Podcast

Episode 109 – Paula Faris, Leaving The View and Embracing Hard Conversations

This week we’re continuing our special series all about the Art of Difficult Dialogue. And there may be no better person to give us some wisdom on this topic than Paula Faris. You likely know Paula as an ABC News journalist who has occupied a spot on The View, as well as a position on the Good Morning America Weekend desk. Today, Paula and Jessica have an amazing conversation about how Paula navigates the high-stakes, uncomfortable-conversation-filled world of journalism. They’ll also touch on how we can talk to our kids about responsibly navigating the media landscape.

TRANSCRIPT

Jessica: Hey, everyone! Welcome back to the Going Scared podcast. This is your host Jessica Honegger, founder of the social impact fashion brand Noonday Collection. Join me here every week for conversations on living lives of purpose by leaving comfort and going scared.

I’m excited to be back with you here for our second week for our Art of Difficult Dialogue series. And let me tell you, sometimes there’s nothing scarier than going into a difficult conversation. This week, we are going to continue with another powerful episode; this time with Paula Faris.

You may know Paula from the high-profile, high-stakes world of broadcast journalism where she was co-anchor of “Good Morning America Weekend” and “The View.” Paula is a seasoned journalist with many difficult interviews under her belt, and so many times where she could have leveraged her power as a journalist to take a righteous or judgmental stand, she chose over and over again to listen to people as people – not as policies, sides, or ideologies.

Her training has taught her how to interview others without bias. So, I asked her to give us the Journalism 101on today’s show. Her tips on engaging uncomfortable conversations, how to talk to our kids about forming their own opinions, and, in an era of blurry lines between journalism and commentary, how to do our own research and check our biases are valuable tips. Here’s my conversation with Paula.

 

Paula Faris: Leaving “The View” and Finding Her Truth

Jessica: I’m super excited to talk today. I have to tell you that when – we’re in Austin –  awhen we went into shelter-in-place back in March, I went to our office, grabbed a stack of books sitting in my office, and then just came and plopped them down in my new home office setup. And your book is at the top of the stack. And so, you have been accompanying me for the past four months. Every day I walk into my office, and I’m like, "There’s Paula. There she is."

Paula: Hi, Jessica. I’m just greeting you to your home office every day. Welcome.

Jessica: That’s right. You’ve got me through a lot over the past four months. Let me tell you, it’s been a little crazy. But I’m really excited to talk today. I finally had the chance to read your book, and there’s just so much richness there and so much courage, so much courage in your story.

Paula: Thank you.

Jessica: And that’s really what this podcast is all about.

Paula: Thank you.

Jessica: So, we’re gonna get to do a deep dive. But before that, I wanted to ask, where are you now? Because I know you were in South Carolina. But you live and work. What are you guys doing right now?

Paula: We are still in South Carolina, still here, still hunkered down. And, yeah, we’re loving it a lot. And we’re thinking about just relocating here. I think everyone’s… whether it’s a full reset or just like a slight pivot, where everybody’s thinking, "Hmm, just because I’ve done it this way doesn’t mean I have to continue doing it this way." So, it’s emboldened us to maybe realize that we can reimagine work and life. And it doesn’t have to be the way that it once was.

Jessica: Which is interesting because that is really what your book is about. And you had your first “aha” during the Twin Towers, or one of your many firsts when you thought, "Okay, I’m gonna stick a stake in the ground and I’m going to pursue this career that God’s put on my heart." And now, we’re in kind of, I would say, it’s our second big crisis or our first big crisis since then, I would say, at this level, and you’re right, it leads us all to a pivot, a rethink of our priorities.

