Anyone else find themselves feeling reflective as we approach the end of 2018? I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to take stock of my personal growth. What have I learned? Where am I coming up short? How can I build on career momentum/creativity? Those questions bring me to this post. Aside from my family, I can confidently say that journalism has molded me into the person I am today. In fact, I believe it holds useful lessons for ALL career paths! Sure, it’s not a particularly popular field right now. Who’d have thought “fake news” would become common vernacular? But, it remains an eye-opening one. How so? Here are 5 life lessons from a journalist that can be applied to almost any situation.
If you want to be an effective leader, friend or good conversationalist, take the time to explore gray areas and gain a full understanding of where people are coming from. To begin, ask open-ended questions. LISTEN before making snap judgements. You might be surprised at what you find or even change your opinion!
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m still a work in progress in regards to assertiveness. (Anyone else a “yes” person?) However, journalism has taught me a thing or two about standing your ground. Wondering how to get started? How to “practice” assertiveness?
So often in life, we wait for the perfect circumstances or ideal conditions to fall into our lap, BEFORE reaching for our goals. News taught me rather quickly that life doesn’t operate that way. Inaction can paralyze you! Sometimes you just need to take the first step.
Hate your current project, assignment, task? Instead of dwelling on it negatively, think of how you can muscle through and put your own creative spin on it.
In TV, you have roughly 5 or 6 hours (if you’re lucky) to get a story on air. Perhaps you want more time to gather source material, or to get the editing just right… TOUGH. As one of my news directors used to say, “Sometimes you have to make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t.” (Let’s just say newsrooms have A LOT of colorful sayings 😂).
Although having a mentor and identifying someone whose career you’d like to emulate can help jump start your success, you need to find your own unique voice and path. What makes you an ORIGINAL? Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a blogger, an educator, an artist, there is POWER in embracing individuality.
Early on in my career, I was lucky enough to work with some incredible anchors and reporters. I wanted to be just like them, so I tried to be them. I thought if I could just replicate their mannerisms, their vocal cadence, their reporting style, my career would take off.
Instead, it looked forced and unnatural. Not surprisingly, viewers saw right through it. Eventually, I found enough confidence in my craft to reveal more personality and share the “real me” on-air. This was when my TRUE growth began. Finally, I could focus on becoming the best version of myself, instead of a half-rate copy of someone else. I threw my time and energy into perfecting my writing, storytelling and editing. I believed in my ideas and didn’t hesitate to voice solutions to station problems, or to change the status quo.
Just like with winter fashions, it will serve you well in life to explore people’s layers. I realize this may sound a bit cynical, but everyone has an AGENDA (and it’s not always a bad thing). Agendas can be as simple as a tired mom angling for a half hour nap, or as complex as a company manipulating data to score a prized contract.
If you can understand what is driving and motivating a person, you can better communicate and/or negotiate with them. What are they looking for? What do they need? How can you provide it, while coming away with what you’re seeking?
Sometime people will volunteer this information. You just need to ask the right questions. Or, you might have to do some digging. Trust me, it’s worth the effort! Understanding “agendas” in their many forms has helped my marriage, my communications career—and of course—my investigative reporting.
Since this is likely my last post before Christmas, I wanted to offer a sincere THANK YOU for supporting AnchoredInElegance and taking the time to read my content. It means the world to me! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!
Now… I leave you with a few of our holiday pictures. As you can see, it was quite an adventure for the little guy!
Much Love, Lindsay