In fact, if you would have mentioned such a thing when I was a kid people would have laughed. I was that shy and afraid of my own shadow. If someone would have predicted that I would one day have my own TV show and speak in front of thousands of people my parents would have likely gotten in their face for mocking me and I would have barricaded myself in my room. It’s amazing what some key decisions, some bumps in the road, some good friends and blessings can do to change a life.
My shyness wasn’t going to matter, because of my professional sports career. If you look up my professional sports career you won’t find much. If you find anything please let me know. I had serious plans, but I had serious issues as well. My three knee surgeries in high school didn’t help and neither did the fact that I stopped growing my freshman year.
I made the fortunate and life-changing decision to serve as a missionary for my church when I was 19 years old. There’s not much better for a shy kid to do to come out of his shell than knock on strangers doors and try to talk religion. I never expected that years later I would turn knocking on strangers doors into a career that thousands of people around the world would love and appreciate along with me.
Broadcasting doesn’t seem like a natural fit for the shy guy, but I wanted to escape introversion once and for all. I first thought I’d be a sportscaster, but didn’t want to turn something I loved doing into a job.
After doing a news internship I fell in love with the amazing variety of news reporting and having a front row seat to the world. I interviewed celebrities, governors, senators, millionaires and even once the President of the United States.
But the big shots and celebrities never tipped my big deal-o-meter. After several years of news reporting I started to feel like every story was the same and that the actors were the only things that changed. That probably reflected a lot more on me than the reality of the stories. I became disillusioned with the negativity of broadcasting and felt we could do better.
I became disillusioned
with the negativity
The stories of everyday
Americans are what make
this country great.
I proposed the idea to grab anyone off the street, by whatever random way I could devise, and do a story about them. I felt that the real stories of America were going to be found right there and they were probably going to be the best stories—so-called “normal” people who are just living their lives day to day. It turned out to be the career breakthrough of a lifetime for me!
The stories of everyday Americans are what make this country great. They are the people who get up every morning and most of the time feel like they don’t make much of a difference. In fact, the majority of them tell me they don’t have a story.
But then they start talking! The reality is just the opposite—they make all the difference. They are the economic engine that keeps America running. They are the tie that binds society together. They are fathers, mothers, brothers or sisters who send a loved one off to war. They are the 45 year old machinist going back to school to make a better life for their family. They are the unemployed, the abused, the addicted, the successful, the champions of justice. They are the rich. They are the poor. They struggle to survive and help others to battle their own demons.
I have had an unbelievable opportunity to travel from coast to coast and and everywhere in between to hear their stories. What I’ve learned is that we are all in this together and that there’s no such thing as a life free from difficulty. The rich sometimes have more expensive stuff, but it often times just buys them more expensive problems. The poor are more often those who will talk with me, because they are rich in spirit.
Through the crazy circuitous career path that is TV my wife Koreen and four amazing girls have supported me all the way. I thought I left television for good when I left TV news. Only my oldest remembers my news days. I got a “real” job for a while. God had a different plan for me and I’ve been fortunate to have great people around me to support me through it all.
It turns out…
I was meant to be