An inside look to staying true to God and yourself, with Inside Edition’s Megan Alexander
How do they do it? Those people who seem to have it all together—they seem to balance their career, their family, and their personal life, all while continually growing in their relationship with the Lord. The answer, while simple, presents a challenge for every person. Their “secret” is that they don’t have it all together, but that they are figuring it out one day at a time. And in the words of C. S. Lewis, “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” So the defining factor between the people that continually grow and improve themselves in life is that when they make mistakes and opposition comes, they get back up and keep pressing forward. They also know that by finding the things that have worked for other people and adapting them to their own lives, they can drastically shorten the learning curve.
Megan Alexander is one of those people who appears to have it all together. While she will be very quick to tell you that she does not have it all figured out, her insights, if applied, can significantly help you achieve the sustainability and endurance you need for a fruitful life. Megan is a national correspondent for Inside Edition and a special correspondent for Thursday Night Football on CBS. She is the author of “Faith in the Spotlight,” where she shares her practical advice for achieving excellence in career, faith, and family, and gives an honest look at thriving in a secular industry, as a believer, without compromising on her faith and values. She is a mother of two, travels, is immersed in the world of media and sports, and is still daily growing in her relationship with God.
We sat down with Megan to get practical advice and some strategies that she uses in her life that you can also apply to continually grow yourself and stay true to who you are in the Lord in a world that pressures conformity every day.
When asked how she finds balance in her life, Megan responded, “The honest answer to that is I don’t like the word balance. I think we should throw it out the window.” She asserts that the idea of “balance” comes with expectations that leave us feeling guilty if we’ve spent more of our time in certain roles on any given day. She went on to explain that each day presents itself with a unique set of “demands” on a person, and depending on those present for a given day, the individual may need to make a priority shift between roles. “I honestly reset myself every day. I’ve really found that some days I’m all work, 24/7, and some days I’ve found I’m all mom and wife. Every person is unique. I can’t compare myself to someone else or I will go crazy. I have had to find what works for me. You need to figure out what works for you.”
Knowing the “why” behind what you do is crucial to maintaining the drive you need when challenges and setbacks come in life, work, or relationships. In “Faith in the Spotlight,” Megan challenges her readers to write out a personal “Mission Statement,” which is a short written statement to help them refocus and keep them on track in life. She explains, “Start with the big ‘why’ question. What do you want to do, but why do you want to do it? It’s putting pen to paper, and saying ‘Ok what do I believe in? What’s important to me?’” In other words, find the things you want to always keep in perspective, and write those down. Megan goes on, “For me it’s been really helpful in terms of defining the absolutes in my life. For example, as an actor…I know this is kind of an extreme example, but a nudity clause. In a movie, I will not take off my clothes, which is a real issue in the entertainment industry. A mission statement can be simple, just a couple of lines, but it reminds you, ‘OK yeah, why do I get up in the morning?’ ‘What do I believe?’ For me, I keep it on a notecard, on my desk as a reminder there in front of me.”
Having daily reminders of not only where you stand, but where you want to go, is so crucial because human nature tends to lose sight of the big picture when we focus on the details. One of the best ways to get those reminders is through accountability with like-minded individuals who share that desire to grow. This is not just limited to surrounding yourself with friends who will encourage you in this way, but it also means finding mentors in life that you can look up to and from whom you can gain insights and knowledge.
Megan went on to describe the different types of mentors a person can have, as well as strategies for proactively seeking them and their counsel. “You have to be creative with it. In the book, I talk about distant mentors. Those are people that you may never even meet. But if it’s somebody like Oprah, I’m going to read every book she’s written. I’m going to study her interviews. I’m going to follow her as a role model from afar. Then there are casual mentors. An example of a casual mentor would be when I bumped into Deborah Norville in the hallway. She’s the anchor of our show, and she’s extremely busy. If I get five minutes with her in the makeup room, I am going to be extremely intentional in my conversation. I was engaged when I joined Inside Edition. I remember asking her, ‘What’s the secret to a good marriage?’ She’s been married twenty years, which is highly unusual in our business, and she gave me couple pieces of advice. And hopefully you will be able to get a few of those true mentors, which for me could be someone I met at church, where I get to meet with them for coffee occasionally and exchange dreams and ideas and brainstorm. So you have to be creative, you have to sort of piecemeal it together… And don’t be discouraged if somebody turns you down. I’ve certainly had people turn me down.”
The reality is that setbacks and opposition are guarantees in all areas of life at one time or another, but if we can learn to shift our perspective to a place that won’t let those setbacks stop us, nothing can impede us from overcoming opposition. Megan shares, “There have been so many times when people have discouraged me from auditioning for a part, even for the job at Inside Edition. My agent at the time told me I wasn’t their type and I didn’t stand a chance. But I had an acting coach right out of college, a wonderful Christian man, who said, ‘Don’t look at it as getting the job. Look at it as an experience, and go in wanting to learn something about yourself or meet somebody new.’ If you go in for feedback, or you go in to just overcome some public speaking fears or to just try something new, it changes everything.” This change in perspective, coupled with the truth that God made you as a unique individual with talents, perspectives, and a distinctive physical appearance that only you have, counteracts one of the biggest lies that the world continually boasts…that you need to change who you are, how you look, and the way you think to match what somebody else thinks.
Megan adds, “My message to everyone is that there have been times people have told me that I was not the right type, I should not go in for that audition. I want people to know, especially young girls, you are unique and you have to be proud of who you are. Please don’t be discouraged because there have literally been times where if I had listened to those voices, I would have not gotten the job. Be proud of what you look like. It is awesome to be different.”
Megan’s desire is to encourage people who are faced with difficult choices to “stick up for themselves, hold true to how they were raised—their faith, their values, and their family.” She reassures that when you do that, “You won’t just survive, you can thrive!”