Your Media Career: Stuck in a bad romance?

Does this sound familiar: You’re active in the media space. You’re a pundit giving commentary on news programs, a lifestyle expert sharing tips on morning shows or everyone’s favorite guest panelist. You’ve been working hard on your media career for several years and you’ve earned a level of success and yet…they won’t put a ring on it.

You hear this from the producers and booker all the time: We love you. You’re great!!

As someone who’s on both sides of the equation as a talent executive and media coach I can affirm they mean it. You are great. They do love you. You’re an asset to the show and they count on you to be there, be consistently good and a viewer favorite.

But here’s the thing of it: They love some other people too. Unfortunately for you, this isn’t an exclusive relationship (but they may drop hints they aren’t thrilled when you appear on other shows or platforms.) They play the field and date a lot of people. Openly. Some days they love you most. Other days, for no other reason than perhaps convenience, they love someone else better.

Big sigh. You’re thinking I can’t keep doing this. But you can’t quit the relationship either because if you give up now, all your hard work will be for naught. There’s a line out the door of talented people waiting to take your place.

You feel utterly, miserably stuck in a bad romance.

It hurts. It’s frustrating. It causes self-doubt which can bleed into the work and undermine your success.

What to do?

One: Breathe. Pause and check-in with yourself.

Two: Focus on what you can control: You.

Three: Think on paper. Get all of those thoughts and feelings out of your head and in front of you so you can deal with them productively. You want to control your emotions, not let your emotions control you.

You don’t want to show up on set, in a Skype, in a meeting, on a phone call or even in an email with that kind of negative energy coloring what you do. You need to stay focused and continue to provide value.

(This is where I mention it’s smart to have a coach as a sounding board.)

Four: Know your value + know the business and where these two things intersect.

Five: Generate some heat. Look for press opportunities, a well-placed guest blog, content that can go viral.

Six: Gratitude. What a lucky problem to have. It says you’re doing something right!

Fun fact: Michael Strahan appeared on Live! 20 times over two years before he got the co-hosting gig. I’m sure there were moments when he wished – big sigh – they would make up their minds.

What not to do:

NEVER complain to the producer, the booker, the make-up artist, the executives, your colleagues or competitors at other outlets. Avoid venting to your friends too – because well-meaning though they are, they’ll help you go down the rabbit hole, not pull you out of it.

Reframe: You’re in this romance. Today you may be feeling you’re stuck in a bad romance but guess what? That’s your perception. You can also think, wow, how lucky am I to be in this media romance?