This was not the plan. The original plan was to meet and marry my husband on my 30th birthday. I wanted to have 2 kids before I turned 35. I was fixated on “retiring Oprah or Barbara Walters” since I was in High School. My dad, who went directly from high school into the marines, was insistent that my sister and I go to college. With persistence and a substantial scholarship I followed a friend from Pennsylvania to college in New York. I was able to land internships with Barbara Walters, work for 3 TV shows and ABC Sports before graduation.
I was obsessed with getting the “scoop” and always focused on getting my next best TV gig.
I landed my first anchor job in West Virginia where Walmart was the hottest spot to find people to interview for the news of the day.
Then I got what I thought was a dream job as a morning TV news anchor in Burlington, Vermont. It was literally 17 degrees below zero for my 1st 30 days on the job. I learn what snot freezing inside your nose feels like and mastered chronic sleep deprivation. I was thrilled to be fulfilling my dream and sure I was one step closer to the big break that would get me onto a big network. Instead I was stunned when I was laid off (along with the entire newsroom) just a few months after being hired. The entire news operation was shut down and our hour was replaced by the Simpsons. I cried all the way from New York to Pennsylvania in my Uhaul. I landed in a series of TV jobs and networks and eventually hosted my own TV show in my hometown Philadelphia. I was on the cover of a local magazine featured as one of the most eligible bachelorettes in “The Valley” where I worked and lived. In an ironic twist (and just a few months later) I also landed a fiancé on my 30th birthday and thought
I had arrived.
It turned out my fiancé had a temper and we broke off our engagement and had the honor of awkwardly returning shower gifts and the shame of having shared our engagement on TV to my audience, I started a very bad habit. I began pretending everything was great! I became a devoted workaholic, and suffered from California obsession. I hated winters and vowed to get a gig in California and leave sweaters, snow, and freezing rain behind forever. Forever dragged on for what felt like an eternity. I was afraid of the earthquakes, how “expensive” California was, and leaving my family behind. I got a big TV break and fell in love and landed in South Carolina. I loved my time anchoring, reporting and producing shows.
When the economy tanked in 2007 I was asked to lay off most of my news team and then I was dismissed. Out of desperation I took a job with our competitor once again on a morning show. The chronic sleep deprivation tanked my relationship and took a horrible toll on my health and left me single and heartbroken. I dated online and met a Jewish girls’ dream husband. He was a tall handsome attorney. We fell hopelessly in love and for a minute I thought I could be happy in the south and pretended my dream of California sunshine was not important. I began accepting speaking engagements and was granted my second TV show “The Meredith Show” on NBC. I had a radio show, and had launched a growing marketing company. It seemed that all my dreams were coming true.
What no one knew is that my dream husband had fallen into a deep depression, drugs, and had become violent at home.
The third time he attacked me something snapped inside of me. I knew my dreams of children could never happen in that marriage. I wasn’t safe and I would never be able to bring children into the world with him. I asked him to leave the house. He could tell I was serious, and because we had so many guns in the house, he scared me so terribly that day I dialed 911 for help.
What I didn’t understand was that in South Carolina when police come and evidence of assault is present someone gets arrested. My husband went to jail and I never saw my husband again because he refused to go to rehab.
I was done hiding his temper and living in fear.
I packed up my most prized possession (my rescue pup Biscuit) and headed west. I returned to South Carolina one year later for a few days and my official divorce hearing.
Just a few weeks after arriving I knew I had made the right decision.
I was getting booked for speaking gigs and my first big paid gig was beyond spectacular. I was hired to speak at a women’s leadership conference in my former hometown in Las Vegas. I was flown first class, with a limo waiting to take me to my luxury suite at the MGM Grand. I rehearsed 7 hours straight and my hard work and persistence paid off. I received several offers at that event from members of my audience for new speaking engagements and made amazing friends that invited me to the United States Airforce Academy National Character and Leadership Summit. I was invited to speak in Boston, Chicago and was living my dream. My days were full and over the next year I was given the honor to be featured on the cover of two national magazines. I continued to invest in personal and professional development programs. I also began to notice that so many of my friends were suddenly married with kids.
I began to worry and wonder if my family was ever going to happen.
I launched my own “Mastermind” and support women all over the world in running down their dreams. Just last month I moved again. This move was monumental for me. I moved into my dream townhouse with Biscuit over looking the ocean in California. I am watching the world change at a rapid pace, and I am honored to bring comfort to clients who are scared and losing their bearings with the challenges that Coronavirus has brought to us all.