Paula: It’s such an interesting time because, yes, tragedy and opportunity can coexist, right? I think we’ve all seen that there’s a lot of tragedy happening, but there is a reset button if we want it. But when in our history, Jessica, have we ever had an opportunity to be this united over one thing, not even in world wars, or previous pandemic? And this is a global pandemic, where it’s indiscriminate. It’s indiscriminately affecting us, young, old. I mean, obviously, the older are probably affected a little bit more so, but rich, poor, black, white, and I think it’s just an opportunity to unite. But it’s also an opportunity for all of us to reimagine and rethink and reset if we want to. That’s where the opportunity can come amidst the tragedy. And we don’t have to focus on the tragedy. We can focus on a pivot, like you said, and the shift. But it’s a matter of stepping into this, stepping, having the courage to do it. But the first step’s kind of been done for us in many regards. It’s now just up to us.

Jessica: Okay. So, tell me a little bit what your days look like because you’re currently a journalist and correspondent for ABC News. Your husband, is he still with the real estate?

Paula: Yes. Yep. My husband is in commercial real estate.

Jessica: So, what are your days looking like now that you’re doing everything remotely?

Paula: Well, my husband’s job has been one Zoom call after another. And he hasn’t even gone back to New York because now we’re entering New York, it has issued a mandate if you’re coming from certain states, you have to quarantine for two weeks and he’s like, "I can be just as effective here." So, he manages a huge office, that commercial real estate firm has several hundred commercial real estate agents under him, and he’s just on Zoom calls all day. For me, it’s some Zoom calls, it’s some Zoom interviews. I miss the personal connection, especially in journalism, just the curiosity, the question asking, but the connection, I miss that personal connection a lot. I really do.

But to be honest, I really feel like God’s leading me in some other directions. I’m excited to… I can’t talk about them right now. But I’ve learned in this season, and I write about it some in my book, but I feel like this journey keeps continuing is that I, A, had to release myself from that lie that my only worth was in work or status or that was my value. And then God really gave me the permission to branch out and to try new things. And I’ve kind of like walking in that in this season trying to see what else because I thought… and I think we all fall in this trap, Jessica,  that I’m going to be this one thing for the rest of my life, whether I’m trapped, whether we’ve been… that’s been ingrained in us that we were born to do this one thing and called to do this one thing.

And when that one thing shifts or shakes, who are you outside of it? So, God just really gave me A, released me from that lie that my only value was in vocation or worth was in doing. And then once he released me from that, he gave me the permission to branch out and try new things and to see myself multi-dimensionally. I don’t have to be one thing forever and ever and ever. I can do things vocationally for a couple of seasons. I can try new things. I don’t have to back myself into a corner, just like we’re not just mind or just body. We’re mind, body, soul. We are multidimensional beings and we can do new things, but it’s up to us whether, A, we wanna realize, okay, that’s not my worth. I have to remember what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and who I’m doing it for, remembering the purpose in that. But just also remembering that that’s not my value, and it gives you the courage once you realize… it gives you just the courage and emboldenment to try new things based on the unique talents and gifts that we each have.

Jessica: You write about that. You write about the distinction between a faith calling and a vocational calling. So, explain to us how that distinction helped you and your journey. Because I know a lot of listeners are listening right now and they remember you from "The View," they remember from "GMA Weekend," and they even might right now be like, "What happened? What happened to her? Where did she go?" So, tell us a little bit about your journey.

Paula: Exactly. What did that crazy braud do? Yeah. What did that crazy braud do? Yeah, I stepped away at the height of my careers. What I did, I pumped the brakes and I really felt like God was asking me to slow down, even though I really didn’t want to. Who walks away at the height of their career? But what good is it for a man to gain the world but to lose his soul in the process? When I looked around, Jessica, my professed values were really contradicting and clashing with the choices that I was making professionally and personally. And my personal life felt like it was just out of control. But professionally, I was at this high. And so, when God extracted me from that, finally, through a series of tragedies, where he had to physically slow me down, and that’s why I truly believe in this moment we’re in right now, we can experience loss and tragedy, but we can also experience opportunity in that same breath. They are not mutually exclusive. They can coexist. Because out of my own personal tragedies, which I write about in the book, this season of how, I’m not gonna elaborate about what happened, but it was a tough season and God slowed me down, that’s when I realized I needed to take a step back. I needed to pivot. I needed to get off the fast track. I needed to get my life back.

