Seeking my Identity

IMG_5178All my life I have struggled with my identity, as I know many girls do. My identity has always been defined through the approval of others and my abilities to perform. When that approval is not met, I am left disappointed and discouraged.

After reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I discovered my love language is words of affirmation. Acceptance from others and words that people say to me have always been important to me; I keep every handwritten note, I screenshot every meaningful text, and write down every compliment that I have received.

My worth and how I see myself as a person has made a true (and at times, detrimental) impact on me throughout my life.

I’ve never had anything I found myself really GOOD at. I’ve always seen myself as just being average or an “alternate.”

I was good at sports, but not a star. I was smart, but not the top of my class. I have always felt useful, but not a necessity. I was just average at everything that I did, including my relationships with other people.

It has made me a humble person, almost to a fault. I look down on myself and find that those insecurities are how I chose to define myself.

I’ve never been able to accept a compliment without being completely awkward and then backfiring with an insult about myself.

To this day, I still search for greatness. I have yet to find my true calling and the place where I can confidently know I am going to succeed and excel. I contribute and do what I can, but find myself not necessarily being essential. Especially now trying to find a career, it’s been really difficult to find my place and somewhere that I excel. The busyness and requirements of reality have really kept me from spending time working on these insecurities and spending time with the TRUTH.

I compare myself to others; my successes and failures, my appearances, my abilities, my accomplishments (or lack there of) and so on. It’s easy to compare yourself when everyone’s life is available to you at the touch of a button via social media. I know these issues are common in society, but being honest about my flaws and being transparent has always been important for me to share.

Insecurity IS the lack of identity. We live insecure and fearful lives when we place our identity in the wrong places.

God’s will for us is to be confident and safe, not doubtful and confused.

Knowing who I am in Christ and understanding how He created me and how much He loves me is the key to understanding my worth. I am equally essential to the One who truly matters.

In Jimmy Evans’ sermon “How I Changed my Mind about Worry and Anxiety,” he states that the root to worry, anxiety, and fear is an “orphaned spirit.” The devil wants you to believe that you’re orphaned; he wants you to believe that you are on your own and have to solve your own problems. When you believe these lies, you become fearful, doubtful, and anxious. But when we believe the Lord loves us and adores us, we are accepting the peace of God.

He makes each of us so unique. He made ONE of each of us, and is so satisfied with His creation that He will never replicate us.

If we believe that He loves us based on our abilities, we will never be truly secure with who we are or our relationship with God.

If we rely on others to give us their approval and if we define ourselves based on other’s opinions of us then we will NEVER EVER get the approval we are longing for. We can chase that approval all of our lives, but will never achieve the feeling and approval that we can get from Christ.

You can ask anyone, I am so anxious and worrisome. I have always been that way, but when I recognize how much my fears are taking over my thoughts and my life then I start to focus on my time in prayer and reading the Word.

It’s a constant process though. I will never be perfect and will always have those temptations from the devil to believe that I need to do everything myself. And while it is always nice to get those sweet words and approval of others, I’m learning that I will always have the love and approval of the One who matters.

“Remember, the devil always fights the hardest when God is about to bless you and take you to another level. So hold on and meditate on the Scripture today: ‘So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.’ (Galatians 6:9)” -Pastor Naeem

Jimmy Evans “How to Change Your Mind About Worry and Anxiety

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Ask, seek, knock

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I have become good friends with rejection lately. The last couple of months, I have received countless rejection emails and phone calls. I had an idea of what I would be doing after graduation, but God had a different plan. I was sure that after graduating near the top of my class with a Bachelor’s degree, a job would come along EASILY. I was wrong.

At first, I was very accepting of the constant “no” and awkward phone calls; I knew God had something even better planned. I was even a little excited knowing there was a new unexpected and unplanned adventure coming my way. But then, the third and fourth and fifth “no” came along, and I began to feel unqualified, unable, and unworthy. I was becoming discouraged and doubtful.

