I knew I wanted to be a journalist when I was 12 years old and was first told by my English teacher that people can actually get paid to write. It wasn't long before I decided broadcast journalism looked like the most fun and I knew one day I would move to New York City to work in television. I used to sit in front of the TV in my family's living room, mimicking what the anchors said on the morning shows. I wrote fake newscasts that I performed for my captive audience of Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. I studied maps of New York City and circled all the places I would visit. I was on a mission.
So when I got a job at one of the three big networks in New York when I was 24 years old, I was elated. This was where I had always wanted to be, a dream come true. I spent the next 12 years in a variety of roles at the same company. I interviewed presidents and even a princess. I covered natural disasters and wrote about the wars. I got promotions. I was on the management track. I had senior vice presidents in my corner, guiding me and growing me. I had what most people thought was the perfect arrangement—a job for life. "You're so lucky" was a phrase I heard over and over again. And I was.
But I was also beginning to see cracks in the media world I had come to love so much. We were operating on smaller budgets, watching a new kind of competition crop up in the form of social media and digital outlets. I held job interviews with candidates who had never subscribed to cable and couldn't imagine holding an actual newspaper in their hands. News was changing. I knew I had two options—to chase that change or be a part of creating it.
When I told my colleagues I was thinking about leaving the network to go work at a online startup, I got a lot of crazy looks. Why would you make such a risky move? What if it fails? You can't be seriously considering this. Leave the network? That's absurd!
I listened to their advice—and then promptly disregarded it. I knew not every good experience is defined by success or failure. Sometimes it's about embracing the risk, pushing the limits and having faith in an idea. Where would the world be today if we only acted when we could see the outcome? Limiting myself to the known, staying in network news, watching it become more and more outdated, seemed more absurd.
So I left. And I haven't looked back. HuffPost Live has been on the air for more than six months and is doing amazingly well. To say we've disrupted traditional media is an understatement. But that's not even the point, really. The point is I didn't listen when people told me to take the safe route. I didn't heed the advice of the so-called experts. I chose to make the leap of faith. I chose to lean in.