Dear Diana,

You’re 21 years old and you’ve just graduated from UCSB. You got your dream job at “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider.” You can’t believe you’re working there because all your life you’ve watched the show with your mother and dreamed of being a TV star. You believe that this is your big break and that people are going to notice your star quality and your talents right off the bat and put you on camera.

What you don’t realize is you’ve always been a star and don’t need anyone to give you the opportunity to shine. You’re going to put your own face out into the world, and this job you have now is just a stepping stone. You’re learning a lot and making important contacts, some of whom will become lifelong friends. People you sit next to at the “ET” news desk are going to remember your small-town dreams and come around later in your life with big opportunities. So keep talking and telling the world who you are and where you come from. Don’t get too frazzled when you pick up your boss’s breakfast every morning or hold an umbrella under the rain for your boss to arrive to work. Those stressful moments soon will be just memories, but important ones you’ll look back on to see how far you came.

 

 

 

What you don’t quite realize now, Diana, is that everything changes. “The Insider” will be cancelled. “Entertainment Tonight” will evolve to do more online content. And you’re going to lose this job. When you get fired, you’re going to think it’s the end of your life. It won’t be. You don’t know this yet, Diana, but you’ll be a pioneer. You’re going to start something new, something for you. And others will soon follow your lead. You’ll build a studio where you’ll host your own show, produce other shows online and interview some of the biggest names in the world. (You know how much your admire and worship Oprah? You’re going to interview her too, for your own show.) And you’ll soon have two TV shows under your belt, plus many TV pilots.

Over the next 15 years, you’re going to figure out what I understand so well now, which is that God always has a bigger plan for you. No matter how much you’ll think you have control of things, you won’t. But God knows what’s best for you, and you’ll get what you need on his time, not yours.

The journey to success is not what you imagine it will be. It never is. It doesn’t move upward in a straight line. It’s more like a winding road. Sometimes the road will be open and wide, but other times it’ll be narrow and dark and scary. You’ll be afraid to look down because you’ll think you’re going to fall. But take my word: You have nothing to be afraid of.

I know that every little rejection you face at 21 feels like the end of the world. But those setbacks will position you to come back better. Every time you hear the word “no,” it’ll make you stronger and wiser and more prepared for you next victory.

One more thing: You seem very concerned about the haters and critics. From where I’m standing, 15 years in your future, they’re no longer laughing but applauding. They even call you a mogul. A mogul, you ask? Yes, Diana. You’re not just a pretty face, but someone who will own a studio with a staff of 26. Oh, Diana, just wait for what comes next. You’re going to open exciting new doors that you haven’t even dreamed of.

Diana, one thing I wish you could have at 21 is patience. Understand that good things never happen overnight. Right now, you’re only planting the seeds of greatness.

Love, 

Diana, 35 years wise

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