Today I’m supposed to rant for The Challenge. But I’m going to use this as a chance to discuss what I wish someone would have told me ten years ago.
I wish someone would have interrupted my daily life and told me ten years ago that my free time was not as productive as it could be. That they would have kicked me off the couch every time I sat down to watch Dallas (the series) in its entirety. After a full day working in TV news and covering a story a few counties away then coming back to anchor a 5 p.m. newscast and b-rolling my package in between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m.—I just wanted to come home make dinner (or spend too much money going out to dinner at Mi Pueblito) and watch my favorite shows. Which at the time included the Bachelorette. I gave that up after Meredith’s season, and that’s a whole other rant entirely. I went to a speed networking event the other day and I was so ridiculously impressed by multiple 26-year-olds that had their degree, then an MBA or a JD, and had ventured across the ocean for some kind of philanthropic work while they were working for a Fortune 500 company, only to decide they wanted to become a yoga instructor and open their own studio. Again, all by 26 years old. I can’t even consider myself a late bloomer anymore. I’m almost 38 and those things are just probably not going to happen in my life. Ten years ago I wish someone would have told me pushing the pedal down on any of those things would not happen when you have a couple of young kids, without sacrificing your relationship with them. Which I won’t do.
I wish someone would have told me ten years ago that the TV industry as I knew it was dying. That social media would be the informer of choice among those 30 and under in 2016. That we needed to start innovating right then to capture audience and revenue in a different way. I would have maybe made different decisions, gone a different direction, or worked with the few leaders in TV that actually GET what we need to do in the face of extinction with those under 30.
I wish someone would have told me ten years ago that I would not have my contract renewed for job I was passionate about in a community I care deeply about…. for no given reason at all. Maybe I would have come to terms with it a little more quickly.
I wish someone would have told me ten years ago that I needed to speed things up in my life. That I needed to embrace change more frequently because life is so short. I’ve seen two people I know die in the last couple of months, lives cut too short and unexpectedly, in the midst of transition and just beginning what would have been a powerful future.
Why can’t we envision the future? Why are we allowed to make mistakes? Is it because the learning process is so critical to reshaping who we are? Most likely, yes. We’re supposed to Fail Forward. I keep hearing this over and over again in leadership seminars I attend and other events. I get it. Why didn’t I just fail frequently early? I think I may have been better off for it.