I was thinking today of a time when I was about to graduate college with a degree in television. When you enter the field of journalism, especially television journalism, you have to deal with a lot of rejection. During my senior year of college I was consumed with perfecting my resume tape – which was basically a video with highlights of my work as a reporter. Let’s face it, at that time my experience consisted of stories I did as a student reporter, and the stories I repackaged from “real” reporters while working as an intern at the local news station.
What I was reflecting on from that time period was how persistent I was about finding a job. I was relentless with submitting my tapes, and making follow up calls to countless news directors to see if they received my tape, and ultimately to see if they had any interest in hiring me. Two incidents really stand out to me: one with a news director in Savannah who I harassed every week. He was trying to be nice and give me feedback on my tape, which I interpreted as an indication that he would hire me if I made the changes. He finally had to ask me to stop calling him because he wasn’t going to hire me. The other incident involved a news director in Albany. I wanted to get a job at WALB so badly I started a local campaign to get me hired. I started a petition among friends and family in Americus where I had them sign a card. In the card I wrote a note telling him these were some of the many people who would be watching his newscast if he hired me. I harassed that poor man for weeks, and I never did get the job.
Despite how crazy this all sounds, I really did these things and I don’t regret it. Of all the things I did to land a job in television, what impresses me the most as I look back is how fearless I was. I wasn’t afraid to go after what I wanted. I wanted to be a reporter so badly I was willing to do anything to achieve that dream. It was in fact the one thing that I wanted since I was thirteen years old. I had a vision of my life at that time, and everything else was a stepping stone to get me there. When I enlisted in the Navy, it was only to get money for school so I could become a reporter. I was adamant that I wouldn’t re-enlist because I knew where I wanted to be. When I finally entered college, I hit the ground running. I started preparing as a freshman to be the best in my classes, especially my core classes so I could excel as a reporter.
Well, as you know, my season as a reporter has passed and now I find myself wondering if there is anything that I feel that passionate about now. Is there anything I want out of life that much? As we get older we make excuses for why we can’t accomplish the things we want. Honestly, those excuses are just ways to mask what’s at the core of why we accept the status quo –FEAR. We become afraid to try because we’re afraid to fail, or we’re afraid to look silly, or afraid to get rejected. We make up tons of excuses.
So, as I’m pondering my own life and evaluating my priorities and my passion, I encourage you to do the same. When was the last time you abandoned rationale and just went for it? What was the last thing you wanted so badly that it was your primary motivation for getting out of bed in the morning? Think about it, wait for the response in your spirit, and then go for it and LIVE FEARLESSLY!