For half of the rejections I was getting, I knew I was more than capable of doing the job. I was confident knowing that I had potential of officially receiving a “CONGRATS,” just to be knocked down again. Along with that, I had to continue to update others on every door closed for me. Talking about it, and getting the “it wasn’t meant to be, but something will come along” conversation made me feel worse. I was working a part-time job with other girls who had just finished high school, and half the time I would come home crying, praying to God to open a door for me.

Sometimes, I felt like I was failing my parents, my teachers, my school, and my education. Everyone was doing something with their lives, and I was still trying to figure out my purpose. What I didn’t know, was while I was throwing myself a pity party, God was waiting for me to discover His plan.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.” Matthew 7:7

Ask, seek, knock! HE IS LISTENING! While it is okay to grieve over things that we did not receive, it is not okay to continue to strive for something He continually tells us is not for us. We may miss an invitation to the transformation of our heart, and our life.

I am so glad God did not let me receive any of the positions I thought that I wanted. I was desperately applying for everything, just to be able to say I had a plan. As many times as the “no’s” knocked me down, God’s final “YES!!” was so uplifting and so worth the rejections.

When I was offered this position, it just felt right. I had never considered going to graduate school, or continuing my education past my Bachelor’s degree, but when the opportunity arose, I felt called to it. I have found my purpose. HE IS ABLE. HE IS FAITHFUL. HE IS GOOD. Sending praises and praises of thankfulness!!

I have officially accepted a Graduate Assistant position at West Texas A&M University in the Athletics department, and I am going to be continuing my education for a Masters of Arts degree in Communication! Go buffs (AGAIN)!!!!

A new adventure awaits, and I am grateful for the opportunity!

 

be engaged

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“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Being present in my life is something I fail at daily. I am fearful, worrisome, and doubt the Lord’s plans for me.

I have always looked to the future instead of appreciating life as it is handed to me. “If only I can get through today,” which would turn into “if I can make it through this week,” which turned into months and eventually landed me here… a month from graduation. I was so concerned about the future and the “next big thing,” that my presence in the present was nonexistent.

Most of my time was spent dwelling on past or preparing for the future, rather than just living in the present moment. What we end up doing is passing through that moment on the way to somewhere else and we miss the moment. That’s how life ends up passing us by; we do it to ourselves. When living and focusing only on the past and the future, we miss the peace and freedom that is given to us in the now.

While planning for the future and preparing yourself is definitely ideal, I wish I would have made some mistakes, worried less, and soaked every moment in. I spent my time asking God to do things in my life instead of just thanking Him for what He has already done. I was telling Him my plans instead of just waiting to see how His were going to play out. I missed out on the full enjoyment of moments, enhancing relationships in the present, and being able to just relax.

This year, I really realized and meditated on the fact that all the wonderful things that happened in my life these were not according to my plans; they were all God’s plans for me.

Tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed so why am I spending all my time worrying about tomorrow, when I could be appreciating the time given to me today?

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” ~James Thurber

I am learning to be engaged and present in the last few moments as an undergrad. There are so many big moments in my life still to come, so I am excited to just be fully aware of God’s presence in my life and not be so distracted by tomorrow. My time as a college student has come and gone so I no longer have a chance to sit in those moments and take full advantage of the time given to me (I act as if my life is ending now that I am graduating… RIP). Plans may change, but His goodness and faithfulness are still true.

His pursuit is greater than your ability to wander. He does not fail, His word does not fail, His promises do not fail, and His plans do not fail. In the middle of chaos, He will make a way.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11

So, I am slowly learning that until God opens the next door, to praise Him in the hallway. I am looking forward to the many things to come in my life this next year and new season of “adulting.” For once in my life, I do not have a plan. Living life according to God’s timing!

“To everything, there is a season, and time for every purpose under Heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever circumstances come up when the time comes.

Blogging

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Although I began blogging before my Digital PR class, I have thoroughly enjoyed the assignment. I did not know much about blogging when I started out, so it was nice to learn and apply what we learned to my blogs.

Of course, I am going to continue blogging. I love writing; I love being able to share my thoughts and beliefs with others.

