As told to Kindra Hall
Emmy award-winning co-host of ABC’s The View, renowned journalist and author of I Am These Truths: A Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between Worlds
Growing up in the Bronx, there were days when we didn’t have heat and hot water, and I remember those struggles. Did I ever think that I would be a federal prosecutor or writing a memoir or be a national talk show host? No, I didn’t. But I did know early on that I wanted to be a storyteller and somehow use my experience to help others and I didn’t let not knowing exactly how to do that stop me.
I always had the side gig. I had dreams that I always fed. While I was practicing law, I took a writing course. It turns out, the book I started writing during that course, is the book that comes out next summer and the person I took the writing course with, is my book agent. It all comes around which is why I think it’s really important to feed the side hustle. Do what you have to do to make ends meet, but also to diversify, dream and feed the hustle because you never know where it might take you.
For example, I was at a meeting at the local National Bar Association, where people were talking about career development. It was a really rainy day. I got my aunt to watch my two babies. People were talking about juggling work and life. I actually stood up and sort of gave this unexpected speech about the myth of work/life balance.
Afterwards somebody came up to me and said, “You should be on TV.” I laughed and told her I thought of myself as a journalist, but I don’t think I’ll be plucked from obscurity. She said, “Well, I think you have been plucked. Here’s my card.” She happened to be a producer for Court TV. I was on television probably a week later. It felt like home. I felt comfortable, like when I’m in a courtroom. A year later I had a contract with CNN.
Some believe in luck. I believe in the result of preparation meeting opportunity. Be prepared. Seek the opportunity and then seize it.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo courtesy of ABC