Reporter 101: Nelson Mandela version or as I like to say “Leave Fear Behind”

Want to see a newsroom go nuts? It happened yesterday when news of Nelson Mandela’s passing crossed the wires. It was 4:45pm, jut a few minutes until our 5pm newscast, and there was a lot of running around, yelling of directions, and just general chaos. In the midst of the craziness, I didn’t have time to think about what the death of Mandela meant. And quote honestly, while I knew about the world leader’s legacy, I had forgotten some of his most inspiring quotes. His was a most amazing life, his leadership, perseverance and ability to overcome awe-inspiring and a true light. I write a lot about inspiration in this blog, so here’s a few quotes that really spoke to me.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

What would you do if you were not afraid? Furthermore, why is being afraid a bad thing? It reminds us we are human, it reminds us we are taking bold steps and daring greatly in this one life we have to live, and it reminds us in no uncertain terms that we are alive. If you do NOT have fear, you are lying. SImple. Hey, it’s tough to walk in to your boss’ office and ask for what you want (what if he/she says no, I’m not worth it), to go up to that guy you’ve been dating and ask where things stand (what if he’s not as into this as me) or to make that follow-up call to ask for a job (why would they want me, there’s better, more qualified candidates) But, I’m telling you, that’s OK. Fear is a part of life. It should not be avoided. It should be acknowledged, examined, then set aside or put on a shelf.

I read an amazing book by Gabby Bernstein titled “May Cause Miracles,” and if you’r one of my close friends you already know this, because I won’t stop quoting it. It’s gotten me through a tough time or two. In it, Gabby says, FEAR stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Yes, false evidence. Before you say anything, sure, you should fear that if you run across a 4-lane highway, you’re gonna probably get hurt. But, the honest truth is most of our fears are a bunch of $^%$. Let’s review. Asking your boss for what you want, a raise, better hours, a promotion, or in my case, the support I need to do some deeper and more compelling stories, is not easy. I’ll grant you that. But, most of what holds us back is that fear.

What if my boss says no? Well, sometimes bosses say no, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make your wants and needs known. Sometimes a no is just a no for now, If not a yes this time, well, maybe next time. But if you don’t let people know what you want, you’ll never get it. So, would you rather not ask, and never get what you want, or ask and maybe or even definitely get t?

Some of the best assignments I’ve gotten is because I’ve asked for them. Sometimes yes, there is a more senior reporter in place up for the gig, but people quit, people get fired, things change. I was a weekend fill-in person at PIX 11 News in NYC when their nightside weekday lead reporter left. And then, I got shuffled in to the mix and started working full-time on their most watched shows.

Then there’s the fact that if you believe you deserve what you’re asking for, you’re already 50% there. And that’s persuasive. A friend said to me recently, “You don’t get what you deserve in life, you get what you negotiate.” You don’t like asking for what you want? Examine why, deal with the fear, and excuse me if this sounds cold but, but get over it. That brings me to my next Mandela quote.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done”

What sounds impossible to you? To many, changing careers from working on Wall Street to becoming a TV reporter seems like a tall task. Not so. It’s possible, and I know because I did it. Was it easy? Nothing worth having ever is. What do you want to do that you think is impossible? Maybe you’re just starting out in this business, and you are getting a bunch of no’s. I got them too. There’s pretty much nothing you can’t do. We see it every day. People overcoming great odds to achieve lofty goals. People who’ve lost limbs running marathons, people who’ve dropped out of school getting their college degrees, women in their 50s having babies. Want to be inspired to achieve your goals? Watch this inspiring story and then tell me you don’t think you can do it. I dare you.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Jason Goodwin says:

    True! People should never be afraid to ask their bosses.

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