Daryn Kagan is a big believer in “creating what you seek” and is living her dream “encore career” after leaving CNN. She likes to share her story and the fact that CNN didn’t renew her contract. Rather than ask “why?” it gave her a chance to ask herself if she really wanted to continue in the traditional news business and same career path.
Seeking inspiration in her next chapter, Daryn created a digital home on the internet where great and inspired stories could live. She’s the creator and host of the award-winning http://www.DarynKagan.com, a media company specializing in inspirational and motivational news content with a daily Web cast of stories that Daryn says, “Show the world what is possible” one story at a time.
Daryn was a CNN main news anchor and correspondent from 1994 to 2006, and was based in CNN’s world headquarters of Atlanta, Georgia. For eight years, Daryn served as the network’s mid-morning news anchor of CNN Live Today. She also served as host of the CNN/People magazine news entertainment program, People in the News, and earlier served as a CNN sports reporter and anchor. Daryn was nicknamed the “Good News Guru” by Martha Stewart’s Body + Soul magazine, and has provided daily news updates and inspiring news stories on Oprah Radio. Her first book, “What’s Possible: 50 True Stories of People Who Dared to Dream They Could Make a Difference,” was published in 2008.
When I interviewed Daryn for The Reinvention Exchange and the upcoming book I’m writing, she shared some important lessons and insights that she went through during the process of her Reinvention.
We talked about what scared her the most once she decided to try her hand at a new career, one that didn’t include working for CNN, and she said that staying in the same field was what seemed like the right thing to do…to everyone else.
For Daryn, it was about moving on to create something very special. But there would be a process and getting through it created a great deal of uncertainty but her passion drove her. She had been getting ready for this moment for a long time, only she didn’t really know it at the time.
Daryn went through, what she calls a “Multi-Part Process”
1. Grieving – the loss of the current, secure job at CNN.
2. Elimination – by eliminating the job she had done, made space for other things to come in and reflect on what she wanted. This led to making a definitive decision that it was ok to move on to something new.
3. Focus – Finding the thing that you’re supposed to go do. She had been contemplating this for some time – now it was time to get focused.
4. Inspiration – Figuring out what you love. Inspiration comes in pieces and very surprising places. Daryn recommends going on an inspirational treasure hunt – “go get six little spiral notebooks put them in all the places you can – bathroom, car, bedside, work, TV room, kitchen… Jot down anything that makes you go “hmmmm.”
Daryn got her inspiration when she was reading a website about War. Yahoo! had a website called HOTZONE by author/journalist Kevin Sites, a war correspondent who had been hired to cover the warzones. His website was intriguing – one man, one year, one idea… Daryn was fascinated with the idea that you could have a website about one idea. She thought – “If I had one, what would it be?”
Daryn had done everything at CNN but asked herself what did I like the best? Inspiring stories! She started a segment – “Your Spirit” – a regular weekly segment. She was tapping into it and didn’t know where it would go but it felt right.
From a financial perspective, Daryn never did a business plan; she just started working on the website. She worked with a financial planner and took out a sum of money from every check during her last year at CNN – slowly investing in her dream. Daryn had to give serious thought to how to monetize this new venture? She thought the website itself that would make money if she could generate advertising. This would require building traffic which meant great content, stories, and a strong social media network.
She had to think of www.DarynKagan.com as a brand, a destination and a community and make the site a compelling opportunity for guests and followers, as well as advertisers.
She was also an Expert – with the ability to do speaking engagements, creating content, books, a radio show and more. All were part of her brand and business strategy.
Daryn’s advice – “You need to get clear with yourself and with others working with you on your new plan. What’s the agenda? Is it money, balance, goals? Commit to a pad of paper, document everything and make a plan. What are your beliefs, values, non-negotiables? What’s most important in your life? Get clear on your road map and your template.
Also, give yourself the ability to revisit and give yourself permission to think otherwise along your journey. What was true once may not be so as things evolve so be open to it.
I checked in with Daryn before publishing her story to see what had recently evolved in her Reinvention and she shared with me that she’s heading back to TV in the New Year. She’s hosting her own talk show “Bookmarks with Daryn Kagan” on RLTV – “Redefine your Life TV.”
Daryn’s story is inspiring and offers real milestones that we go through when transitioning from one career to another and we’re faced with life–changing opportunities.