Mara, you have been dubbed “the next Diane Sawyer” by Marie Claire and are currently an ABC News correspondent. Did you always know this was the career path you wanted to take?
Not at all. I wanted to be a writer, which led to journalism. I thought I wanted to be a print journalist, but then I got an internship in television and loved it. I thought I wanted to be a producer, but a reporting opportunity came up, and I jumped at it. Basically, nothing has gone according to plan! But I’m a big believer in serendipity. I try to pay attention to where the universe is leading me.
First, examine your reasons for wanting to work in television. If it’s because you think it’s glamorous, or a shortcut to wealth and fame, then you just won’t last. The sacrifices are too great unless your motives are pure. Second, buckle up. It is a tough, tough industry. That’s not meant as a discouragement. I just want others to be prepared for a wild ride. Third, be a consumer. Watch everything, be active on social media, read as much as you can. Know what you like and don’t like. Identify who you think is talented and why. Last, the best media training is watching your work. Watch your work over and over. It can be very uncomfortable, but it’s the best way to grow.
The non-stop cycle. The moment you’re done with one thing, and then you’re immediately onto the next. At times it can feel like trying to fill a cup with a hole in it.
Be patient with and loving to yourself. Weight loss can be a maddening journey. Expect that it will be slow. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. But the good news is, once you change your habits, it becomes much easier. What helped me tremendously was setting small goals, and really celebrating those victories. I recently launched a podcast with ABC News called “Motivated” that addresses these very issues. I created the kind of podcast I want to listen to; something that will keep me inspired, motivated, and informed. We all need some encouragement every now and then! P.S. – it’s available on iTunes and Spotify!
My motivation has changed completely. I used to view fitness solely as a vehicle for weight loss. Now it’s about so much more. It empowers me, it de-stresses me, it challenges me. I exercise about eight times a week. I do something pretty much every day. My staples are running, spin classes, and yoga. I don’t strength train as much as I should. I find it very boring! But I’m working on that.
It definitely takes a village. I’ve been very lucky to encounter amazing, like-minded mamas from all different walks of life with different interests and personalities. Recently, I was out of town on a day my daughter had a ton of party invites. I felt terrible that she’d have to miss out because no one could take her. Another mom volunteered to have her tag along with her daughter. She picked her up from school and they went to all of the different parties together. She even dropped her off that night. It’s a small thing, but I was so grateful. No one wants their child to be disappointed.
This organization performs life-changing surgeries for women with fistula, a childbirth complication that leaves women incontinent. As a result, they are often ostracized and ousted from their villages, at times even abandoned by their husbands. I’m a big believer in women helping other women. If I’d given birth in a different part of the world, that could easily be me. My mom introduced me to it. It’s her favorite charity.
First, be kind to others. Spread light where you can. Try to live up to the standards that we hold our children to. Say “please” and “thank you”. Apologize when you’ve hurt someone. Play nice. Beyond that, on a practical level, donate as much as you can afford to. And you can probably afford more than you think. Sacrifice a little. Plus, it’ll come back to you. A closed fist gets nothing.