New Chapters: Q&A with Jane Pauley

Jane Pauley - The League Club's annual luncheonJane Pauley, a familiar face to Americans since she first lit up TV screens in 1976 as a cohost on NBC’s Today Show, has learned a lot through the years about reinvention. At the annual League Club fundraising luncheon this month, she will share stories about her experiences in her award-winning career in television, from Today to the series Life Reimagined Today, to her current role on CBS News Sunday Morning. Pauley will also offer insights from her latest book, Your Life Calling, Reimagining the Rest of Your Life, which tells the stories of people who followed their passions and found fresh purpose and a zest for life.

The League Club’s luncheon, “Your Life Calling, A Conversation With Jane Pauley, Presented by IberiaBank,” will be  held February 19 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples. Proceeds benefit the club’s Community Trust Fund, which has raised more than $3 million for charitable grants to numerous deserving local nonprofits over the last 28 years.


NI: What are some takeaways from your latest book?

Pauley: In the months since the book came out, I’ve met thousands of people, and the book’s ideas resonate up and down the spectrum, from 30-somethings just getting families started and careers going who are looking forward almost aspirationally at those of us who have the freedom and the opportunity to do interesting new things. By the 40s those impulses get really urgent, and people often start experimenting, thinking, “Maybe a career change will speak to this yearning that I have.” In your 50s, you start calculating your opportunities. Often, looking at an audience, I don’t know what percentage are frightened of the unknown and the future, especially if like me, they don’t have a clear picture of what it would look like.


Does the book make others less afraid of the unknown?

Yes! Absolutely. The people who have an answer to the question, “What’s my passion?” might find my book interesting, but they probably aren’t looking for answers. I wrote this book for people who were yearning for something more and young and healthy enough to recognize the future was their responsibility to fill. You have to be available to opportunity and put yourself in the path of rediscovering something, or discovering it for the first time.


After interviewing people, did you discover any common threads that led to success in “second acts?”

That hunger to be creative or stay productive, or engaged in a community. There’s nothing grandiose in my book about finding a second career, or starting a world-changing nonprofit—though there is one of those in my book—they can be small changes that give our lives more balance and enable us to nurture a creativity.


Tell us something about your latest chapter.

After four decades at NBC, I have a CBS News ID. It’s like someone blew a little breath on a career I thought was over. When CBS offered me this job, even though it wasn’t my goal to have a new career in television, here I am.


Photo by Colleen Duffley

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