important metricReader alert: there is no sugar-coating in today’s post. It’s pretty raw, because that’s how I am right now. So if you read on – which I hope you do – please keep that in mind. Thank you. 

You’re reading this post on the day Donald Trump announced his VP pick… on Twitter.

Two days after Boris Johnson came back from Brexit purgatory as the UK’s new Foreign Minister.

And after news ad nauseam about senseless deaths, and terrorist attacks, and violence, that I simply cannot fathom.

This is not a political blog, so just FYI, if I see comments that cross the line (read the blog guidelines if you haven’t already), I will delete them.

I am completely maddened by the world we’re currently living in. You couldn’t make this shit up… oh wait, someone already did. Ten years ago.

So that’s on the macro level.

On a personal level, it’s been pretty rough lately.

My mom – whom some of you might remember from my TEDx talk – has been critically ill.

Not just physically, but … she was literally losing her mind, because of her blood chemistry going haywire.

Fortunately, we were able to put the right help and care in place, identify what was going on on a medical level, and she is back. Not quite like the Terminator – which is completely fine with me – but back nonetheless.

My own life has been completely disrupted by something so heinous, so tragic, I can’t even bring myself to let my feelings completely out.

Because if I do, I will literally lose it… at least for some days, if not months or years, and not necessarily sequentially either (which is almost worse, because you never know when the shit is going to hit you, and that is HORRIBLE).

At some point you will know about it – because you know almost everything about me – but for now you have to just go on the above.

The good news in all this (WHAT?!) – is that my concept of metrics of “success” are dramatically different than they have been in the past, when the world was equally shitty, and I went through equally (if not more) traumatic times.

I gauge how I’m doing in a very simple way:

By acknowledging the validity of my feelings, and then seeing how well I do at catching myself midstream, from a reaction that would only make me feel worse, to one that allows me to step back, take a breath (or several) and move on.

I.e., not reacting in a way that would ultimately be most damaging to myself.

The moments I’m able to practice loving detachment from the people and problems that are so earth-shattering… those are the moments I feel, and experience, “success.”

Lest you think I’m Mother Teresa reincarnated, let me assure you: I decidedly am not.

But I have been working really hard at changing the only thing I can, in the midst of all the craziness around me: myself.

And how do I measure that? By assessing how I feel.

By listening to my gut.

This is all very well and good on a personal level, but how does it work when you’re trying to set up a strategic Social PR or measurement program for your organization?

It’s simple.

Listen to your gut.

If you’re being forced into using shiny new toys without examining the “why” of using them… listen to you gut. And ask the questions, voice the skepticism, raise the issues it’s telling you to raise.

If you’re being forced to measure in terms of AVE or “Earned Media Value” because your boss comes from “marketing” and has zero understanding of how PR and its valid metrics work… listen to your gut.

Your gut will tell you if/when you’re at the point where you have to speak up (or don’t, and then you’ll have a Prilosec prescription for life)… or whether you can maintain the status quo for a while, while trying to figure out other, more pressing, stuff.

And if you have to make a decision that isn’t ultimately the best decision, but is OK for now… your gut will tell you that too.

So if you have to keep measuring the same way your company’s been doing it for years… OK.

Change is hard to effect, especially when people have been kowtowing to the same metrics for years and years, even if it has absolutely no bearing on their business goals.

But at least keep looking for the answer that sheds some light, gives you enough insights to make better business decisions, along with the same old crappy AVE/EMV if you have to …

… because then at least you can offer an alternative, once you’ve done some tests and can show actual business results.

And you know what?

You’ll know when you’ve reached those answers, because your gut will tell you so.

They’ll make your tummy feel happy, not like it’s just won a hot dog eating contest.

And when your tummy is happy… well, the rest of the world just falls into place.

And you’ll be able to step back, take a breath, and move on… to bigger and better things.

Image: Corey Blaz via Unsplash, CC Zero

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke