“Good Morning everyone and thanks for joining us. I’m Mikaela Hunt….”
The script for nearly seven years of my life, literally. Life looked the same every day during the week. Alarm clock going off at an ungodly hour, using my cell phone to light the path to the Master bathroom, washing my face and brushing my teeth before slipping into the wrap dress du jour and then slipping quietly down the stairs. Always hoping to not wake the natives as the count went from one husband, to one child, then to three total in my time on the morning shift at NBC 4.
When I look back now, I know that I was burning out towards the end of that journey. But at the time, I felt like I was still doing something important: providing needed information and a dose of authenticity in the mornings when it was sometimes hard for any of us to get out of bed.
I laughed at the fact that I was on the side of a truck, but I loved the fact that I could connect with community in a real and meaningful way. That’s how I approached my job.
I didn’t plan on going off script. Part of me buried that burnt-out feeling and the people who surrounded me that didn’t care about the end game as much as I did. I still find it very ironic that caring so much led to my unexpected departure.
But what has come from turning the TelePrompTer off and throwing my scripts away has grown me more than I ever expected.
I could have taken a job immediately that was within the media relations community in Central Ohio. I could have started looking for TV jobs in other parts of the country and started to figure out how to pack up our Hilliard-area home so we could be free to go where our family needed to go. But something inside me told me… Wait.
If you would have asked me twenty years ago if I would ever own my own business, I would have definitely said No. There was no desire, no belief that what I loved (storytelling and community) would work itself into an entrepreneurial moment. I attended one of the best journalism schools in the country and believed that I was going to tell stories around the country one impassioned tale at a time.
But this was also before the birth of Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat, and any other form of social media that has cut into the livelihood that is television news. Even the best journalism school in the United States didn’t see what was coming.
Within the last year I started my own LLC, gave keynote addresses to large groups on life transition, produced more than a dozen stories for local companies and organizations, and had more time than ever to focus on the things I love, believe in, and wanted to try. In no particular order:
- Creating my own yearly planner
- Making strawberry preserves from scratch
- Working with clients who specialize in areas from education to hospitality
- Joining the National Association of Women Business Owners (Columbus has the largest chapter in the nation!)
- Staying in my pajamas with my two sons until noon in the middle of the week so we could play “Ninja Competition” and create Play-Doh pancakes
- Helping the Program Committee for the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio
- Starting a new initiative for moms and families with wonderful local women (that I get to announce soon!)
- Simplifying my life through the Capsule Wardrobe and the Bullet Journal
And now I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night… which has changed my outlook and probably my health for the better.
While I do miss mornings with all of you, I know that going off script has grown me immeasurably.
As someone who loves a good story, there is a woman coming to Central Ohio soon that exemplifies what it means to blaze your own trail. Vanessa Williams will be the special guest for Keyholder, an event put on by the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. The audience will hear about the strength and endurance she’s had to tap into over time to become the woman and the performer that she is today. It’s a night where we come together as one, lifting up our voices and influencing women and girls. I’m hoping you’ll be able to join us on May 10th for what is always a magical and moving night annually. You’ll find details right here.
One of my favorite poems is Invictus by William Ernest Henley. The ending line seems appropriate for the ending of this blog:
I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
You are the author of your own life. Maybe it’s time to go off script?
**I’m giving away two tickets to Keyholder with Vanessa Williams. Tell me in the comments below how you’re going “off script” or how you’re going to follow your life’s dreams and you may win a ticket to be with us that night!**