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Gayle King on Why Risk-Taking Is Critical
CBS This Morning Co-Host Gayle King has been an on-air journalist since age 23. In her years in the industry, she’s learned that leaders cannot always play it safe.
“Be fearless and don’t be afraid to take a risk,” said Gayle at Leadercast Live 2019. “I would tell my younger self to go get ‘em. You will make mistakes, but that’s OK as long as you learn from them.”
When leaders do make those mistakes, Gayle says they should own them. “Transparency is always good,” she said. “Be transparent with your team, too. No one who works for you should be confused about the job they’re doing.” Gayle believes teams get stronger when they talk about performance openly and exchange feedback.
Gayle has learned not to take negative feedback personally. “It stinks when you do something you like but others don’t feel the same way. But usually when one door closes, another opens,” she said.
More Wisdom From Gayle:
— “We must hold people accountable. The old ways of doing things are just not OK.”
— “Celebrate who you are. There will always be someone who is thinner or smarter.”
— “The beauty of life is found in the day-to-day intimate moments that you don’t even realize are special until they’re gone.”
Stephanie Davis Smith: Hi, everyone. So we both got the blue memo and the shoe memo.
Gayle: I know. When I walked out, I said, "I didn't know the curtain was going to be blue. I'm blending in with the background." Listen, 40 minutes ago I was at the airport. So I'm just thrilled to be here. We literally landed, jumped in the car, and came right here. I got off the set, got in the car, and came here. So I'm thrilled to be here, Atlanta.
Stephanie: And she made it through our traffic, which is amazing. Friday traffic in Atlanta, that's pretty impressive. So one thing I learned about you that I was surprised to hear was that you double majored in sociology and psychology and not journalism. I thought it would be journalism. But, you know, how has that helped you in your career?
Gayle: I thought that too, Stephanie. This is the thing. I majored in psychology. I went to University of Maryland, because I really thought that . . .
Stephanie: Do we have University of Maryland? I heard a cheer. Okay. A couple of cheers.
Gayle: Okay. There's two people up there. Hello. Hello, Terrapins. Because I wanted to go to law school, or I thought a child psychologist, because I love listening to people's problems. Even today, I love listening to people's problems and giving unsolicited advice. So I thought I'd be great at that. I thought I'd be great.
But I was working at a camera store next to a TV station and met some of the muckety-mucks there. And they said, "You know, you have a really nice voice. Have you ever thought of TV?" "No, actually, I never have." He said, "Well, we have an opening. Would you be interested?" And I did something that nobody should do when someone is giving you a gift. I said, "Well, do I have to work weekends?" That's very entitled. I had no interest in this.
He goes, "Well, that's an unusual question, but no. As a matter of fact, you don't. You'd have to work nights. Is that okay?" I go, "Well, I get out of class at 2. Yeah, I could do that." I walked in that newsroom and I was blown away. I was so hooked by the hustle and bustle and seeing the people that you watch on TV in person, when you realize they're just regular people, by the way. But I was so fascinated by that. I didn't want to stay another two years to get a journalism degree. So, you know, I worked my way through the ranks, and here I am.
Stephanie: And how many years has that been? How many decades now?
Stephanie: Well, 10 years?
Gayle: Ouch. Ouch, Stephanie.
Stephanie: That was rough. I'm trying to show them how wise and amazing you are.
Gayle: Decades. Well, I did like you, but we've taken a turn. Stephanie, I have no hang-ups about that. I'm 64, I have no hang-ups about that. No hang-ups whatsoever. So that's been a few decades, according to you. Because I graduated from college in '76. You graduated when?
Gayle: There you go. '96, so that would be a couple of decades. But, you know, I always find people that say . . . you know, when you ask a woman her age, they say, "Oh, it's so impolite." No, it isn't. I mean, when you look at the alternative . . . and I'm honest to God so happy to be on the planet. I have no hang-ups about that. So it's been a few decades.
