by Kent Sterling
Adversity is a wonderful thing. It allows us to examine, plot, and re-invent. Many of us are too fearful to cause ourselves adversity, so when it is delivered to us on a silver platter, it should be embraced.
Some friends of mine were fired last week in St. Louis. It happens. A company decides that moving in another direction is the wise course, and jobs are lost for some and found for others. At 101ESPN in St. Louis, Zach McCrite, Bob Ramsey, and Brian Stull are out. Kevin Wheeler and Brad Thompson are in. That’s the way things work.
It’s not unlike sports where roster adjustments occur very regularly. In the wake of the adjustments, former employees find their genius and discover a new road that is almost always more rewarding than their old jobs.
It’s easy for people like Zach, Bob, and Brian to see getting canned as a bad thing, but it’s quite positive. It’s a release to pursue what truly makes them happy and has the best chance to maximize their reward. It’s much worse to be locked into a gig that provides limited growth, and represents nothing more than a paycheck and professional identity.
The advice that provided clarity to me almost four years ago when I was issued my walking papers was, “You don’t need a job to work.” That made it easy for me to get up in the morning and have a purpose. I started creating content, and I haven’t stopped – even when I accepted the position as program director for 101ESPN – I never stopped writing completely.
And when my wife and I decided that being in Indianapolis with my family would be a better play than staying in St. Louis, I knew exactly what I would do – create as much high quality and unique content as I can.
That’s what people in the media do. The place where we do it is immaterial, as is the delivery system. Whether it’s via radio, print, television, or the internet, content is king. Zach, Bob, and Brian are superb creators of content, and just because 101ESPN decided to make a change they shouldn’t stop doing what they love and excel at.
A really smart guy told me right after I was fired that when successful people are faced with a reversal of fortune, they will find a way to succeed within two years. Successful people develop plans, execute them with discipline, and work tirelessly. I have no doubt that Zach, Bob, and Brian will do exactly that, and come out on the other end better for the changes that have been done to them.
The toughest part of marching into the unknown is that the destination is unknown, but it’s the faith that we are strong and smart enough to find a better path than the one we were on that raises the level of excitement for the process. Again, we get to choose the perspective we employ to deal with the unknown.
I wrote “adversity” originally instead of “unknown” at the end of the above paragraph, but it’s not adversity. It’s freedom. We get to choose what we do and how to do it. Instead of having our professional lives dictated by bosses whose focus is on the health and success of the whole rather than the parts (hint – we are the parts, and the corporation is the whole), we get to pilot our own ship and reap all the rewards.
There are hundreds of hosts and talent working in radio today who will either be swapped out for those who are believed to be a better fit, downsized, or otherwise displaced. Those who love what they do will find a way to do it better and smarter, and it will likely be outside the very companies that invited them to leave in the first place.
It’s not easy to wake up morning after morning to work at something you aren’t sure will ever bear any meaningful fruit, but that daily act of faith is exactly the most important trait of the successful.