How Arianna Huffington Makes History

May 23 2013

From interviewing presidential candidates, to reporting during Hurricane Katrina, to marketing a mobile app for sergeants in the U.S. Army, I’ve always strived to make media that’s meaningful throughout my career.

One meaningful interview happened when Arianna Huffington visited the XM studios in Washington, DC where I used to work. She was there to promote her book “Becoming Fearless…In Love, Work, and Life.” I had the chance to interview her for a series I produced called Women Making History. We talked for a good 30 minutes about life, work, travel, and being fearless. I edited our conversation down to a 60-second vignette. Below is the interview.


(click here if you don’t see the audio player).

After our interview, she personally invited me to write for The Huffington Post about how I overcome fearlessness. I was beyond excited. I’d be one of the earlier contributors to her media empire. And I was humbled at the opportunity.

Only I remained paralyzed by fear. And…I never followed up.

Oh, the irony.

The biggest challenge to successful blogging isn’t having the time, the ideas, or the resources to do it. It’s having the courage to do it. It takes guts to put yourself out there in front of the world. You can’t learn that. You just have to do it.

It would be years before I learned how to let go of fear. You see, not only was I scared to write for The Huffington Post. But I used to be deathly afraid of starting this very blog.

But back to my interview with Arianna…

Arianna’s willingness to sit down and talk with me about fearlessness is admirable. Her interview was meaningful because she  was very honest about her struggles with fear. She didn’t quote cliched phrases, or say obvious things. She shared her personal story of how she had to learn fearlessness in order to make her dent in the universe.

Screen shot 2013-05-23 at 2.01.35 PM

when things come full circle (taken by yours truly)

Many people don’t want to learn fearlessness. They’re scared to learn how to think differently. They don’t want to know what’s outside the confines of the prison they create in their own mind. Over time they become a mere product of fast media. They repeat the same actions, even if it no longer suits them.

Arianna knew what no longer suited her. And she had to act through fear to get to the other side. Not only did she change herself, but she ended up changing the entire media landscape along the way. She’ll be sharing more of her stories at the Demand Success conference next month in Washington, DC. I’m excited to visit my old home, and hear her keynote.

Even leaders have fears. But it’s how they overcome that makes history.

Please comment below.

3 responses to “How Arianna Huffington Makes History”

  1. justinbarss says:

    Great story – thanks for sharing Jessica – reminds me of the Marianne Willliamson quote so popular in graduations and significant life celebrations…”Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate…..”  Thanks for filling out the your story and giving an experience that we can relate to.  I find most spiritual experiences (religion / God worship) that allows people into a place of becoming “more themselves” undergirds and supports this kind of thinking.  Kudos to you for sharing.

    • itsjessicann says:

      justinbarss it’s funny you mention that quote, it’s one of my favorites. and you’re right, spiritual thinking can absolutely allow people to be their more authentic selves. intellectual knowledge can only take you so far. thank you for stopping by, Justin!

  2. […] that make you go hmmmm. Especially if you were personally invited to blog on a large…ok…humongous media […]

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