Navigating challenges and being brave are something I have tons of experience with. I have days where I get really frustrated with the judgments and pity people place on me. I am judged for being single. I am judged for being too old to have kids. I am tired of people asking about it. I have learned that we all have remarkable gifts. Some of us are still figuring theirs out.
When we do recognize our gifts, I believe that is where the magic is.
I believe that I was put on this earth to help others recognize that we are not defined by tradition. We make our rules, lives, decisions, and mistakes. I am living exactly where I always envisioned with the view I always wanted and the 4 legged furry love of my life is by my side. I am 44, and proud of my gift to help others be inspired and committed to dream bigger. I thought I would be married with kids by now, instead I am leveling up. I recognize we never “arrive” at our dreams, we get to make them happen and surround ourselves with other dreamers and risk takers. This was not the plan, but I am so grateful for the heartache and hell I have been through. Two years ago I faced my greatest fear in the world, I watched my funny, crazy, best friend and father lose a fast moving battle with pancreatic cancer.
It made me realize that if our days are numbered we can choose to spend them wishing, hoping or complaining. We can also choose to take risks, get messy, bare our souls, and be relentless in the pursuit of love.
I love my life.
Being single at 44 was never the plan, but I have a feeling my true love is never ever giving up and being the light. My superpower is lighting up a room, stage, broadcast or someone’s life. So please don’t pity me for the husband or traditional family that I don’t have. This wasn’t my plan, but what if plans are meant to be changed? I have changed, and plan to keep growing, evolving, and truly believe that I am unstoppable. When all hell breaks loose, I am your “go to girl” that you can count on. I have been through broken hearts, broken legs, broken finances, and shattered dreams. We get to end our excuses, and to rewrite our stories, and mine is far from over.
My wish is for all of us to enjoy our days, live our dreams, and be courageous and generous.
If I die tomorrow I know I have made the world a brighter place, and I have been brave enough to walk away from bad relationships, and courageous enough to never ever stop taking risks. If we are placing bets in this game called life, I am betting on me! I am not waiting for a man to rescue me, I am simply committed to living an extraordinary life that I can’t wait to share with my future husband.
I teach leadership to clients and corporations all over the world. I do it because I believe the world needs more humble leaders, inspiration, more dreamers, more lovers, and more kindness. This was not the plan but I am grateful this is my life, my time, and my world. Someday I will share my big heart and home and build a family. I am not sure what it looks like, but we don’t have to have all the answers. My plan is not to be attached to the plan(the newly revised approach). I’m living in the moment, no longer obsessed with what tomorrow looks like as we know, it is never guaranteed. After years of moving, hundreds of bad dates,
I am thankful for the freedom I have to design a life on my terms.
I cherish ending my workday by 4pm, and taking off from work (when I used to be a workaholic) on the weekends. Most of my evenings are spent taking long walks with my rescue pup Biscuit and watching the sunset over the ocean. I’m grateful for every minute of my life and if just one person reading this is inspired…I have accomplished my mission in life. I really believe I am living my life’s purpose. If you ever in Marina Del Rey, I’d love to show you my favorite sunset walk and hear your big hairy scary dream, you can bet I will remind you that there is no perfect path or plan but it’s possible! Knowing what is possible and reminding others of the magic in being loving, kind, dreaming big, taking committed action, and being present, are the greatest gifts of all.
A 5-time award winning motivational speaker. She is also a seasoned TV journalist master leadership trainer and talk show host. Her signature speech called The “M” Factor (Marketing, Messaging, Masterminding and more) took the top prize at The International Public Speaker Contest in Las Vegas, NV. Raising the energy in an audience is a talent Meredith perfected after more than a decade of working as a TV anchor, reporter, talk show host, and radio personality. She has worked on FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN affiliates across the country.
Meredith is very dedicated to helping others share their stories and debuted The Meredith Show on NBC in 2015 and has never looked back.
Meredith is a Master Leadership trainer, Marketing and Media Expert, and her passion is helping her clients grow their businesses and maximize media opportunities.
Meredith became hooked on helping people with marketing after she was contracted to able to help her first client save lives in a Colon Cancer Awareness Campaign. The results were so rapid that her client (who was a doctor), raised his revenue from 1.2 million to 2.6 million dollars in just nine months. Now companies across the country turn to Meredith for creative high impact campaigns. Meredith really enjoys using her talent for charity and has raised enormous capital fundraising live on TV for The Make Wish Foundation and Muscular Dystrophy Association. Just a few of her clients have included brands like Discover Marriott, The United Way, and Desert Diamond Industries.
For Our Readers:
Meredith's gift to you - FREE admission to her upcoming live Masterclass called Master your Message and learn how to Broadcast Your Brilliance in November. Email her at: Meredith@theMeredithshow.com