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.
People’s stories about what really matters have inspired me throughout my career. Those stories, over a 30-year television news career, 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 is the fifth largest television news market in the country. Working in a “top-ten” tv news market is often a broadcast journalist’s dream.
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.
WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT WHAT MATTERS MOST
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. I profiled one patient who had a month to live. And all that she cared about, in those final days, was loving on her family, making sure they were okay, and spending every last moment with them.
That helped solidify 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. I wanted to share more moments with family, reminded that, at life’s end, nothing will matter more. (Why not focus on that – today?)
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 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.
WHAT MATTERED MOST TO ME? SERVICE TO OTHERS
I never really cared about being on television or being considered a “local celebrity,” 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 was probably at the pinnacle of my journalism career when I walked away as a “top-ten” television market news anchor. I was even being considered as a co-host on a new show at one of the national cable news networks, at the time. Many, in my industry, couldn’t understand why I was leaving it all behind. But no one knows our purpose like we do. I headed back home to Ohio to work for a television ministry in 2001, but I was eventually lured back into television news to have more local community impact, serving as the Community Affairs Director at WTHR-TV, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis Indiana.
I felt called to return to broadcasting to spotlight more of the good news that communities need to hear. What a blessing! 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.
I was blessed to produce several “Shattering the Silence” television news specials, dozens of “Shattering the Silence” news series and I reported on many other community issues that were important enough to nab me and my team four regional Emmy awards, among a few dozen other community service honors. The awards simply showed that serving the community matters most – that we were having an impact on people’s lives.
WHAT MATTERS MOST TO ME? LIVING MY PURPOSE
In my career, what matters most to me is to continue to use the gifts that God has given me…to serve. That is my purpose. 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. My three-decade news career ended, due to changes in direction at WTHR-TV, but that didn’t end my purpose in life or diminish the journalism skills that I honed over the years. It was a big life change and kind of anxiety-producing, too, but ultimately it led me to take a leap of faith in a new chapter.
I worked as the Director of Public Affairs at the Indianapolis International Airport, also in charge of all communications and marketing, and that helped solidify my true passion and purpose – to create my own small communications agency, Angela Cain Communications. It offers PR, media relations, and brand storytelling – telling the stories of what matters most for non-profits and other businesses.
Angela Cain Communications also features What Matters Most 2 U, a content platform with a blog to help me continue to serve others. Why are we here, on this earth, if not to connect with each other… to love each other… to help each other on our life journey? I want to share inspirational and educational content – stories and interviews with everyday people and experts – to encourage all of us to embrace our lives, live more fully and focus on our priorities and our purpose.
As a journalist telling people’s stories, 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, personal development, careers, education, spirituality, and community.
WHAT MATTERS MOST 2 U? SHARE YOUR JOURNEY TO INSPIRE OTHERS
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. You never know who may need to hear what you have to say. 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?