“But what good is it for a man to gain the world but to lose his soul in the process?” Paula Faris

But once I did, I realized I didn’t know who I was outside of my job. I was like… I just wrapped up my everything in this thing, and it’s totally shifted now. So, who am I outside of this? So, there’s this season of self-reflection, trying to figure out who I was outside of it. And that’s when I realized, I thought that I had this calling on my life, that there was this one thing I supposed to do, that that’s why I was here on this earth. And that message is one that we get from churches to find your calling, and it’s synonymous with career. It’s the message that we get from society, who are you? What do you do for a living? Lean in as hard as you can, it’s reinforced to our kids. What do you wanna be? What do you wanna do when you grow up? So, there’s this… From the time where we can walk and talk, this is the message that we’re getting, that our value is in doing, our value is in status, our value is in this thing, our value is in doing. And guess what, the doing shifts throughout our life. So, if our entire identity and purpose is wrapped up in that, and when that thing shifts and shakes, which it is bound to, we’re not gonna know who we are.

So, God just revealed that we have two callings on our life. We have a faith calling and then we have a vocational calling. Faith calling never changes, vocational calling does. Faith calling is who we are, vocational calling is what we do. Faith calling is why we’re here on this earth, and it will never change. It has nothing to do with work, has nothing to do with career. For me, my faith calling, my purpose is to love God and love people. That’s it. And before it may have been, my purpose is to be the best broadcaster that I can be. And you notice when my purpose is tied doing that my identity is going to be rocked when that shifts. So, I know my purpose now is to love God and love people. That’s it. That’s it, end of day, done. My vocational calling can and will change and has changed. Vocational calling, just think of it, vocation vehicle. It’s the vehicle by which you will express your brief calling your purpose. It’s the conduit by which you’ll love God and love people. Whatever you say your faith calling might be, it may be to be kind to people. You have to figure out what is it about you, like, why do you feel like you’re here on this earth, but it can’t be tied to the doing. So, for me, it’s just to love God and love people, yeah.

“From the time where we can walk and talk, this is the message that we’re getting, that our value is in doing, our value is in status, our value is in this thing, our value is in doing … So, if our entire identity and purpose is wrapped up in that, and when that thing shifts and shakes, which it is bound to, we’re not gonna know who we are.” Paula Faris

Jessica: Right. So, thank you so much for just explaining the distinction between a faith calling and a vocational calling. And then you’re talking about how a faith calling for you, it’s loving God and loving people. But what else can that look like for other people that might be outside of your faith, Christianity?

Paula: Absolutely. And I think it’s important to show up as your true self, no matter who you are, whether you’re atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim. I have an agnostic Buddhist friend, who I write about in the book. And he says his faith calling, his purpose might be to be a respectful and kind person. So, everything that he does is rooted in that. Just think of your faith calling and your vocational calling like a vine and branches. Your vine is your faith calling or your purpose, okay? It’s what is it about you that… Why do you think you’re here that doesn’t have anything to do with doing, but what is it about you that’s not going to change? And what do you want people to remember about you? It’s the who you are, okay? That’s your vine. Everything’s rooted in that. And a healthy vine produces many branches. So, think your different vocational branches, but your vocational branches, they’re all rooted in the vine. So, everything I do is rooted in, for me, loving God and loving people. My friend who is a Buddhist says everything that he does is rooted in being a kind and a respectful person. So that is your purpose. That’s the reason that you’re here, okay? And that’s something that’s never going to change value.

But yeah, show up as your… I think it’s so important to show up as your true self no matter who you are, what you ascribe to. I think if we did that, in this moment, Jessica, we’d had a lot more provocative conversations and just learn a lot more from one another and tear down those walls of ignorance.

