Throughout the pandemic, Al Roker has proven a positive and pervasive presence on our TV screens and beyond. The Today Show co-anchor has offered jokes, cooking recipes, smiles and, of course, weather forecasts. He has also offered an straightforward look at his unique and successful career in his new memoir, You Look So Much Better in Person. Here, he takes time out to offer some practical advice to readers of The Drum:
1. Never say ‘no’ and always say ‘yes’
“Leave yourself open, especially now, to as many opportunities as possible. You don‘t know what that ‘yes’ will lead to. Even if it‘s something that you‘re not crazy about, but if it‘s tangentially associated with what you do, say ‘yes‘. I think people are afraid that if they say ‘yes’, they‘re going to fail. Well, you know what, unless you‘re an airline pilot, what‘s the worst thing that‘s going to happen?”
2. Don’t worry about being top banana
”If you were on this upward trajectory and you feel like all of a sudden things have gotten sidelined, well, you know what? You can have a really good career without being the top dog. I‘m not one of the main hosts of The Today Show, but I get to do a lot of great things, go to a lot of amazing places and meet some incredible people. I learned this [lesson] from both Willard Scott, who was my mentor, and from probably the greatest the second banana ever Ed McMahon, who was Johnny Carson’s sidekick. You can have some really great glory and have some great times doing it and have less pressure on you. Only one person could be the boss and be the top dog. Some people can‘t accept that and they‘re miserable. Just accept it. But, be the best second banana you can possibly be.”
3. Learn from The A-Team
”One of my all-time favorite television shows is The A-Team from the 80s. Everybody was really good at one thing, but nobody was good at everything. And that‘s the way it should be in your life. You have to build your own A-Team because you need different people who have different skills to help you get through life, whether it‘s personally or professionally. No one person can be all things to everybody. Admit that you need help. Admit that you need a team. Anybody who says ‘oh, I alone can fix it, I'm the only one who could do it...’ run away from those people. Because whether they realize it or not, they do have a team, they‘re just too egotistical to realize it.”
Bonus tip: get up an hour earlier than everyone else
”People have asked: ‘when did you have time to write a book?‘ I get up an hour earlier every day. The kids aren‘t up yet. Nobody‘s calling. Nobody‘s emailing. Nobody‘s texting. That‘s your own pure time. If you really look at your day, I think you can find at least an hour where you can excavate that time to do something more productive. Even if that productivity is just sitting and being – not scrolling, not swiping and not on the phone or the device – and just being able to think and be centered.”
In addition to being an author and TV personality, Roker has been producing projects since 1994 including numerous TV programs via Al Roker Entertainment. On August 30, the one-hour TV special Life Aid: A Story of Hope will premier. The Life Aid Research Institute raises money to provide military veterans and first responders with targeted and personalized mental health treatments.
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