-ifs and try to fix the problem head on. You might be confused as well, but that happens. Go talk with your supervisor or leader to decide an action should there be a mistake, and solve the problem professionally.

This part is not pleasant in any way, but you have to feel it anyway. After you have a clear in righting wrongs, take a breather, and seek other’s help should you feel that you really cannot do any more ongoing work that is currently on your plate. I'm sure your colleagues will understand what you’re going through.

Sit with it. Let it consume you for a moment, then come back. 

This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this is essential. Many have been here, but they forgot that they are in a phase of recovery. This stage often happens after work, during breaks, mostly when you’re alone. You will be replaying the incident inside your head. 

It's like a broken record and just playing over and over and over. It is okay just to let yourself submerge in all of that feeling. But, remember to come back. The comeback part is indeed tricky, so it will be better to gear yourself with something. A notebook and a pen would be nice. 

Write them all down, your worries, your regrets, and your disappointments. Once written out, it helps as your mind becomes clearer. Now you can see all of the problems that need some resolve. Then, you might be able to figure out how to make things better than what already happened and figure out several solutions that you’d probably need in the future. 

The problem will shrink over time

Yes, the problem seems massive in the present perspective, but your guilt often will enlarge the actual problem. It sure gives you a mindful headache. But, again I’m sorry to say this, it is just how we learn eventually. 

When writing all of your ideas and actions into your work, you will come back to this place of guilt. But you’ll approach it differently. You may see the signs before the incident occurred and make sure that it will not happen again.  

It takes some time, but I’m sure you pull through. Talk to your supervisors, leaders, and other co-workers, they also have experience in handling this type of situation where they have failed in doing something and led to disappointments. And I bet all of them will say, “It sure sucks, but it led me to where I am now” Cliché I know, but it will help. 

Searching for similar problems online and seeing how the situation is handled will also help in overcoming that guilt. It’s a perfect time to learn what you should not do in your work, whereas we often only focus on what we should do instead. 

The beauty of being a PR Consultant 

The best part of being a PR consultant is that we can consume any content that we want. We communicate, we make messages, interpret and analyze information like no other professionals. From movies, books, and training all of that will generate new ideas and power to solve problems and reach success. 

The point is, while it sucks to feel guilty over a fault, mistakes, and failures. Doing menial things such as reading a book or watching movies will help as well. Not just to ease up your mind, but beneficial when you need to make new ideas or proposals sometime later in the future. 

Working out sure also helps, with friends, or perhaps via media relations with journalists that you’re trying to get to know for a while. It lets off some steam, and you will get new connections and insights from them. 

Now it is just a tale of how you vanquish guilt. 

Now you have overcome the guilt and regret. But you are indeed still a part of this club. The difference is that you have been here, felt it, overcame it, and lived to tell the tale. I’m sure that this is not the end, and you’ll be on top of the wheel again. As I said, life has its ups and downs.

Another type of slump would also come to challenge you in the future. But over the years of knowing a lot of my seniors and mentors, they just keep getting better at it, they just grow each time they get out of this place. And the time they spent here in slumps is also getting shorter each time. 


In the unpredictable world of PR consulting especially in a PR agency, encountering bumps along the way is par for the course. When things take a turn for the worse, it's essential to take a moment to breathe and confide in your colleagues. Confront those challenging emotions head-on and consider jotting down your thoughts; it's the first step to untangling the mess in your mind. And remember, any feelings of guilt or frustration won't last forever; you'll emerge from this setback even stronger.

Indulge in a good book or movie—it's not just a moment of relaxation but also a potential source of inspiration for your next big idea. Your journey through the ups and downs of work is ongoing, and with each obstacle, you're leveling up. Remind yourself that setbacks are merely temporary pauses, not the entirety of your path. So, keep harnessing that PR magic, transforming disappointments into stepping stones on your journey to an epic career story.


Illustration by: gpu.co.id & Storyset at Freepik.com 


Written by: Ahmad Rafli
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