But the good news is, I got my first job on air when I was 23, and here I am, 64. I still love it as much today, all this time later, as I did at 23. I love what I do.
Stephanie: That's what I was getting at, because you have a passion for it every day. So all this time you have loved every minute of it.
Gayle: Yes, I do. Because even on a slow news day, it's not boring to me.
Stephanie: Right. No day is the same, I'm guessing.
Gayle: No day is the same. You're always doing something different. I love it.
Stephanie: Now, what would you say to that person, that 23-year-old you back in the day, or 22-year-old you, that you know now about being a leader?
Gayle: I would say, "Go get them." That's what I would say, you know? And be fearless. You know, you're going to make mistakes along the way, and that's really okay. You always learn from your mistakes. But, you know, I don't get hung up . . . and I think making mistakes is okay as long as you learn from it. So I really have always been a kind of . . . I don't want to say risky kid, but I don't mind taking a calculated risk about things. I've always been prepared, always, to bet on me, always.
Stephanie: And you're very in the public eye. So being a leader in the public eye, do you think that's different than someone being a leader in the private sector that you never see?
Gayle: No, I actually don't. I just think that, you know, transparency is always good. Always good. It's always good to tell the truth. It's always good to let people know that you appreciate the work they're doing. Nobody who works for you should be confused about how you feel about the job they're doing. I think people like feedback, good and bad, and we learn from feedback, good and bad.
So, I don't see a difference between leading publicly and leading privately. It's just more people see you when you're a public personality or you're involved in a public company. But good values are good values.
Stephanie: And speaking of transparency, you very famously kind of held CBS to task about the sexual harassment findings for the company and wanted it to be public. And I wanted to ask you about that. That's a very strong leadership stance to take.
Gayle: Was it strong? I just thought it was the right thing to do. How do you correct your mistakes if you don't know what's going on in the company? I think that it was so important for us to be held accountable. You know, the old way of doing things is just no longer okay. It's just no longer okay. And I think that as long as we know exactly what we're dealing with and who we're dealing with . . . and as you see some, you know, iconic and really big figures had to fall at our place, but we all learn lessons from all of this. The whole Me Too Movement is very important in what's happening in the country today.
I look at people your age, Stephanie, and what I like about this is that you guys won't accept things that women in the past have accepted. We've, all women, had a time where somebody said something inappropriate, or made you uncomfortable, and we just sort of "he-he-he" our way through it. And now, I think today women are standing up and saying, you know, "That's not okay. That made me uncomfortable."
I interviewed Jill Biden yesterday, Dr. Jill Biden. And Joe Biden, as you know, is running for president of the United States. And even he, some people have said, made them feel uncomfortable. And I asked Jill about this and she said she never, for one second, thought that her husband was inappropriate, but he has now been made aware that some of his actions made women uncomfortable, and we have to pay attention to that. So that is a very good thing.
On the other hand, you can't go too far to the other side. I don't like it when I feel all men are painted with the same brush, because all grievances are not the same. And I think we have to be careful about that, too.
Stephanie: That's a really good point to make. I'm sure the men in here are like, "Yes," as well.
Gayle: When I say this, as a mother to a son . . . my son is 32 and I say to him, you know, "You have to be very, very careful when you move in the world. You have to be absolutely positively sure that the woman, whoever you're with, that she is not uncomfortable in any way."
And I always believe no means no. No is a complete sentence as far as I'm concerned. No means no. But I do think that we are all watching our Ps and Qs a little more.
Even Tripp just now, when I saw Tripp . . . you know, he has this funny bit, guys, that says, "Shit nobody says," which is hilarious. And so, I was talking to him about it and he goes, "Is it okay to hug you?" And I go, "Yes. Yes, Tripp. Hug me, hug me, hug me." Yeah.
Stephanie: Which segues really to another famous moment. We all know about the R. Kelly interview. And when you think about how the world has changed and how that might have affected him in that moment, you were so calm and collected. So if you can translate that into a business situation where you are confronted in some kind of crazy way, how did you handle that?
