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Paula Faris: The Emmy-Nominated Journalist on Fear, Faith, and Finding Your Calling

Daniel ScrivnerLast Updated: November 11, 2020

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“I believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t have any regrets, even though I’ve done some stupid stuff in my life — like, really dumb things. I wouldn’t take it back, because I learned more from my flaws and failures than I have from the ‘successes’ of life. Those have been the character builders.” — Paula Faris

In this episode of Outliers, I’m talking with Paula Faris (@paulafaris) about leaving prominent television host roles at the height of her career to find her strengths, her vocational calling, and her true self. 

After earning a degree in broadcasting, Paula Faris found her way to ABC News as a correspondent on World News Nowand America This Morning in 2012. She was later Co-Anchor of Good Morning America Weekend from 2014 – 2018 and Co-Host of The View from 2015 – 2018. She was nominated for a Daytime Emmy three years in a row for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host. Her podcast, Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris, ran for three seasons and featured guests from Tim Tebow to Ted Cruz. Her first book, Called Out: Why I Traded Two Dream Jobs for a Life of True Calling, was released in April 2020.

Topics Discussed

  • 00:02:15 – Paula’s background in faith, including Catholic, Lutheran, and non-denominational churches
  • 00:04:04 – Aspiring to give grace to herself and others, and not judging people on their worst days
  • 00:07:26 – Cancel culture and the assassination of people’s characters
  • 00:08:25 – The perils of pinning your value and purpose to what you do or to your career
  • 00:14:41 – Three questions to ask yourself to help find your vocational calling
  • 00:21:03 – Why Paula launched her podcast, Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris
  • 00:21:49 – How peace and fear can coexist in choices
  • 00:23:20 – Taking the first step and allowing God to reroute you as needed
  • 00:26:08 – Five questions to ask yourself when you feel fear in a situation
  • 00:30:02 – How COVID-19 affected Paula’s book launch and mindset
  • 00:32:50 – On narrating her own audiobook
  • 00:35:29 – A deep dive into Paula’s podcast, Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris, and what she’s learned from it
  • 00:39:08 – On one of Paula’s favorite books, The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
  • 00:41:33 – On Paula’s favorite podcast interviews
  • 00:44:22 – Paula’s next project
  • 00:45:52 – How Paula got the nickname “Paula 20 Questions”
  • 00:46:33 – Key habits for great interviews, including doing research and mirroring
  • 00:50:54 – Paula’s learnings on leadership, and asking your team the question, “What is one thing I don’t want to hear?”
  • 00:58:57 – Paula’s daily rituals, including preparing for a smooth morning, CrossFit, and Chick-fil-A
  • 01:03:45 – How Paula’s father inspired her in his life and his death

For more, explore the full transcript of this episode. Transcripts for all episodes can be found here.

Links from the Episode

Mentioned guests on Paula’s Podcast, Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris:

Key Insight

It’s worth the work to figure out your talents and gifts, and how you can apply those to the world around you. Those intrinsic strengths can be used in many ways, for many careers, to help many people. Identifying yourself by who you are, rather than what you do, leads to a more lasting sense of peace and fulfillment.

Actionable Ideas

  • To find your vocational calling, ask yourself three questions: What are you good at? What do you love? What do trusted people notice that you’re good at and you love?
  • When dealing with fear, ask yourself five questions: What am I afraid of? What’s the worst thing that could happen? What’s the best thing that could happen? When have I allowed my fear to paralyze me in the past, and how did that feel? When have I not allowed my fear to paralyze me, and how did that feel?
  • “You can be convicted and dogged in your beliefs and still respect the other person, and they don’t have to be wrong. You don’t both have to be right, you don’t both have to be wrong. So just take care of your own sphere, take care of yourself, take care of your own house. Don’t worry so much about the White House, that’s what I always say. But yeah, just lead with respect and love.
  • The most important things to remember when interviewing someone: “… the most important thing is doing your research, showing you care, that you know about that person, and that you want to know more. Then B, just listening.”
  • “It’s called mirroring. What you do is if you want the other person to open up, you literally repeat the last three words that the person said.”
  • “One thing that I really took from her, she would ask her people once a month, “I want you to tell me something I don’t want to hear.” What that did was… it opened the lines of communication.”
  • “One thing that helps me is I get everything ready the night before. I even put out the bowls for cereal and their spoon and their glass for orange juice so that I can invest in that time. Honestly, I know that sounds stupid, but I get all three of their water bottles out to fill them up. I get everything that I need for the next morning, cereal boxes, the bowls, everything laid it out so that I can actually enjoy that a little bit more.”
"You can be convicted and dogged in your beliefs and still respect the other person. They don't have to be wrong. You don't have to be right. You both don't have to be wrong." – Paula Faris

On Outliers, Daniel Scrivner explores the tactics, routines, and habits of world-class performers working at the edge—in business, investing, entertainment, and more. In each episode, he decodes what they’ve mastered and what they’ve learned along the way. Start learning from the world’s best today. 

Explore all episodes of Outliers, be the first to hear about new episodes, and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.

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