How to Find Purpose & What Matters Most: A TV News Anchor’s Journey as a Storyteller

Angela Cain Family/Relationships, Passions & Purpose, Self-Improvement Leave a Comment

What Matters Most 2 U - Purpose and Other Life Lessons

 

What Matters Most 2 U?  We get this one life – one beautiful life, at least on this earth – and after writing thousands of stories and conducting countless interviews as a former Television News Anchor, Reporter, Talk Show Host and Community Affairs Director, this is what I’ve learned.

Are you living into your purpose? Are you focusing on your priorities? And, when it is all said and done, what life story will you leave behind? It is not too late to refocus and change that story.

For most of my life, I have been inspired by people’s stories and what really matters to them. I told their stories as a former television news journalist, for more than 30 years, and it changed my life.

In 2000, some of those stories helped propel me to leave a coveted role as an early evening News Anchor and Health Reporter at KXAS-TV. It is an NBC owned-and-operated station in Dallas and the fifth largest television news market in the country. And, working in a “top-ten” tv news market is often a broadcast journalist’s dream.

Although I was honored when the station offered me a long contract extension, with a hefty pay raise, I had just completed the most challenging news assignment in my career – a 30-part series on cancer. And, those stories were an epiphany to me.

When you profile people staring down the monstrous and menacing diagnosis of cancer, some surviving and some succumbing to the disease, you will get a sharper focus on what matters most in life.

WHAT CANCER PATIENTS TAUGHT ME ABOUT WHAT MATTERS MOST

Cancer patients taught me how precious life really is. When you become soberly aware that your time on earth is limited, you will understand how important it is to focus on what really matters… while we are here.

I profiled many patients, including one mother who had about a month to live. With her days numbered, every moment mattered. All that she cared about, in those final days, was loving her family, preparing them for her passing, and spending every last moment with them. And… she wished she had more time.

That cancer series helped solidify my decision to re-focus and write a new life story. I knew life was short and unpredictable. So, at the pinnacle of my journalism career as a big market television news anchor, I did something unthinkable. I did not sign a new contract. I walked away.

At the time, one of the national cable news networks was even considering hiring me as a co-host for a new show. And, many people in my industry couldn’t understand why I was leaving it all behind.

But I decided to give up my tv news career, in large part, to move closer to my home in the Indiana and Ohio area. I wanted to raise my daughter around her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Because for me, what has always mattered most, is my family, my faith, and my friends. I wanted to share more moments with family. And, cancer patients reminded me that – at life’s end – nothing will matter more. (Why not focus on what matters most – starting today?)

WHAT MATTERS MOST? FAMILY
What Matters Most 2 U? Purpose & Other Life Lessons from a Former TV News Anchor

What Matters Most? Family

My family grew up poor but rich in values and love and I didn’t want my career to prevent me from being closer to them. Also, I wanted my child to experience that family love.

I was raised by a single, divorced mother of six children who struggled to make ends meet, to keep clothes on our back, and to put food on the table on a secretary’s salary.

Although I loved my dad dearly, he had the devastating disease of alcoholism.

And, that led to a dysfunctional and financially insecure home, ultimately ending my parents’ marriage. (I am proud that my Dad stopped drinking, cold turkey, when we were young adults and we had a great life with him. He was a good man and a loving grandfather.)

However, as children, we didn’t have much. But we always had each other. And most of my siblings and I had jobs by age 14 because we were living below the poverty level. That taught us the value of hard work.

I was the fourth born but the first to go to college, working to pay my way through school, fueled in part by the desire to get a good job to help my Mom. It was part of my life purpose.

Finally, as a young adult, I was blessed to put a downpayment on Mom’s first home. My television news career helped me realize those goals. So, hard work and persistence paid off and helped me repay Mom for some of the sacrifices that she made for us.

Also, I owe so much of my vision, compassion, and success in life to the way that she raised me. And, I never forget my roots. Family helped shape me. {What is your family story? How has it shaped or inspired your purpose?)

WHAT MATTERS MOST? LIVING OUR TRUTH

Ironically, I never really had a desire to be on television or to be a local celebrity. I felt blessed to have the opportunity but I was a small town kid, raised in London Ohio, near the state capital of Columbus. Although I had singing and performing talents, I was never completely comfortable in the glare of the public spotlight.

Coming from a struggling household, I was more impassioned about helping people. I had great empathy for those in need and simply had a heart for serving others. So when a tv station offered me a job as a reporter after college graduation, I knew I would have to find a way to use that platform to help people.

Within a few years, news management promoted me to a news anchor position. As I have mentioned, that eventually led me to a job as a news anchor in Dallas Texas. And, that’s where fate connected me to cancer patients who helped change my life and my career.

However, at that time, I was also sad about relaying so much of the negative news in our society as a television news journalist. Although it was a good job and I had some community impact, I wanted to share more of the good news that uplifts and inspires us – news that profiles our common humanity, our spirit of compassion, and our service to others.

That was my true purpose in my career. And, I knew that I wouldn’t be at peace until I fulfilled that mission.

Consequently, when I left tv news to move closer to family, I didn’t know if I would ever work in television again. (What is getting in the way of you pursuing your purpose? Identify and remove the barriers holding you back.)

WHAT MATTERS MOST? NEVER GIVING UP ON PURSUING OUR PURPOSE

Here is one thing I knew for sure during that period of transition. I was determined to get in alignment with my purpose and passion. And, no one knows our purpose like we do. I needed to live a more authentic and fulfilled life.

So, I took a leap of faith and it brought me back to my family in Ohio where I did end up working in television again. I took a behind-the-scenes job as a producer for a television ministry in 2001. And, I was able to raise my daughter around family and back in the midwestern roots that shaped me.

