Tuesday, May 3, 2011

That barn door has sailed

The neat thing about newspapers is that you can pick them up years later and read an old article.

But with television, unless you've taped every story you've ever done, they're out there somewhere in the airwaves, bouncing around, headed out to space to be monitored by aliens.

As the old saying goes, once you've broadcast a story, it's "Gone to Pluto."

Young reporters tend to dwell on every story, every live shot, every trip on the anchor desk as a life and death situation. And if you screw up one little thing, it seems to outweigh the 99 things out of 100 that you did right.

Some points:

-You are the worst judge of your own work. It is never as great as you think or as bad as you think. Most times it's somewhere in the middle. And most times you think it's awful, it's really not. Funny thing, most people who really are awful have no clue how bad they are.

-Most people don't notice the little things you think are glaring errors. You're a perfectionist when it comes to your work, and dwell on the tiny stuff that didn't go quite right. Trust me, the viewers didn't notice and most managers didn't either.

-The slate is wiped clean the minute you're done. Just like a baseball player who goes 0-for-4 and starts fresh the next day, so do you. Every day is an opportunity.

-You cannot change the past, despite the numerous time travel movies you've seen. (Believe me, I've tried.)

So basically we're combining two premises here since TV people need something more than the rest of the population: locking the barn door after the horse is stolen, and the proverbial ship that has sailed. Yes, that barn door has sailed, and there's nothing you can do to change it...

Except do a great job today.

Dwelling on past mistakes, especially the ones no one notices, will send you into vapor lock. So bury it, move on, and start each day with the attitude that it's an opportunity to do some great work.

Not every day goes perfectly and not every story turns out the way you envision it. But as long as you move forward instead of looking back, you'll get better.


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