Gayle: Well, I can say that has honestly never happened to me before, so I didn't have a rule book or a guidebook for that. But I'm not a hysterical person that freaks out very easily. It has to be something pretty extreme. That was extreme.
But I also realize if I had responded . . . just think about this, Stephanie. If I had reacted to him the way he was reacting to me, or if I had looked angry at him, or that guy was "tsk, tsk, tsk" to him, or if I'd stood up . . . because at one point I thought, "Should I stand up and try to . . ." And I thought, "No, I don't want to do that because I don't want to signal to him that the interview is over." I was sitting with questions on my lap thinking, "I'm not done. I've got some more questions."
Stephanie: The true journalist.
Gayle: And I've seen him on interviews, guys, walk out. And I'm thinking, "God, I hope he doesn't walk out. I'm not done." So I thought, "If I just sit here and look at him . . ." and I also looked at him, looked at the chair, looked at him. I definitely made eye contact with him, which was my way of saying, "You can do whatever it is you're doing, but I'm going to sit right here and I'm not going anywhere. And when you're done, you know, I would like to continue this interview."
So I wasn't afraid. I knew that he was very angry. He was very irritated with me, very irritated with some of the questions. But I believe any question can be asked. You just have to have the right time and the place to do it. So I thought, "As long as he knows that and knows that I'm not going anywhere, hopefully he'll calm down and he'll sit back down," which he did.
Now, what is so interesting to me is I call the next day to check to see, you know, "Listen, I just wanted to check in." I called his team and they said, "You know, he was actually fine with it, because he felt people got to see his pain and they got to see his passion." Because he could not accuse me of being unfair to him. I never set him up for a "gotcha," or surprised him with something. I thought that I did it in a very . . . I talked in a very respectful manner, so he was actually okay with it.
Stephanie: That's interesting to hear.
Gayle: It was interesting to me too. I'm like, "He was okay?" Yeah, he was okay with it.
Stephanie: Well, you had your own shows where you're . . . "The Gayle King Show," and then you have the XM Sirius radio show. But now you're in an ensemble. What do you think about collaboration in the workforce, and how has that been different when your name is at the top compared to when you're sharing it?
Gayle: Well, I like collaboration, you know? I've had two Gayle King shows. They're no longer on the air, Stephanie. Maybe I play nicely with others better than I do by myself. No. One was radio, and then I moved to CBS and I couldn't do both. The other one was a syndicated show and it didn't work out for me.
But, you know, even I look at that . . . the theme of the song . . . it's funny. The show used to be "Gayle's got something to talk about, something to talk about." And when it was canceled, my favorite son Will, who was 6 or 7 at the time, I came home and he goes, "Gayle's got nothing to talk about, nothing to talk about." I go, "Will, not funny. Mommy doesn't need that right now." You know, he's a little kid. "Mommy doesn't need that. That is not helping."
Because it always hurts when something is canceled. But I didn't look at it as a reflection of, "Oh, I'm not good." I just thought, "Okay, it didn't work out. On to the next thing."
The beauty for me is that I love news and I never gave up my news job, because I know how fickle the talk show business is. I know how unpredictable it is. So I was never without a job. But it stings a little bit when you do something and you like it, and other people are saying, "No, not so much." But I find that I've always worked better with other people, always.
Stephanie: And you have had this career. What's the greatest lesson you've learned from a situation that maybe didn't turn out the way that you wanted it to?
Gayle: That you can't take it personally, although when it happens to you, it feels very personal. I also look at it . . . it's sort of cliché, but I so believe it's true. When one door closes, another one opens. I also believe that it means it wasn't meant to be for you, and that something else is coming along. I still believe that to this day, if things don't go the way I want them to go, or you want something so badly. You meet a guy and you think, "God, I want that guy." And then you find out he's a real jerk, and you think, "Oh." Or you want this job and you didn't get it, and then you find out there's something with the job that you didn't know about.
