When I decided to pursue my APR, I attended the PRSA Detroit APR prep course. It armed me with great information, but I left feeling overwhelmed, and frankly, scared … of failure.
If I was going to achieve my APR, I had to overcome my fear. I sought advice from peers who recently went through the process and I learned that some didn’t pass the first time. It hit home when one person said, “It’s OK to fail!” I knew then that I could overcome my fear. I began to look at the process as a learning experience rather than a reflection of my professional abilities. I constantly reminded myself, “it’s OK to fail,” to alleviate my anxiety and fearlessly work through the process.
My fearlessness was put to the test with the Readiness Review. It was very intimidating for me, so I focused my energy on preparation by reviewing the APR Study Guide and my textbook of choice. This enabled me to respond to the questionnaire and give a presentation with depth and confidence. I passed.
As I prepared for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, I was afraid I would study wrong and fail. But I remembered, “It’s OK to fail!” I immediately dismissed my fear and drew on good advice — allocate study time for each competency area based on its percentage weight on the Examination and focus on the practical application of terminology, theories and processes.
When I took the Examination, I wasn’t afraid to fail. It didn’t matter how I scored because I had conquered my fear and learned so much along the way. So, the accomplishment I felt when “pass” appeared on the computer seconds after completing the Examination was surreal. What an amazing journey! Hard work and determination paid off, and I am a stronger professional because of it.
Jennifer Wilt, APR, is a senior communications specialist at DENSO International America, Inc., where she focuses on internal communication. She currently serves on the PRSA Detroit board of directors (2010 – 2012) and is a co-chair for the 2012 PRSA Michigan Conference.