 

The Art of Difficult Dialogue

Jessica: Well, I’m glad that you brought that up because, actually, one of the big reasons I wanted to have you on the show is because we just launched our series, and it is a new series and it’s all about how we can learn to agree to disagree. And in so many ways, we’ve lost that art of dialogue. And I know you’ve had to show up as your authentic self. I mean, in a place like "The View" where I know you had to have an unbiased point of view anyway as a journalist, but how do you hold that tension of showing up as your authentic self, while also holding the tension of being able to disagree with others, agree? Give us a little bit of a 101 on that.

Paula: Sure. I think the key is respecting one another, okay? Respect and being able to disagree without being disagreeable, seeing the other person… When I worked at "The View," and I’m still good friends with Whoopi and Joy and the cast. If I just looked at Whoopi and Joy as policy, then all I would see is what they stood for, Democrats or what the beliefs that they ascribe to. Instead, I felt like the one thing that I learned, the resounding lesson for me in working at "The View" was I learned to see people for people and not people just as policy. We so often look at people, like, "Oh, she’s a Democrat, she’s a Republican, she’s anti-abortion, she’s pro-choice." We label people so often. And if we can just realize, like, you have a right to your opinion, and I have a right to mine. I can be confident enough in my opinions and my beliefs that I don’t need to persuade you. It’s okay for you to believe what you believe. It doesn’t make what I believe to be any less true. So, we’re just seeing people for people and not people as policy. But also, being able to respect another person and knowing that it doesn’t make what you believe any less believable or any less true to you if you respect somebody else, okay? You don’t have to persuade every single person. And, for me, it’s like, what good is it if I’m a total jerk, and I’m not rooted in love, if I’m not loving people? People are not gonna listen to anything I say.

So, I just wanna show up as my true self, encourage other people. And once they do, just show them, I can love you, I can love you as a person. And I don’t have to just see policy and I can respect you because, from my perspective, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are knit together in your mother’s womb, just like I was, okay, and I can respect you for that. And that’s all I need to know. I don’t have to try to change your mind. You can believe what you believe, and I can believe what I believe, and it doesn’t make either of us wrong.

“I don’t have to try to change your mind. You can believe what you believe, and I can believe what I believe, and it doesn’t make either of us wrong.” Paula Faris

Jessica: And one of your… I mean, one of your obvious God-given values is curiosity, and curiosity makes for good journalism. But it also just makes for being a good human and you are a master interviewer yourself. And I imagine that good interview skills are also good conversation skills that we all could learn. So, I wanted to know, could you give us a little journalism 101? I mean, I imagine when you were on this career trajectory that you actually have to… I’m sure there’s just basic rules around interviews. I’m sure I’ve broken all of them today.

Paula: So, you’ve been fine honestly, like it’s the working from home thing. So, it’s all good. Give yourself lots of grace. You brought up something interesting. You said my curiosities, okay? This all goes back to finding out maybe what you’re geared to do, and I so often just saw myself as a broadcaster. But what are you good at? What do you love? And what do trusted people notice you’re good at and you love? Answer those three questions. You have to check all those boxes.

For me, curiosity, my nickname was Paula 20 Questions growing up. I’ve always been like one to get to the bottom of the story, question asking, communicator, champion of people, that made me a good broadcaster. But guess what, the curiosity, the question asking, the champion, the communicator, I can use those in a lot of different vocational capacities, Jessica. And for so long, I’ve been too scared to try anything different because I thought I was one thing for the rest of my life. And now that I know I can use those talents and gifts that I have, the talents and gifts that you have, the talents and gifts that your listeners have, what are you good at? What do you love? What do trusted people notice you’re good and you love? You could use those on a lot of different branches. So, ask yourself those three questions, check off every box. It might be something like, "I’m a loyal person, I’m an encourager, I’m a leader." Something like that. And then realize, "I can branch out, I can try new things."

