LIFE DOESN’T ALWAYS FOLLOW A SCRIPT
HomeLife talks to Inside Edition’s Megan Alexander about staying true to your convictions.
by Julia Bonner
Megan Alexander wears many hats as a national news correspondent, host, emcee, and actress, in addition to her roles as a devoted wife and proud mother of two young boys. In her first book, Faith in the Spotlight: Thriving in Your Career While Staying True to Your Beliefs, Megan discusses the challenges Christian women often face as they advance in their careers and simultaneously navigate their roles at home and in their faith.
We sat down with her to discuss the chapter of her book titled “Life Does Not Always Follow a Script,” in which she discusses how to navigate workplace drama and the importance of staying true to yourself. In this interview, we learn more about how Megan has turned professional challenges into opportunities to honor God, herself, and her family. We’ll discover the lessons you can apply to do the same.
HomeLife: Why did you decide to write Faith in the Spotlight?
Megan: I received an email from a pastor in Seattle, in which he told me he has a church full of young, ambitious women of faith. They have big goals and dreams, but they’re worried they will need to compromise their faith to get ahead in their careers. He said he had few women to point them toward — they have few female working women role models. But he had heard of me and asked if I would come speak at his church. I said yes but decided to take it one step further. So I wrote this book. And it’s 90 percent about career.
I think the conversation of faith and the working woman has been lacking in the church.
HomeLife: That’s an interesting point. How so?
Megan: Well, I found myself walking into bookstores and seeing multiple books for Christian men in the workplace but few for women. I don’t feel the church has served our working women well. I know for me it’s frustrating to find that your church only offers Bible studies for women at 10 a.m. on a weekday. That’s great for a stay-at-home mom but not for those of us who work. I ended up starting my own study with fellow media professionals for this very reason. I’m hopeful this book will open the door to more conversation on this topic and encourage and empower working women of faith.
HomeLife: You mention finding trustworthy friends and colleagues in and outside of your industry is key to successfully navigating challenging situations through shared prayer, input, and grace. What advice would you give women starting their careers on how to build this important support system?
Megan: This is easier said than done. One of the chapters in my book is called “Mentors,” and it’s about this subject. I needed to be creative and intentional in finding mentors in my industry and my life. In the busy, fast-paced world of media in New York City, it’s hard to find time, but it’s important. Make the effort to seek out people you admire and take them to coffee. But if coffee doesn’t work, try to be more intentional with your time. If I get five minutes with Deborah Norville, who is the anchor of Inside Edition, I try to ask her thoughtful questions and make the most of our brief time together. Same with other women I admire. There will come a time when it’s your turn to be the mentor. I did this with a young actress, and it was a wonderful friendship that helped me just as much as it helped her.
HomeLife: One of the takeaways from the “Mentor” chapter is the value of persistence, and you note that it’s a character trait that’s more valuable than talent or education. Tell us how this trait has served you in your career and in dealing with others.
Megan: I will be blunt — I believe the key to my success has been staying in the game when others quit. Period. Persistence and determination are a big part of our industry, and I believe the Bible calls us to be persistent. Matthew 10:16 (ESV) says, “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” We’ve done a great job with the latter part, but we need to wise up and be persistent! Christians need to do excellent work and stay in the game. A lot of people preach about bringing morals and values back to entertainment, but few people actually work in the industry. I believe in order to change culture, we must engage directly with culture, and do it with excellence.
HomeLife: We love your stories on handling real-life situations at work and how you’ve made decisions. What are some of the ways you’ve had to get creative and “work the problem” as you’ve advanced in your career?
Megan: I was once asked to model a dress on television that showed way too much skin. It was just not for me, and I got a lot of pressure to put on this dress. But though I held firm and said no, I worked the problem and found a solution. I went and got another dress, put the look together in a few minutes, and showed it to my boss. They finally agreed that it was OK — I didn’t need to wear the other dress. And all of this occurred in a matter of minutes. I encourage young people to try and visualize how they will handle themselves in those moments. What are your values and what is your moral compass? How will this affect your decisions? Just as actors have to decide what roles they will and will not play, so we all need to figure out what choices we will make in our industries. I encourage people to be creative and “work the problem.” Some people want to protest and say no and walk out the door, but this isn’t my approach. I enjoy my job and everyone I work with. I want to be a team player, while still staying true to my values. And I believe with a little hard work and thought, you can do this.
