I have heard Oprah Winfrey tell a story about the first time she appeared on the Johnny Carson show a number of years ago. Obviously, she was beyond thrilled. Oprah was ecstatic! Just like a myriad of would-be stars, having her “three minutes of fame” on the Johnny Carson show meant Oprah had made it.
The truth is that Oprah was just climbing her way up when she hit the Tonight Show. Since then, her fame and popularity have exploded off the charts. All the stars crave a nod or an endorsement from the powerful Oprah. Even the presidential hopefuls desperately desire her official stamp of approval.
But back to the Tonight Show featuring Oprah: So Johnny asked her a few questions, and then it came time for a commercial break. During the break, the personable Oprah tried to engage Johnny in some casual, friendly conversation. Johnny did not respond. He spoke not a word. He didn’t answer her questions or look her way. He was “off air” and very disconnected from Oprah—who was just making her big splash.
Then it dawned on Oprah: “Ohhhhh, this is about Johnny. This is about Johnny. It is not about me. It’s about Johnny.” And it was about Johnny.
Oprah admits this was and is a life lesson she has never forgotten. And whether you are a fan of Oprah or not, you must admit that she knows how to let others shine. In fact, she shines best when others are shining around her. That’s her secret.
I have added her lesson to my life bank of wisdom. It sweetens my contentment. All of us have spent long, boring evenings with others, who pontificate about their accomplishments and talk and talk and talk about themselves without end—never asking a single question about you or your family. At the end of the evening, they remark about what a great conversationalist you are! Of course, the subject centered on them.
Who doesn’t love center stage?
Situations like these are easier for me to embrace when I move off center stage and remember: “Oh, it’s about Johnny.”
Indeed, most of life is about Johnny.
And maybe like Oprah, I’ll shine brighter outside of the spotlight, in the glow of others.