Interviewing is really making people feel comfortable, making people feel valued, making people feel heard, maybe making people feel seen. For me, when I go into an interview, I want people… I’m interviewing political types. I’m interviewing celebrities. I feel like there’s no question I can’t ask as long as I ask it in a respectful manner. I think it’s just being grounded in respect, but also being grounded in listening and making these people feel seen. If I show up to an interview and I’m about somebody’s new book or about somebody’s new project, and I haven’t done the research to show them that I’ve taken the time and I care enough about this, if I haven’t done the basic groundwork, and shown up and done that, then they’re gonna feel like I don’t care, and they’re not gonna open up. So, just making them feel heard and seen by doing the research and listening to them and just making them feel… that makes them feel comfortable. And once they’re comfortable with you, you could ask them whatever you want in a respectful manner. I mean, for me, I feel like there’s no question I can’t ask people.

Jessica: Really? What about how do you check your own bias?

Paula: Well, because I think I check my own bias because I recognize that I have one. And I recognize that all of us have one. We all have an inherent bias based upon our circumstances, our surroundings, our childhood, where we work. Listen, I was raised in a Christian conservative home so that was my purview, okay? And then I went to a Christian college and now I work in a pretty secular environment, okay? So, I have had to recognize that a lot of my purview and my paradigm has been formed by my inherent bias, by my childhood, by my experiences, by my circumstances, and you have to recognize that just like somebody that has grown up in a very liberal Democrat, like you need to realize, we all have an inherent bias. We all tend to see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear and surround ourselves with our echo chamber, so you have to check that.

You have to, A, recognize, "I have an inherentbias." B, you have to make sure that you’re… Like, for me, I’m cross-referencing. I’m not just watching or looking at one new source. I’m cross-referencing, I’m sourcing, I’m double sourcing. And for the listeners and for the viewers out there: don’t just watch and listen to one source. I mean cross-reference, even if it’s someone that’s outside of your echo chamber, you owe that to yourself, especially in this time that we’re in now, where the lines between journalism and commentary are really blurred. I mean a true journalist wants to be objective. I want more than anything. That was the biggest challenge for me on "The View," is trying to stay politically neutral, because I was told to stay politically neutral, but I was placed on this politically charged show, it was really tough, so…

“Don’t just watch and listen to one source. I mean cross-reference, even if it’s someone that’s outside of your echo chamber, you owe that to yourself, especially in this time that we’re in now, where the lines between journalism and commentary are really blurred.” Paula Faris

Jessica: I could not imagine being in that position.

Paula: I felt like a total failure. I’ll be honest, it was really tough. But I think at the end of the day, we all have an inherent bias. None of us can say that we’re not biased. None of us can say that we’re completely objective. So guess what, recognize it, and then take the steps to counteract, like, for me, I’m just making sure that my own thought process, that I’m playing the devil’s advocate on the opposite side of that to stay neutral as a journalist. But I think we owe it to ourselves to cross-reference and to be uncomfortable every now and then to challenge those norms. You have to be ready to explain for the hope that is within you, okay? And that can be uncomfortable sometimes. But don’t be afraid…

Jessica: It takes a lot of work. I’m trying to teach my kids about cross-referencing. And I’m like, it takes so much work to read an article here and then notice the headlines. I’ll scroll Fox, and I’m like, "Look at those headlines." I am a New York Times subscriber, I scroll that, I’m like, "Wow, these look totally different." I go to NPR to hear that. It takes so much work, but it’s worth it, is what you’re saying.

Paula: Yeah. And it’s interesting because at a class of… like, a clear-cut case of inherent bias is we can all listen to the State of the Union. We can all listen to any sort of speech and we have a take on it. And how can three different outlets have three completely different takes on it? It’s because we all have an inherent bias, right? We all do. So, we see what we wanna see and we hear what we wanna hear. So that’s why it’s up to you to kind of, like, form your own opinion. You’re a big girl, you’re a big boy, you can do this. But just take the extra time to do it, and owe it to you, owe it to yourself, and it’s good to challenge yourself. It’s good to be a little uncomfortable every now and then to know why it is that you believe what you believe and to be able to hold that conviction.

