When seeking insight about my career, people frequently ask me what’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. When in fact, the mantra that has always stuck with me came from my mom – not someone in the media business.

Growing up she always told me that, “everything happens for a reason.” I firmly believe this and I hope you do too – whether you believe in God’s plan or just the pull of the universe – this mantra can give you piece of mind when things take a different direction than you planned.

By the time I graduated from college I had worked my way up to one of the weekend sports anchors at our University of Missouri’s NBC affiliate TV station and even co-hosted and co-produced the station’s weekly high school football magazine show.

I had done everything from working the phones on the assignment desk, to posting stories to our website, producing, editing and shooting video – all the way up to reporting and anchoring on-camera. I loved my time at KOMU-TV and saw many of those that came before me go on to work and thrive in larger markets at respective local news stations after they graduated. My beloved college internship was even at KDSK-TV in St. Louis.

I was surrounded by the local news culture and had learned so much from it – including that I didn’t want to work in local news. It was a great career path for so many before me, but for some reason I didn’t feel in my gut that’s the path I wanted to take. I saw what was beginning to develop in the digital space and what opportunities existed in regional cable – I just felt that’s what I wanted to pursue. Granted it did take me several years and some free labor to get a steady job in those spaces, but I followed my gut and pushed on.

So after college when my first job offers were opportunities from local television stations, I turned them down – with no other options or offers. I jobs available to me and choose initial unemployment instead.

But everything happens for a reason (thanks Mom). I trusted my gut and decided to take a chance and let my path play out as it should (with a lot of hard work to go along with it).

Recently I came across a motivational video from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson talking about the best thing that NEVER happened to him. He said that getting cut from his Canadian Football League team after playing at Miami and not making it to the NFL was the best thing that never happened to him. I’d say! Now he’s a world-famous movie star!

By no means am I a world-famous movie star, nor am I finished in my career path and hope to achieve more and more as I continue on my journey in this business – but I can now safely say that everything happens for a reason and not taking those jobs I wasn’t sure about out of college was the best thing that never happened to me (among many other things that come to mind, ranging from boys to a few other life decisions😃).

If you are trying to get into the business, in no way am I saying that you shouldn’t work in local news – you need to follow your gut and your heart to make the career choice that suits you and your happiness. Just remember as you move to a brand new city, to pursue a brand new job – even if you don’t end up liking it or staying for a long period of time – everything happens for a reason and each project, job, achievement and failure is a learning experience.

So what’s going to be the best thing that NEVER happened to you?

 

Please enjoy a related blog post: Don’t sell yourself short | appreciate your present journey — another recent blog post of mine explaining how to appreciate the current stage you are in in your career, instead of being drug down by other’s accomplishments.