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 Television News Anchor, Reporter, Talk Show Host and Community Affairs Director, I’ve learned that we all share one common goal: to focus on what matters most in our lives.
The stories that I have written, as a 30-year television broadcaster, helped change my life. In 2000, they helped propel me to leave a coveted role as an early evening News Anchor and Health Reporter at KXAS-TV, an NBC owned and operated station in Dallas, which was one of the biggest television news markets in the country.
I was honored to be offered a long contract extension, with a hefty pay raise, but 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. Cancer patients taught me that, when it’s all said and done, 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.
That solidified my decision to go back to my Midwest home, in the Indiana and Ohio area, to raise my daughter around her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. For me, what has always mattered most is my family, my faith and my friends.
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. I wanted my child to experience that family closeness. 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.
I loved my dad dearly but he had the disease of alcoholism and that led to a turbulent, 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 wonderful life with him before he passed. He was a good man and a great grandfather.) As children, though, we didn’t have much, but we had each other and that taught us the value of hard work. Most of my siblings and I had jobs by age 14 because we were below poverty level. 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. I was blessed that, as an adult, I helped her get her first home, so my television news career helped me realize those goals.
I never really cared about being considered a “local celebrity” or being on tv, although I felt blessed to have the opportunity. Coming from a struggling household, I had empathy for people in need and simply had a heart for serving others. So I knew that I had to use my television journalism skills to serve that purpose in my life. After several years, I decided I no longer wanted to be a news anchor, relaying so much of the negative news in our society. I wanted to share more of the good news that uplifts and inspires us – the news that profiles our common humanity. I worked for a television ministry in 2001 but ultimately went back into local television news a year later to serve as a community affairs director at WTHR-TV, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis Indiana. I returned to broadcasting to host community news segments and to lead several community service campaigns. What a blessing! My small team and I were able to help collect thousands of coats for kids; bring gifts to families in need during the holidays; galvanize tens of thousands to join the race against breast cancer; and prompt people to join me in “Shattering the Silence” on abuse, a campaign that I created to connect domestic abuse victims to community resources for hope and healing. In my career, what matters most to me is to continue to use whatever gifts God has given me…to serve. I believe that we can be missionaries, not just overseas, but in our own backyard. What about you? Are you doing what matters most?
Today, my mission has taken me in a new direction. I have taken a leap of faith to create my own communications agency which includes What Matters Most 2 U, a content platform that features a blog. I want to share inspirational and informational content, stories and interviews with experts to encourage all of us to embrace our lives, live more fully and focus on our priorities and our purpose. Why are you here? As a broadcast journalist, I have discovered that, for many of us, the issues that matter most in our lives are things such as: passions and purpose, relationships, family, parenting, health, self-improvement, careers, education, spirituality and community.
Won’t you join me? Share your stories. Tell me the lessons you’ve learned, the obstacles you’ve overcome and the things that 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. We’d love to hear it! I may reach out to you for more information and share your story, so that you can touch someone’s life. Someone may may need to hear what you have to say. Remember, we get this one beautiful gift, this wonderful life. Make it special by focusing onWhat Matters Most 2 U. And then tell me, what is your story of what matters most?