 

Navigating the Media Landscape

Jessica: I love that you brought up echo chamber. I have a fiery 14-year-old I was telling you about her at the beginning of the show. And we are a mixed-race family. So I have a son who is Black, and the Black Lives Matter conversation, we are all lit up and very excited actually about… talk about people exploring their biases, and more than ever white people have been willing to actually consider, "Gosh, maybe I do have racist ways of thinking." And I don’t need to see color because color does have such an input on how I see the world. And so, she’s on fire and she’s on TikTok. That’s a dangerous combination, okay? Let me just tell you. I don’t know if you’re there yet with your daughter.

Paula: Oh, gosh, I’m just trying to avoid TikTok, but it’s impossible. It’s everywhere.

Jessica: It’s everywhere. We just went there. So, we held off pretty long as she’s going in high school.

Paula: Yeah, I was gonna say.

Jessica: One of the things she was showing me some very opinionated videos. And perhaps I even agreed with their point of view, but I am wanting her to understand, "Okay, you can be really opinionated." But she immediately was like, "There’s this person I’m following, and they said this, and I’m unfollowing." And I was trying to challenge her on that. And I know there’s this cancel culture right now. And I was trying to say, "Hey, you can be opinionated, but also you want to be a woman of influence." And so, how can you win influence towards your opinion?

And so, tell me what you think about, yeah, how can we teach our children to hold these tensions of being opinionated, especially as young women, we’re often told to be quiet, that we don’t have a voice at the table? So, I’m not one to tell her not to be opinionated, but I’m also wanting her to have this unbiased understanding that she’s coming from a point of view where someone else comes from, it’s because of how they grew up.

Paula: Absolutely.

Jessica: You could have landed just where they landed if you’d grown up exactly in their shoes so…

Paula: Yeah. I think it’s so important. And I just was having some conversations with my daughter the other day where she had the best of intent, but it’s the way that she went about it, and I said, "Honey, you realize if you just would have changed your tone in this conversation, it would have changed the entire dynamic and the entire dialogue." I said, "I know what your intent was, but the way that you went about it." I said, "If you just would have changed the way that you said it." And so, I think with kids, you want them to have an opinion. You want them to do their research. I try to reinforce this with my daughter. I’m like, "I don’t wanna know what you’re against. I wanna know what you’re for. I want you to be at the table. But don’t just come to the table and tell me what you don’t… Don’t just tell me what you’re against. Come to the table respectfully, and say, ‘Here are my issues, my three issues, but here are my three solutions.’" You come to the table equipped, you come to the table well versed and researched, and you tell me what your issues are, but then you tell me what the solutions are. I don’t just wanna know what you’re against. I want to know what you’re for. And guess what, you can come to the table and tell me anything you want, as long as you do so in a respectful manner. So that’s what I’m trying to teach her. I want her to be a strong and courageous and independent woman. But I want her to be a respectful woman. And I think that that’s what we’re missing in society, is just that base level respect.

And because if we were truly respectful of one another and truly tolerant of one another, it would be enough for us to believe what we believe and for somebody else to believe what they believe. That’s true, like, that’s tolerance, that’s being able to respect. You know what, I don’t agree with you. I don’t agree with you at all, but I can still respect you. You have to be able to agree to disagree and still respect the human being. And we don’t. We make character assassinations. And we are a culture where we try to ruin people. We wanna ruin people instead of rehabilitate them.