I believe everything works out the way it's supposed to. Because here I am sitting at CBS News. I never, in a million years, saw this coming. Never.
Stephanie: Never thought that.
Gayle: And here I am.
Stephanie: And here you are. And you're here this weekend, too, because you're doing something kind of amazing.
Gayle: I know. I'm so psyched about that.
Stephanie: Can we tell them what it is?
Gayle: Tell them. Tell them, Stephanie. Tell them.
Stephanie: Okay. You're interviewing Michelle Obama.
Gayle: Yes, I am.
Stephanie: In Atlanta, for her book signing.
Gayle: So Michelle Obama, you know, our former first lady, has written a book called "Becoming," and it is now the bestselling memoir of all times, guys. It cleared 10 million last month. Ten million last month. So I can only imagine what it's going to be like by the time that run is done.
She launched it. It dropped November 13th of 2018. She's been traveling around the world. So it's Atlanta tonight. Atlanta Saturday night, sorry. And Sunday, she's in Nashville. That's the last show. But I know it's going to be amazing in Atlanta because I know the crowd is great here. Great. Great. Great. So I'm really, really psyched about that.
So, you know, she's launching it . . . what is the name of your arena? State . . .
Stephanie: State Farm.
Gayle: Yes, thank you. State Farm Arena. I hear it's like 15,000 people. Thank you, ma'am. So, she is sold out everywhere she goes, and in every city, she asked different people to interview her on stage. And so, her team sent me a thing and said, "You can pick any city you want. Michelle said pick two if you want." I couldn't pick two, but I definitely picked Atlanta. I'm really excited to be here.
Stephanie: Well, you're both women of color who have gone on to these amazing careers.
Gayle: I'm cinnamon brown with a dollop of caramel, yes.
Stephanie: You said that.
Gayle: Yes, I am. I'm not black. I'm cinnamon brown with a dollop of caramel, yes. What is your question?
Stephanie: So my question is for younger people who now have you as role models, and maybe you didn't have that, see that when you were coming up through, what do you think that means?
Gayle: Well, you know, I think that you can't be it if you don't see it. So that's why I think it is so important to have diversity at the workplace. And by that, I don't just mean people of color. I mean women. Women and people of color are so important. And it's important to have many different voices at the table.
So when I was growing up, I was really fortunate because there was an anchor in Washington, D.C., her name is J.C. Hayward, when I was working at the station there who just sort of took me under her wing. I know that nobody . . . I don't care how successful you are, nobody makes it by themselves. There always has to be somebody that saw something in you that maybe you didn't see in yourself, or encouraged you along the way. And she was a black female anchor at the station.
But I don't necessarily think it has to be a person of color if you are a person of color. You can find great role models and great mentors in all shapes and sizes.
Stephanie: Marcus Samuelsson, who was here earlier, said . . .
Gayle: Oh, the chef. I know him.
Stephanie: Yeah, he was here.
Gayle: Yes, I know him.
Stephanie: He said sometimes it was just the otherness. When he first saw Wolfgang Puck, he was the first Austrian and he wasn't a French chef, and that was enough for him to realize he could accomplish something.
Gayle: How about Marcus Samuelsson for a second? When I met him, I said, "You're black." I was very thrown by that. I go, "So explain this to me. Marcus Samuelsson, Swedish," and you know his story. But, I mean, you can get inspiration from many, many different places. But I do think that it's inspiring.
You know, the other day on "CBS This Morning," it hasn't happened in history, we had Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, and there was one more beauty queen.
Stephanie: Miss America?
Gayle: It wasn't Miss America. It was Miss Teen USA. Somebody Google this for me. Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, and there's one more. But it was the first time they'd had all three women of color. All three at the same time. And they were saying, you know, growing up, they didn't see black beauty queens. So, imagine the message it sends to little girls of color, that you too can be this.