I believe this course has helped me understand what my audience wants to read and how to engage with my audience on a more personal level. I now know how to reach out to my audience in a more enticing way.

There are a lot of things that I learned in this class, but knowing that everything is slowly becoming digital means that we need to continue to always work on our search engine optimization. Improving our SEO means continuing to improve in the digital world. It gives us more opportunities and shows future employers that we are ahead of the game.

I used to write blogs that were almost 1,000 words long, but after this class and knowing how little time you have to keep your audience engaged, I have shortened my writing and made it filled with relevant information rather than just words.

I am glad that I took this class right before graduation; I feel like a lot of the information learned will be important whenever we graduate and will continue to be relevant when we are in our careers.

I loved have an interactive class rather than just sitting and listening. I am definitely a hands-on learner so it helped being able to understand the content when we are actively using it.

I am going to miss this class, and I am going to miss college! But, I am very thankful to have had many classes that prepared me for my life in the “real world.”

Finding Your Voice

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Brand tone is extremely important for public relations. If you do not have a consistent brand tone, your audience can be confused and you can come off as inauthentic.

For me, I find trendy, humorous while still being compassionate, and authentic companies are my favorite public relations examples. A little bit of “savagery” is humorous, but you do not want to overdo it. If you are too mean, it can ultimately turn your audience against you.

I find myself following Twitter accounts for companies who tweet consistently, and incorporate current trends or news into their posts for entertainment purposes.

For example, recently the University of Maryland, Baltimore County men’s basketball team beat Virginia in the March Madness tournament. UMBC was a 16 seed, while Virginia was a 1 seed and a 16 seed has never beat a 1 seed ever, in the history of the tournament. UMBC successfully used their tone and brand voice on their Twitter account that night; the account had 5k followers prior to the game and now have over 105k followers.

The account used humor and engaged with a few accounts in a successful manner. There were many tweets from that night that were very popular. To view their Twitter account, please click here.

For more information on UMBC’s Twitter account, Business Insider had a really great article about the whole ordeal. To view the article, please click here.

Now that media has become such a large part of our society, as an organization, you should establish your tone as soon as possible. You can also change your tone a little depending on the channels you are using. I find that on Facebook you should be more formal and straightforward with your tone, while on Twitter and Instagram you can be more informal and humorous since those are the accounts that mostly the younger generations use.

It is okay to be inconsistent in some cases, but not always. You want to stay as consistent as you possibly can.

Your brand voice can really help your online reputation, as you can see from UMBC. If used correctly, you could go viral!

What are your favorite types of accounts to follow or even your favorite brand tones?

 

Social Media Management

As an organization, company, or an individual who takes pride in their social media accounts, it’s a great idea to look into new social media management tools.

This week, I have researched and learned a lot about the social media management tool, Hootsuite!

Hootsuite can help you schedule posts, monitor your social media accounts, receive analytics and much more!

They have many different plans that you can choose including: professional for $19 a month, team for $99 a month, and enterprises (contact for pricing).

The professional plan includes 10 social profiles and one user with basic features such as bulk scheduling, real-time analytics, social sweepstakes and unlimited RSS integrations.

The team plan includes 20 social profiles and three users with features such as custom analytics reports, team assignments, six contest templates, a custom branded URL and a social media certification.

Lastly, the enterprise plan gives you custom solutions. You can accelerate the results of your social media strategy by giving teams the platform, advice, personalized training and advanced analytics needed to be effective.

Hootsuite has over 16 million users in over 175 countries. You can connect and grow your online reputation from over 35 popular social media networks including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so many more.

The few limitations it has is for small businesses and individuals. Ian Anderson Gray stated “although Hootsuite has a free option, and the pro option isn’t exactly expensive, there are some very expensive parts to Hootsuite which you may need.”

I find that Hootsuite and other social media management tools are very important to public relation practitioners and digital media coordinators. I highly recommend Hootsuite as a tool for larger businesses that can afford the tool, but would refer to a free version to smaller businesses and individuals who cannot afford Hootsuite, or do not care to have a large social media presence (all businesses should want to have a large presence on social media, but, that’s for another blog, another time).

