A little bit about me.
A few recent posts have alluded to my former career, and that usually sparks questions about why I got out of television news.
There were some health issues that I will not go into (I'm fine now, thanks.) But there was a significant shift in thinking that had to take place before I could even consider moving on to something else.
For the longest time, I was convinced that my reason for being in news was an uncontrollable hunger for telling stories. There's something addictive about the medium of television, with the constantly looming deadlines and the adrenaline rush. Some are attracted to the fame -- others to the promise that one day they might make something respectable in terms of a salary. (There are a very few who score big, and a lot who work for much less than you'd think.)
Along the way, though, I realized I was different. The point was driven home when my news director pulled me into the office one day to ask how I had "done it." Apparently, I did a piece about an intense controversial issue, and both sides called him... to congratulate us for sticking it to the other side.
This just supposed to happen. In fact, there is an old saw in J-school that dictates that "you know you've done your job when you p--- off both sides." By that definition, I must have been one of the worst reporters ever.
Eventually, it sank in. The difference here was that I was doing something that other reporters were not doing: helping each side "tell its story" better than it could on its own. Through asking the right questions, and making the right edits, and drilling down to the core of their messages, I was able to help each side communicate with greater efficiency.
When I realized that, and felt better about my skills, the light bulb went off. It's not "telling stories" that I enjoy, so much as "helping others tell their story." That's a key shift, because it opened up new directions for a career. I started doing media training sessions for local law enforcement, and also for a great friend of mine who was a school superintendent.
By teaching others how to best communicate their stories, I now help on an even larger scale. I feel better about what I do, both for the American Red Cross and for my individual clients.
That's what gets me going every day. Now... how can I help you?