Stephanie: Right. That's pretty amazing. We can give a clap for that. Is there a universal wisdom that you can learn from being in the newsroom that maybe would translate to a place of business that is special to being in a newsroom?
Gayle: You know, the thing I like about the newsroom is that . . . I always say I have a front row seat to history. I was a very inquisitive child. Some people would say nosy. But it's not really necessarily about the newsroom. I think it's about the tone that you set in whatever your working environment is. I think that, you know, people are always looking to you to see how you behave. And I think that it's very important to set the tone about what's acceptable and what isn't acceptable in the place where we work.
I also think it's important to have people of different generations, different ethnicities. I think that the youth . . . you would be one of the youth. Innovation and experience, when it comes together, it's magic. It's magic. And I think that we can both learn from each other when it comes to that.
So I think, you know, I don't want to be Nana in the room ever. I don't ever want to be that. And I'm always trying to learn new things, find out what's interesting to people of all generations, what is a hip and happening kind of thing. I mean, I think it's important to be informed no matter what you do.
Stephanie: Right. And you have the book "Notes to Self," which is kind of what I was talking about earlier, is what would you say to your earlier self? What's one of your favorite stories from that?
Gayle: Well, one of my favorites was a guy, Ryan O'Callaghan, who was gay, who was a big massive football player, who just sort of suffered in silence, and how his life turned around when he came out and how freeing that was. Because he just thought that his life would be over, that he had thought of suicide. And he wrote so poignantly about the freedom that he had when he came out and was comfortable in his own skin.
What I love about these notes to self is that it makes people take a really serious look at their lives about mistakes they made and what they learned from it, and the message they want to send going forward. That's what I like about it.
You know, I think everybody in the room has their own note to self. If you really thought about it, what you've learned along the way, it really is an amazing story when you look at your life.
And they're always like that Taylor Swift song. I love Taylor Swift. I've been to four Taylor Swift concerts. I love her. You know, her latest song is, "There's only me, me, me. Nobody like me, there's only one me." And you could look at that and say, "That's arrogant or cocky," or you could look at it and say, "I am a very unique individual. There's nobody like me. And let's celebrate that." That's how I choose to look at that song.
Stephanie: I love that. We just learned about humble, being humble, but there's also confidence. You need to have confidence in some of that.
Gayle: Well, you know, where does confidence come from? I mean, confidence comes from feeling good about yourself. When I was growing up, there was a woman by the name of Jane Kennedy. Where are the older black people in the room? Jane Kennedy. You, sir. But Jane Kennedy was like the Halle Berry of the day for black women. She was very pretty. She was very what we thought light skin, we call it good hair, long, silky hair, you know, and was very attractive. And I thought, "God, I wish I could look like Jane Kennedy." Well, that will never happen.
I lived in Turkey as a kid where I was maybe one of three black kids in the class. My best friend was Carol and she had a blonde ponytail that used to . . . when we'd skip, her ponytail would go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I'd say to my mom, "Why can't I have a blonde ponytail like Carol?" And she said, "You know, that will never happen." Well, my mom doesn't know, yeah, it could. I could actually have a blonde ponytail like Carol nowadays, and skip, and skip, and skip.
But you look at Jane Kennedy, and I thought, "She's pretty," and I spent a lot of time going, "God, I wish I looked like her." You have to get to the place, Stephanie, where you feel good about yourself, because there is always going to be somebody cuter, smarter, and thinner. Always. And you have to get to the place where you feel good about yourself.
So now when I see somebody who I think is gorgeous, I have no problem saying, "God, you are so pretty. You are really, really gorgeous. I love your eyes, I love your shoes, I love your hair." And that comes with confidence and feeling good about yourself.
Stephanie: Right. And you see these younger women coming in the workforce, and you're a busy working mom, too. You have a family, all of that. Do you have time to mentor people?
Gayle: Well, you know, right now I'm very lucky in that, you know, my kids are 32 and 33. So they are potty trained and employed. Thank you. