The hours can get lonely.
Heading to bed before the 6pm news...the blare of the alarm at 1am. You spend a lot of time alone. It can become difficult to connect.
Even in a mid-sized market, you’re often only seeing the same eight or 10 people each day. Fresh ideas can become scarce.
Breaking news. Fatal crashes. Stabbings, shootings, fires.
If you’re not careful, working the morning shift in television news can become an endless carousel of bad news, isolation, and exhaustion.
But then, a breath of fresh air comes along. A vacation, you ask? Not quite. (Not that anyone is turning that down.) But this— THIS week away— actually makes you excited to get back to work. Even at 1 in the morning.
This not-quite-vacation is RTDNA’s Anchor-Producer Leadership Summit.
They teach us not to use clichés there, but when I close my eyes and visualize its impact on me, a big, tall glass of water is truly what comes to mind. It refreshes your soul. It rehydrates you. It gives you what you need to keep moving forward.
Let me backtrack a moment. Even with the crazy hours and the special challenges that come along with it, I really do love the morning shift. It’s actually my favorite shift in television news.
But I also realize that sometimes I need a reboot. I need reminded of things I know but have forgotten and I need new ideas. I need revitalized and encouraged and renewed. I need new strategies and the confidence to put them into motion. And that’s exactly what the Leadership Summit does for me.
It’s been just over a year since my first Summit in July 2018.
I took that year as an opportunity to make changes within myself. The challenges of the morning shift I mentioned above are a lot easier to handle when you have the tools ready to tackle them.
Here’s a quick rundown of things I learned and employed that helped on those toughest of days:
1) First of all, remember that you have the power to set the tone. When discontent takes root and complaining begins, you can participate and make the problem bigger – or you can set the example and stop the complain train. Refuse to be negative. Speak about solutions, don’t just commiserate about problems. And if there’s a person someone has an issue with, encourage them to talk it out. Putting a stop to any negativity and turning the collective attitude in a positive direction is the number one thing I feel like we can do to change our shift or our newsroom.
2) Another game changer for me was realizing that it’s okay to not be at work all day – but still look like you are. This tip hit two major points. We need to be connecting with our viewers on social media as much as possible. That means at hours that really aren’t convenient for our shift. But it is draining to be on your phone all day long trying to keep up the Facebook/Instagram/wherever game. To solve the problem, schedule your posts. Then you’re active 24/7, but you’re not on your phone constantly. You’re able to be more positive because you’re not suffering from burnout, but your interaction can be a constant throughout your viewers’ day.
3) Finally, the number one strategy for growth was shifting how I interacted when it came to making changes. I was a habitual fixer. In the mornings, when time is at a premium (when is it not, though?), it’s so much easier to just fix mistakes or change things to the way you would do them. No discussion needed. But that causes multiple problems. No one learns. No one grows. And feelings get hurt because there’s no explanation for the change. It creates a rift instead of building bridges. By coaching instead of fixing, we can create the product we want and everyone can be proud of it.
Just making those few changes within myself helped to get me through the toughest days. Make them yourself and you’ll likely notice an immediate shift in your attitude and an eventual shift in the culture around you. I did. More positivity. Less of a rut. And it all starts with you.
I mentioned at this year’s Summit that I looked at sharing what I learned as an inhale-exhale. I wanted to spend the first year focusing on myself and the changes that I knew I needed to make within me. Living it. Being an example. Inhaling and focusing within. This year, moving forward after my second summit, I’m planning to help breathe out the knowledge that was imparted to me and help others who are interested make those same changes.
This summit gives you the tools to do both. You just have to use them.