“If we were truly respectful of one another and truly tolerant of one another, it would be enough for us to believe what we believe and for somebody else to believe what they believe.” Paula Faris

Jessica: That’s so true. Oh, my gosh, it’s so visceral, it’s so visceral, which is why you have so much courage to be in an environment, a journalistic environment, which is in a lot of ways. I mean, we had someone named Max Stossel, he’s from the Center of More Humane Technology. I discovered them on 60 minutes a couple of years ago, and our last podcast series was about digital health. And so, I wanted to have him come on because he was a tech insider. He was the one who created the algorithms of the apps and then realized he wanted to be on the other side. And so he really went into how clickbaity the news needs to be in order to get the average typing dollars and just how even what comes across your screen, it’s already been filtered for you from your own bias of what you already click on so…

Paula: And that’s tough. And guess what? That’s tough and it’s uncomfortable, it can be really uncomfortable. It can be painful at times. But any sort of growth requires pruning. And sometimes that pruning is deep. Any sort of growth requires stepping out of our comfort zone.

Jessica: And you are becoming a professional stepping out of your comfort zone or I bet you never would have thought that years ago.

Paula: I’m a professional person that makes leaps that don’t make sense. That’s what I’m becoming professional at.

Jessica: Courage is so contagious, and I think that is what I was so excited to talk with you today because you are demonstrating so much courage, and I’m wondering we always ask everyone on the Going Scared podcast as we wrap up. How are you going scared?

Now, I know you mentioned there’s some stuff going on that you can’t totally tell us about. But what I have found is when I’ve made those courageous steps in my life to move forward, for me, it was starting a social impact business and then fast-growing and sticking with it and dealing with mom guilt and all of the things that we go through as we continue to stick to our convictions. And I’ve noticed that those first few steps of courage, they just become addictive. Now, I want a lifestyle of courage. And how are you continuing to choose courage in your life right now?

 

Going Scared and Choosing Courage

Paula: Well, I’m continuing to choose courage because I know what’s on the other side of it. I know when I look back at the moments where fear and discouragement have ruled me and have paralyzed me, there was no growth, there was hindrance, there was complete paralysis. And I have come to the point where I’ve realized, guess what? Fear is not something that I’m going to conquer. Fear, I should expect fear, I should anticipate fear. But in many especially in big decisions, fear is going to rear its ugly head. But it is up to me to step into it, to press into my fear, to step out on that staircase when I can only see the first step in front of me, and to live a life that’s rooted in faith and trust.

Trusting that I have a piece in my spirit that this is what I’m supposed to do. I can have a piece; I can still be scared as hell about it. That’s totally normal. It’s normal to feel fear. So, once I embraced knowing that fear is normal, and I should expect and anticipate it, I’m like, "Let’s go for it." And you know what, what’s the worst possible thing that could happen on the other side of it, of stepping into that fear? What’s the worst thing? But guess what, the worst thing is being paralyzed by it. That’s worse than actually not taking that step. That’s worse than not taking the leap of faith. That’s worse than not trusting what’s on the other side of it, is the paralysis that this is going to rule you, instead of you rulingit.

Jessica: And the only way to see that it doesn’t have to rule you is by stepping through it. That’s the only way through our fears. And I imagine you looking back to walking away from "GMA Weekend" and walking away from "The View" and deciding really to put the brakes on your career in some ways. I mean, let me ask you, do you regret that?

Paula: No, not at all. I will say like an addict. I was addicted to my job. I was addicted to this significance that I found in it. And an addict always misses that high. There are moments I miss being the “it girl.” I miss being the next big thing because I took myself out of that rotation in many regards. But no, I mean, I am so grateful. I was scared for a long time, though. My fear paralyzed me. I was scared of what I was walking away from, these two dream jobs. And I was scared of what I was walking into. I didn’t know what it looked like. But that’s the thing.