All information about the social media management tool came from Hootsuite.com.

Send me your favorite social media management tools!

 

 

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I have dreamed of the man that I am going to be with since I was a little girl. I have prayed for him every single day and tried to put together what he was like until I met you.

The second I met you, I knew I would end up falling for you. You were what I had been praying for, and it was finally my turn to love and be loved. I knew I loved you then. You met every need and exceeded every expectation I had for “the one.” It was just proof that God answers prayers.

My dad told me the weekend we met to not get my hopes up because it doesn’t always work out. But, I didn’t care. I risked heartbreak and went all in because I knew you were the only person in the world I would want to pursue. I didn’t want to be doubtful and risk ruining the potential of something great. It takes a lot to get my attention and keep it, and you kept it for eight months before we even got to meet. The weekend we met I was so nervous; I wanted to be impress you and be everything you wanted. I was so comfortable from the first night; it just felt right.

You wanted me to meet your family, you wanted to spend time with me, you wanted me.

All my life I have chased love and someone to love. I didn’t believe someone would make it so easy. I believed I would have to make a lot of sacrifices and changes in order to be loved. I believed I would have to give up on my perception of love and what it really meant. But I didn’t when I met you. It was easy to fall in love with you; you met every expectation.

Before you, I settled. I settled for men that didn’t deserve my heart and tried to make me believe that my image of love was wrong and never going to happen. I started to doubt love. But after all of that, I decided I wasn’t going to allow that to change my ambition to find the love that is stated within the Bible. I knew love was out there, and I didn’t care if I ended up alone for the rest of my life. I was not going to allow anyone to love me less than I deserved. I wasn’t going to force myself to love someone. Then you came along and it was easy. It was so easy to fall in love with you.

You love me for all the reasons that no one else has, and for that, I knew you were the one.

My heart is so full when you walk in the room; I told you once before, I get so excited just when you’re in my presence. You make me so happy. I have so much fun with you. We could be doing absolutely nothing together and there’s nothing in the world I would rather do.

I have my doubts and my moments of fear, just from past experiences. I am so in love with you that I am scared of losing you. You seriously, 100%, make my life complete. Everything I do, somehow relates back to you. I want to be the greatest woman you’ve ever met. I want to serve you as a woman of God. I want to push you in your relationship with Christ, to lead me in my relationship. I want to be attractive in all ways: physically, mentally, and emotionally (still working on emotionally, since I cry like every two minutes). I want my future to be with you, and I somehow end up planning my future with you in the back of my mind. I want to be fearless and confident in this relationship.

So just know, I am in it to win it. I may need my reassurance from time to time, but I don’t want anything else.

I don’t know how I haven’t scared you away yet, but I am so thankful you have stuck around. God really does provide, and I can’t thank Him enough for putting us together. Who would have known that a direct message on Instagram would lead us to this? You’re my person, and I love you unconditionally.

How to: Improve your Search Engine Optimization

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“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.” (Search Engine Land).

You can effectively improve your search engine optimization with the right tools as well as the right strategies. Throughout this blog, I will give five tips on how to improve your SEO, which ultimately improves your audience and the amount of visits to your content.

  1. Publish Relevant Content

People want to read relevant content. You want to post about what is happening currently in the world, or something that could be relatable to your audience. Your content should be relevant, and your title should be catchy. If your title is catchy, people will be more inclined to open your content.

2. Update regularly

The more you post relevant and appealing content, the larger your audience will grow. If you update your content regularly, people have more of a reason to check out what is new on your page.

3. Be natural

The more natural and understandable you are, the more likely your SEO will improve. For more information on how and why you should be natural within your content, click here.

4. Clarify Intent

When posting new content, you want to be clear WHY you are posting. If someone wanted to learn how to improve their SEO, they would most likely put “how to improve your SEO” into their search engine (hint: why I titled this article that). The more clear on what your posting, the easier access for your audience to get to your content.

