Monday, July 14, 2014

Second Banana?

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox

I saw Planet of the Apes last night and truly enjoyed it. Laughed at the "Monkey Braveheart" moments but really relished the heck out of the special effects. Plus, there is something powerful about seeing the soul through a simian's eyes.
The whole experience helped me embrace a reality to which many of us can relate: being a second banana.
My fabulous 4pm teammates!


I'm pretty sure we've all felt that way at some point in our careers.
In the news business, it's just part of the deal.

I'll be honest with you, I've always preferred playing the lead--have needed the attention, the money, the LOVE in most seasons of my life.
But then I had kids.
And then they got older.
And boy, did my desires evolve.
When my children transitioned to junior high and high school and we moved to DFW, being Second Banana was sweetly convenient. I was hired as the 7-9pm main anchor of our independent station and then added 4pm anchor on CBS11 to my role. I worked a rare day shift. Was home for my kids' bedtime. Once they played high school basketball, I seldom missed a game. I can honestly say, I have very few regrets as a mother thanks to second banana status. 
My daughter Nicole's senior night
It's not exactly a moniker many of us Americans want to wear. We want to be the star. The queen. The alpha male. The boss.
Or do we. Really?
Two nights ago I was scheduled to sing the National Anthem at a station-sponsored, pro tennis tournament at the Four Seasons resort. I haven't been singing lately. The voice is a muscle one must train and keep in shape. I was not excited about this responsibility.
But the boss asked, so I agreed.
National Anthem clip on CBS11 News at 10pm
It was NOT fabulous.
However, I will tell you, I still embrace the whole anxiety-provoking experience for two reasons (in addition to the fact I got to meet the legendary Billie Jean King):
Tennis legend Billie Jean King

1. Getting out of one's comfort zone is almost ALWAYS a good idea. I believe it stretches us. Grows us. Prepares us....for something. I consider it practice for something bigger down the road.
2. Most news anchors don't get an opportunity to sing. At my last station, I was discouraged from displaying any talent or interests outside my job. But now, if I'm asked to participate in something special, and I'm capable of it, who am I to say no?
Which bring me back to my thesis statement.
The beauty of being a #2? Freedom to breathe. To take risks.

I preach this truth often during speeches and to friends. Sing loudly in life. Few main anchors I know feel they have the latitude to live outside the box they're placed within. They don't color outside the lines. Why risk it? Being bold opens yourself up to SO much criticism & cruel comments from thoughtless viewers. Especially in this new world of social media.

So today, I dare you to be different. Dare to be YOU. Whatever your status, embrace it. No one should stop you from being yourself. It gives others permission to do the same.
And heck, you might just become the envy of the whole darn jungle. 



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