So often, we wanna see that next chapter before we have finished writing the one that we’re in, but that’s not how it works. It’s just not. If you have a piece about it, I say that’s the first step. If you have a piece, proceed. And then the next step, expect fear, just expect it and anticipate it, it’s normal, but it is up to you. You get to press into it, you get to push through it, and you get to be stronger on the other side, and then you get to branch out and do new things. And you get to say, "My fear didn’t rule me," instead of, "I got to rule my fear. I told my fear where to go." But yeah, I’m excited about what’s next. I don’t really know what it looks like. But I know without a doubt that I have a peace in my spirit that I’m supposed to be moving in a direction and it is scary, but I know that I’m going to take those steps because I am about it. That’s where it all starts for me, is the peace. If you have peace,proceed.

“So often, we wanna see that next chapter before we have finished writing the one that we’re in, but that’s not how it works.” Paula Faris

Jessica: It’s so powerful to think about that fear and peace can co-exist.

Paula: I mean it’s true because so often we say, "Oh, that’s my intuition telling… My fears, my intuition telling me I shouldn’t proceed." That’s a lie. Your peace is in your spirit. Fear can get in your heart and in your head. Fear, I just say you should expect fear and anticipate it in big and small decisions, but the fear and the peace can coexist. And don’t tell yourself, "Oh, my intuition is my fear." No, fear will rear its ugly head, and fear will try to slay your dream, fear will try to rob you of what you know in your spirit you’re supposed to be doing.

Do not let it rule you, you need to rule it, you need to step into it. But know that it’s nothing that you’re going to be cured of or conquer. I mean, it’s going to be present. That’s the thing I think, especially as a woman of faith, I was like, "Oh, I shouldn’t be plagued by fear anymore." No, fear is going to be there throughout your life. But it’s up to you to press into it and to step into it, press past it. It’s gonna be there. Just expect it. There’s nothing wrong with you. You haven’t done anything wrong. You are normal to feel this. But it’s up to you. You get to tell it where to go. You get to press into it. Own it, don’t let it own you.

Jessica: I love that, just normalizing fear. I had that the other day. I was feeling nervous. I was doing a podcast interview and I had been on a break for a few weeks. And so, you take a break, you feel a little rusty. And my stomach was churning that morning and like, "Gosh, I’m kind of anxious. What is this? Why am I anxious today? I’ve got a great day." And I was like, "I’m doing a podcast interview and I’m feeling a little rusty.

And you know what, that’s pretty normal, to feel that fear of anticipation, a little bit of anxiety when you haven’t done something in a while." That’s okay. And just even becoming aware of it and then saying, "This is actually a good thing. This is a normal thing. I’m just gonna invite this to come along, but I’m not gonna let it paralyze me. I’m not gonna cancel an interview because I’m afraid right now." I’m just gonna walk through it, and I was done with the interview, it was a lovely, powerful conversation, and I went about my day. So, I think that’s so powerful, just recognizing that fear is normal.

Paula: Totally. You have to normalize it. You have to normalize it. And there’s nothing wrong with you when you feel it. Honestly, you’re one of the rest of us.

Jessica: You’re a human being.

Paula: You’re a human being, you are. And we’re human beings, not human doings. I hate that, but it’s true. There’s nothing wrong with you at all, you’re normal.

“We’re human beings, not human doings.” Paula Faris

Jessica: While it does require more effort to get your news from multiple sources, it enables you to get a more unbiased view of the story. You’ll find me within the same hour on Medium, New York Times, Fox, World Magazine Website, NPR, and Wall Street Journal. Paula’s grounded perspective and powerful message around bringing respect, being able to disagree without being disagreeable are words I’ve been living by.

We’ll catch you next week with our next guest, my own executive coach, Marie Case where we’ll be digging in deep when it comes to how we listen can actually change the course of a conversation.

To keep up with Paula, head on over to PaulaFarisOfficial.com and check out her new book “Called Out: Why I Traded Two Dream Jobs for a Life of True Calling.”

Make sure you head on over and rate this podcast because it helps other people find the show. Our wonderful music for today’s show is by my good friend Ellie Holcomb. Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz. And I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.