Call Bec Brown a career cheerleader.
Imaginary pompoms at the ready, the public relations pro is standing on the sidelines chanting “you’ve got this” to any woman feeling uncertain of her path in work and life.
It’s a catchphrase that has manifested into Brown’s first book, which is packed with tips, advice and anecdotes for creatives hoping to realise their dream careers and achieve success on their own terms.
And Brown, pictured right, certainly has the backstory to bolster her expert status.
The founder of boutique agency The Comms Department has 20 years of experience in the communications field, working with clients such as Katy Perry, the Wiggles, radio network KIIS FM and tour company Live Nation.
So regularly was Brown approached by graduates and young professionals asking for career advice that she amassed a stack of notes on the topic, which formed the foundation for You’ve Got This.
The first thing she wants readers to know is that they are more capable than they think.
“I would love for people to walk away feeling empowered and like they can take responsibility for their lives,” Brown says.
“They can have a career they love, earn a great income but minus the anxiety and the burnout. It is possible, it’s just knowing some of the tools and strategies to know you can do it. As corny as it sounds, it’s that feeling before you do something and you don’t know if you can, and then you tell yourself ‘you’ve got this’, and you do it.”
Brown has specifically targeted the book at creative women, as she noticed that while these movers and shakers are so needed in the community, they often don’t have the know-how to cash in on their gifts.
“It wasn’t something I was taught; how to commercialise my work,” she says.
“I learnt that over 15 years of working with big corporates, so I distilled that information and did a lot of research, interviewing other professionals who are at the top of their game. I put it in the book to teach people how to be both creative and commercial.”
It all begins, Brown says, with determining your personal values.
“I didn’t do this back in my 20s, but it would have saved me so much angst,” she explains.
“Work out what your values are, that are completely intrinsic to you and you only. To do that, you think about what’s important to you and what you value. You can map out a whole bunch of them, and then hone in on the single most important one to you and that becomes your focus. You can do that a few times to come up with your list. When it comes time to make a decision, look at that list of values and ask yourself, if you go down that path, will it help or hinder your values?”
Once you know your values, it’s easier to pinpoint what success looks like for you.
Brown says this will be different for every person — there is no one-size-fits-all definition of success or fulfilment in modern times.
“The word success gets thrown around a lot, but there are two things to remember,” she says.
“One, that your measure of success will change over time, and that’s a great thing. Two, you need to be true to your own measure of success, no one else’s.
“The place to begin is by discovering what your passions are … look at what you enjoy doing, what you are good at, or something you loved doing as a child. When time stands still and you get into a state of flow, that’s a good indication of passion. When you align your values and passion that’s where the magic comes from. Then you can work out what success is going to look like for you.”
While the book covers everything from building a personal brand to crisis management, social media use and starting a business, there is also a heavy focus on the concept of work-life balance.
The language doesn’t really sit right with Brown, if she’s being honest.
“I don’t like the term work-life balance, because there is no difference between work and life. It’s all just life,” she says.
“When you have this idea of work-life balance, it’s like you have an old-fashioned scale with work on one side and life on the other. All that ends up happening is that you try to put more and more on each side to try to balance them out, and you end up feeling like you are going to collapse under the weight of it all.
“What you need to do is put some frameworks around your life and boundaries around your day to make sure you have enough sleep, time for meals, time to see family and friends and exercise. You map your work around that.”
You’ve Got This by Bec Brown, published by Penguin, RRP $29.99