HomeLife: If someone feels discouraged and downtrodden about their current path or efforts to walk their path, what would you tell them?
Megan: Keep moving. Keep meeting people. Keep looking for opportunities. My book is filled with countless stories where someone just kept knocking on doors, sending out résumés, or going to networking events, and they eventually met someone who connected them to their future job. You must keep at it. Surround yourself with people who encourage you, and don’t count out volunteer positions. My book is also filled with stories where someone was looking for a job and couldn’t find one, so they volunteered for a bit and this led to their next career opportunity.
HomeLife: You mention the importance of perspective when dealing with difficult situations at work. How do you keep your perspective during challenging times?
Megan: I have friends from all different walks of life. This helps me keep my perspective. I have two little boys that don’t care that I just interviewed Tim McGraw — they just want to wrestle with me when I get home. I have a great husband who knew me when I was making 10 bucks an hour at the local classical radio station, and although he’s so incredibly proud of me, he loves me for who I am. I try and get involved in all aspects of our industry. Not just television news, but movies, film, sports broadcasting, and more. This has helped me not get worked up over a situation at work. But I will be honest, this industry isn’t for the faint of heart. You need to let things roll off your back. I’ve learned to not take this personally and remember at the end of the day, I’m performing for an audience of One. This is a joy and a privilege.
HomeLife: For those women who want to have a career and family, what advice would you give them?
Megan: In all honesty, I’m still figuring this out myself! But I do know this — who you choose as your partner is incredibly important. When we were dating, my husband knew my career was really important to me. Our family has moved across the country because of my job, and my husband has adapted his work schedule to mine. He’s very hands-on with our kids. I do most of the traveling, and he stays home more. Find a guy who appreciates all aspects of you, and talk about what your family and partnership will look like. This was another reason I wrote my book. My husband and I often feel lonely in our journey because we don’t have a lot of couples to relate to. I’m talking and writing about this now to encourage the next generation. On a practical level, I also needed to be creative with my maternity leave. It was not long (eight weeks), and I worked a few days from my home studio. It’s just what I needed to do, and it worked for me. I believe women can have it all, but we can’t have it all perfectly. As long as we’re flexible and creative, we can make it work!
HomeLife: Throughout the book, you encourage women to take a seat at the table. Tell us what this means to you and how women can lead fearlessly and faith-first, regardless of their profession or industry.
Megan: I think the church needs to do a better job supporting our working women of faith. It’s an exciting time to be a woman of faith in today’s world! I believe the Lord wants His precious girls to go out courageously in this world and lead. It’s my hope that my book will help this next generation of women and guide them in a practical way. I talk about finding a partner, raising kids, asking for a raise, finding a mentor, handling challenging situations, and more. And I’ve collected wisdom from a ton of women I admire. It’s my prayer this book will inspire women to take their seat at the table and realize they can thrive in their careers and in life, while staying true to their beliefs. •
It’s my prayer this book will inspire women to take their seat at the table and realize they can thrive in their careers and in life, while staying true to their beliefs.”
Faith in the Spotlight: Thriving in Your Career While Staying True to Your Beliefs
Megan Alexander is a national correspondent for Inside Edition and a special correspondent for Thursday Night Football on CBS. In Faith in the Spotlight, she shares her practical advice for achieving excellence in career, faith, and family and takes an honest look at thriving in a secular industry as a believer.
In Faith in the Spotlight, Megan addresses how to succeed in your career while also staying true to ones beliefs. She gives inspiring, real-life examples of why women can — and should — lead in the workplace. She also shares valuable insight and behind-the-scenes stories from her interviews with famous athletes, media moguls, entertainers, and more. Drawing on her experience, she offers advice for plotting a career path, negotiating job contracts, competing and succeeding with the best and the brightest, and navigating difficult situations while maintaining a strong faith and values. She also writes about the importance of mentors, coping with rejection, handling high-pressure situations, and the ways being a Christian fulfills her role in a superficial society. Faith in the Spotlight is an intelligent, thought-provoking book about achieving success and will leave anyone empowered to dive into their career!
To learn more, visit FaithintheSpotlight.com.
Julia Bonner is a writer in the Nashville, Tenn., area and president of Pierce Public Relations, a faith and entertainment-focused public relations agency.
This article originally appeared in HomeLife magazine (September 2017). For more articles like this, subscribe to HomeLife.