Surprisingly, a station lured me back into television news, more than a year later, with an offer to have more local community impact. So I took an on-air position as the Community Affairs Director at WTHR-TV, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis Indiana.

It was a chance to have more direct impact on people’s lives through a media platform. And that spoke to my heart and my purpose. It was one of the reasons I feel I was created. And I felt passion about my career again. (Why were you created? Once you determine that, you can build a path toward fulfilling your purpose.)

WHAT MATTERS MOST? SERVING AND IMPACTING LIVES
What Matters Most 2 U? Purpose and Other Life Lessons from a Former TV News Anchor - Community

Coats for Kids Campaign

I felt called to return to secular broadcasting to spotlight more of the good news that communities need to hear. And, what a blessing it was! I hosted community news segments and led community service campaigns.

My small team and I helped collect tens of thousands of coats for kids; brought gifts to families in need during the holidays; galvanized thousands to join a race against breast cancer, and helped change and save lives through “Shattering the Silence,” a 12-year campaign that I created to connect domestic abuse victims to community resources for hope and healing.

What Matters Most 2 U? Purpose and Other Life Lessons from a Former TV News Anchor - Serving Others

Shattering the Silence Campaign

I produced several “Shattering the Silence” television news specials, dozens of “Shattering the Silence” news series, and I reported on many other community issues.

Those community projects were important enough to nab me and my team four regional Emmy awards, some national awards, and other community service honors.

But the awards simply showed that serving the community matters most – that there are many wonderful people serving others, every day, and having an impact on people’s lives. (What impact are you having? Are you leaving a legacy of service as part of your purpose?)

WHAT MATTERS MOST? SHAPING A NEW LIFE CHAPTER IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

Throughout my career, what matters most to me is to continue to use the gifts that God has given me…to serve. That is in alignment with my purpose. And, I believe that we can be missionaries, not just overseas, but in our own backyard.

What Matters Most 2 U - Purpose & Other Life Lessons

Last Day in TV News – WTHR Indianapolis

Today, I have shaped a new chapter in my career in the midst of change. My three-decade news career ended due to changes in direction and management at WTHR-TV.

But that didn’t end my purpose in life or diminish the journalism skills that I honed over the years.

Now, I am not going to sugarcoat this. It was a big life transition, at times stressful, and a little anxiety-producing too, but my faith empowers me. As a result, I have never believed that man shapes my destiny.

So I took on the challenge, without fear, started working to create new opportunities, and continued to focus on my purpose and what mattered most. And the lesson I learned from this?

First of all, I found a job as the Director of Public Affairs at the Indianapolis International Airport, in charge of all communications and marketing. It was a chance to build a new team, form new relationships, and grow in new areas outside of media.

Although it was a good first step in my new chapter, that position helped me realize my true passion and path in life. After tv news, I had been planning to be an entrepreneur, using my voice and storytelling skills to serve in new ways.

And the preparation had already begun. I had taken an entrepreneurship course shortly before leaving WTHR-TV because I knew that my tv career was ending. (Another lesson? Always be prepared.)

Due to that, I took a leap of faith again and, for the first time in my life, I created a business: Angela Cain Communications.

My agency offers PR, media relations, and brand storytelling – telling the stories of what matters most for non-profits and other businesses. It’s both a scary and exciting new venture but here is something to always remember.

(What risks are you willing to take to live your purpose? Don’t let fear of change cause you to settle.)

WHAT MATTERS MOST? OUR LIFE STORIES

No matter where life takes me, I have to stay true to my purpose and calling in media, as well. So I will continue to use my voice to help others. Therefore, Angela Cain Communications features another service that speaks to my heart – What Matters Most 2 U, a content platform with a blog to help me continue to serve.

Why are we here on this earth if not to connect with each other… to care about each other… and to help or serve each other?

I want to write and share inspirational and educational content – life stories and interviews with everyday people and experts – to encourage all of us to focus on our priorities and purpose.

As a tv journalist, I witnessed the power of people’s stories to educate, empower and enlighten tens of thousands of our viewers. I saw how their life stories made emotional connections with audiences and transformed lives.

And, through those stories, I discovered some of the issues that matter most in our lives. They include: passions and purpose, relationships, family, health, careers, self-improvement, education, spirituality, and community.

WHAT MATTERS MOST 2 U? SHARE YOUR STORY AND INSPIRE OTHERS

So now it’s your turn. Won’t you join me? Share your stories. Tell me the lessons you’ve learned, the obstacles you’ve overcome, and what life has taught you about what really matters.

You may even have a story about how you have changed your life by pursuing your passion and purpose. And, your story could inspire others to do the same.

Here is one example for you. It’s an inspirational story that I wrote about a life lesson from the “9/11 Singing Policeman” On How To Survive Difficult Times.

But I’d love to share your story, too. Your voice has the power to serve. And, you never know who may need to hear your words. (If I choose your story, I will reach back out for more information.)

Also, remember. We get this one beautiful gift, this wonderful life. Make it special by focusing on What Matters Most 2 U. And then, tell me, what is your story of what matters most? 

In closing, if you’d like to hear more of my insight, inspirational stories, and expert interviews to help you focus on what really matters, please subscribe to my blog.

communications, blog, what matters most 2 U

Angela Cain
President, Angela Cain Communications

Angela Cain is a certified professional coach and an Emmy award-winning former television news anchor/reporter, community and public affairs director. Angela’s blog shares compelling content about “what matters most,” in our lives and careers. Angela Cain Communications is a PR, media relations, and brand storytelling agency that produces content which builds a business’s brand, customers, and revenue. Services include videos, blogs, podcasts, copywriting, social media messaging, storytelling workshops, media training, and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *