Ted & Kathryn


I didn’t grow up dreaming of the day. I remember the girls who did. It was probably 5th grade when it first came up in conversation. I lived in Southern California and we were all out at recess. The other girls were describing with great detail how many children they’d have and when they’d get married. I said I wanted to live in a high-rise in NYC.


I’m in love

I’m in love and I can’t help but smile when I think about the journey to find him.


After a few failed engagements, it was starting to look like my 5th grade dream would be no problem. A single girl – working in television news – jumping around the country - alone. I’d be happy. I’d be fine. My career had always filled practically every hour of my day anyway. I’d really be fine. Especially if I just kept telling myself that.

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Dating the wrong guys was becoming a second career. Maybe they weren’t the wrong guys for other women – but for me, they were. My first fiancé came in like fireworks – and his life fizzled out like a wet sparkler. I had to leave him after I found out he was doing drugs – and the drinking got out of control. He didn’t want help – and God knows I tried. My second fiancé was a chef. It was exciting and delicious – but he had personal issues he was hiding with alcohol too. There were a few more after that… exciting at first, but no real depth – and I was finding myself drinking so I wasn’t so bored. I finally took a hiatus from dating for about a year and a half. I needed a reset.

During my much needed dating sabbatical – I had time to think. I needed to be alone to find out who I was – and what I really wanted.

I started dating again. I was 38 and still gun shy. Months of first dates ended with one first date that I didn’t think would move onto a second.

He was nice, polite, smart, handsome and had a dry sense of humor. It was a quiet dinner in a dark restaurant. Nothing more than that. No one got buzzed and loosened up. It was just us. Nothing else to depend on.

And that was odd. It was awkward. Uncomfortable. Felt a little raw, even.

We were so good on the phone before the first date. Oh well, no fireworks – no reason for a second date.

I was shocked to see a text from him the next day.

“Hi – Ted Wright here. Didn’t really get a good vibe from you – and don’t know if you’re up to going out again, but I’d like to see you again.”

I smiled staring at my phone. That takes guts. I was attracted to the man who wrote those words.

But… I still wished there were fireworks on our date.

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Then I remembered a conversation I had with Bela Gandhi three years before.

I booked Bela to promote the premiere of the Steve Harvey Show. I was the executive producer of the morning show at NBC Chicago. Bela was going to be on as a guest of Steve’s. I interviewed Bela so I could promote Steve’s new show.

Bela and I had coffee afterwards.

If you’ve had a conversation with Bela, you know it’s never a normal coffee date. Bela is like cupid with an MBA. She’s smart – strong – a fighter – and a romantic. A romantic in a --- make sure he has all the stuff that will make him a good husband and father, then let yourself fall in love – kind of romantic. She’s all business. Her business is forming loving mergers between smart people who need a little tweaking.

“Kathryn – you need to stop dating narcissists. Stop looking for all the fireworks. The really good guys – the husbands… the fathers – they don’t come with all the fireworks at first.”

Bela told me I was self sabotaging myself my dating the wrong men.

And those fireworks and butterflies I loved so much? Anxiety. For the first time – I wasn’t feeling anxious. Ted didn’t make me feel that way. I was relaxed and at ease with him instead.

Ted and I have had plenty of fireworks since (the good kind), but our first date wasn’t full of them. There was no love at first sight. It was just a nice dinner with a clever, smart and handsome man.

I’m glad I listened. It’s Bela’s advice that started it all – and then love and respect that helped it grow. At 39, I will be marrying the man who makes my heart flutter when we dance, walk beaches, discover new cities – or just sit next to each other on the couch at home. We don’t need other people or all the other stimuli I needed to have a good time before. We can just enjoy each other.

I’m in love and I can’t help but smile when I think about the journey to find him.

I didn’t know how much your plans can change when you meet someone with whom you want to dream new dreams.

Kathryn Janicek is a media coach and public speaking trainer. She helps people present at a higher level, tell their story to attract dream clients - or to gain media attention.

She spent 18 years in media across the United States, coaching anchors, reporters, producers and writers. She now uses those skills to help entrepreneurs and corporate executives move up in their careers - and to sound and look like the experts inside of them

Josh Neimark