By Laura Evans Manatos

A photo I keep on my iPhone reminds me of how miserable I was.

It shows me in a TV news live truck headed off to cover breaking news at 7:00 pm while Facetiming with my kids as they eat dinner with my husband. This routine went on for months and, as it did, I began to contemplate my overall happiness, my 25-year journalism career, my priorities. Not only was I missing family dinners, the kids’ bedtimes, and burning the candle at both ends, I was also generating news content that I felt had little redeeming value for our audience, our community, our world, my kids and me.  In fact, I  believe it was actually having a detrimental effect on us all and at some point I realized that if anything was ever going to change, it had to start with me taking action.

So I did. 

It’s now been four years since I decided to stop taking photos of those nights away and instead walk away from my TV news job as an anchor and reporter, and this month I am celebrating the fourth anniversary of launching my own company –  Laura Evans Media. I now run a progressive PR firm focused on elevating the messages of social impact changemakers and disruptors. My company partners with those who are looking for and creating solutions to make our communities healthier, our world kinder and us happier. I assembled an amazing team of eight current and former journalists (mostly women) and I’m so proud of the positive, purposeful work we are doing every day. 

Getting to this point wasn’t easy, but there were essential steps that helped me find my “next”. So, as you set your goals for the New Year, contemplate your purpose or perhaps even explore a major change – here are the four steps that helped me create a new chapter that tapped into my passions and allowed me to make a positive impact while also providing the flexibility my family needed and I wanted. 

Schedule Meetups

Go through your list of contacts (think outside the box: friends on social media, friends of friends, acquaintances, past employers you trust and admire) and make a list of everyone who you think might be helpful as you contemplate your next move. Reach out and ask for a 15- to 30-minute phone call or Zoom meeting (post-pandemic, meet in person!) Schedule a handful of meetings each week even if you don’t think they will yield anything. Use these meetings as opportunities to brainstorm your next steps, test out ideas, create new connections and open new doors.

Make a List of Personal Do’s and Don’ts

Write down the things that you are NOT willing to do, no ifs ands or buts. Also write down those things that you MUST do. Then commit to standing by them. Seeing that list written down on paper helps create clarity. It helps you narrow your options and weed out ideas that might make you compromise on your convictions. 

Take Time to be Still

When we are going and thinking and acting constantly we can’t hear the wisdom of our inner voice. Taking time to be still allows you to sit with the ideas and thoughts that have been swirling. Like a shaken snow globe, being still allows the thoughts and ideas to settle, allowing you to survey the landscape and make decisions with a fresh focus and new energy. I used meditation as my quiet time to tap into inner wisdom and allow myself the opportunity to find stillness. That inner wisdom is critical to taking the best next steps. 

Expand Your Network and Partner with People You Trust

We are better together. Join a collaborative group – a professional group, a club of like-minded business people. Can’t find one? Create one! Collaborating with like-minded people who can help lift you up, and vice-versa, will not only offer new connections with others and potentially push you along your path, it will also help make your search for purpose and even a job more fun. I joined a women’s group when I left my TV news position. Through quarterly meetings during which we introduced various concepts, I learned new things and fostered new relationships that are still beneficial today.

Now as I look back at that photo of me Facetiming with my kids, I can remember the emotions I had four years ago, and it makes the life I’ve created now even sweeter. The process of getting from there to here was not easy. Often the only path to liberation requires you to walk directly through the fire. But as I sit here on the other side I can tell you without a doubt – it is definitely worth it. 

Laura Evans Manatos is president and founder of Laura Evans Media. Before launching her media consulting business, she served as anchor of Fox 5 News at 5 in Washington, D.C.  In her 26-year journalism career, including 18 years as an anchor and reporter with Fox5, her reporting earned her several honors and awards including two Emmys and five Emmy nominations, Associated Press Awards, Golden Mics and a Radio and Television News Directors Association Award for Best News Series.


2 Responses

  1. Keith Wancowicz

    Laura always had a high level of integrity and to me, has been an inspiration and motivator for a few years now. Surrounding oneself with the best hearts and souls makes life so much more pleasant! Laura, I can say, is one of these such souls!


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