Among the tweets and Facebook posts we see, quotations are common—famous quotations from renowned leaders, athletes, writers, and so on.
Quotations can inspire and motivate when used at the right moments. For example, a framed quotation by your desk can be a good reminder of what truly matters during the toughest of days. Leaving a favorite truism for a co-worker can make that person’s day. Scrawling a famous insight on the whiteboard during a brainstorming session can inspire the team. You get the idea.
But what do some of these famous quotes say about the PR industry? Let’s look at 19 that speak to what PR is all about.
1. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. — Wayne Gretzky
Don’t want to take risks? The PR industry isn’t for you.
2. You must be the change you wish to see in the world. — Mohandas Gandhi
We have the opportunity to change our industry every day. Live your vision.
3. We learn something every day, and lots of times it’s that what we learned the day before was wrong. — Bill Vaughan
Arrogance can be a problem in the PR industry. If you’re too arrogant, you’ll never learn what you need for tomorrow.
4. Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century. — Dame Edna Everage
A sense of humor is key to success. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Burnout is a real possibility in our industry.
5. The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. — Ellen Parr
Most successful PR counselors I know are excessively inquisitive. If you’re not, get curious—quickly.
6. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
If only more of us would approach our professional lives this way, we’d see more innovation, more risks, and more success (and more failure).
7. A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful, than a life spent doing nothing. — George Bernard Shaw
Similar to the Gretzky quote, if you avoid risk, you will accomplish nothing. Learn to fail. Learn to take risks.
8. Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. — Abraham Lincoln
Personally, focus on the tree. Professionally, we all need to focus on the shadow and
9. Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. — Dalai Lama
A big part of our profession is about helping, educating, and influencing. Don’t forget that.
10. A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read. — Mark Twain
Reading and consuming information are essential in our business. If you’re not constantly consuming information that will make you smarter—for yourself and your clients—you might as well be standing still.
11. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. — Steve Jobs
The quality of our work is all we have. Our reputations are based on it.
12. A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. — Winston Churchill
It’s the sad truth in our profession, which is why it’s a quote worth remembering during a crisis.
13. Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. — C. S. Lewis
Don’t ever be afraid to fail. If you are, you’ll never succeed.
14. Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. — C. S. Lewis
Don’t undersell the power of good, old-fashioned experience. A good lesson for the under 30-audience today.
15. A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. — Martin Luther King Jr.
One of the key—and underestimated—skills in our line of work.
16. Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better. — Martin Luther King Jr.
Don’t be afraid to go against the grain every now and again. It may be painful in the short term, but it usually produces long-term gains.
17. It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop. — Confucius
Slow but steady progress. The mantra of many successful PR programs.
18. Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. — John F. Kennedy
Although conformity isn’t always a negative thing, be wary of simply “going along” too often.
19. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. — Buddha
As a student of Buddhism, I have found this quote always rings true for me. I also love it for PR pros: Live your professional lives in the moment.
Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. He blogs at Communications Conversations, where a version of this story first appeared.