5. Have quality backlinks

Backlinks improve your SEO as they help show the value your content has for the Search Engine. “Simply, if people or other websites find it important enough to include a link to a site, or within a post on their social profile, blog, etc., then that site must be important.” (Quora).

If you learn how to improve your SEO, you will ultimately get a larger audience overall. While there are many keys to improve your SEO, these were the most effective strategies in my opinion. Comment below if you have any more strategies you would like to share!

 

Public Relations Strategies to everyday application

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As much as I don’t want to admit my parents were correct, they definitely were when they said you would learn essential information for everyday life in college. Public Relations Strategies was that one course that I took and finally understood that I was in the major I should be. I learned so much, and it gave me so much clarity about PR.

Here are five things I learned from PR Strategies that I will use in my Digital PR course AND everyday life:

  1. How to create a PR Audit.

Analyzing the organization or client that you are working with is one of the most important parts of public relations and audits make your life so much easier! PR Strategies was the class that I learned how to successfully analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, internal factors, external factors and the public perception of an organization.

2. The Science of Persuasion

In PR Strategies, I learned how to effectively use persuading messages to influence a target audience. After building a strong relationship and good reputation, it is easier to persuade your audience. When you have yet to establish that reputation, you must use the science of persuasion for sales, attention, and create a positive brand identity.

3. Creating infographics

This was the first class I ever took that really required any kind of “technological skills.” I had never heard of Adobe InDesign and I didn’t know how to use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator efficiently. After experimenting and completing the process, I was proud of my final product! Infographics are important in digital media and public relations as it gets the message across easier and faster without a ton of reading. It is also usually visually appealing and easy to read.

4. PR Ethics

Ethics are SO important when working in PR. Learning in detail the ethical standards of the public relations world gave me such great insight how to respond in proactive and reactive situations while hopefully keeping a strong reputation and quality relationships.

5. Pitching a client

Overall, pitching a client uses everything just mentioned and so it is the most significant thing I learned in strategies. Learning different strategies and tactics to improve the organization and persuade them to choose your firm to implement your communication plan is almost the biggest part of your public relations career. It taught me how to write positon statement, set goals and objectives, and suggest strategies and tactics to implement my plan.

When you come to college, you will most likely end up taking classes that do two things for you:

  • Make you realize you are not fit for that major and that is not the path that you want to take in the future or
  • Make you realize that you are right on track with where you are headed and that you are exactly where you need to be.

PR Strategies was definitely the class that made me find my passion for public relations, so I hope that you take a class or have taken a class that makes you realize your passion! Never forget the passion you felt when times get tough! If you are feeling up to share your passion or experience, comment below! I would love to hear your passion!!

 

 

Blogs: Millennial’s journal

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What is a blog?

To me, a blog is like a diary. Or, at least that’s what I use it as. I am not the most creative nor grammatically correct writer in the entire world, so I refer to my blog to release some thoughts or ideas. I don’t have to be formal or professional, I just get to be me.

A blog is like an online journal, only the entire internet population has access to it… if you want them to, of course. It’s available for you to write about what you want, when you want and publish when you want. I enjoy blogs because you are not forcing others to read it, such as a post or rant on Facebook. If someone really wants to read about what you have wrote, they can open it and read.

I began writing blogs when I was a freshman in college and I think it is really cool to see how much I have grown as a person since then. I find that this time of our lives is the time where we find ourselves the most, learn about life and just experience the most change, so I love to be able to write about it and potentially relate to others out there reading my posts.

I did have one really popular blog a few years ago that was viewed by half a million people, and it was really eye-opening for me to see other’s responses to it. I even had a guy write a letter to me from Iowa, sent to Texas Tech University. With such a large response rate, I did get a few negative comments from it and it did make me step back a second and realize that anything that has potential of reaching a large audience will always have a few negative response rates. But, I decided to not let it get me down and continue blogging because it’s what I love to do.

I’ve never really been known for anything, but I was the first from my hometown area to really start actively blogging and so it kind of became “my thing.” I have blogged ever since.

So, for me, blogging is my diary. If you enjoy my blog or have any requests of future blogs, please comment below! I would love to hear from my viewers.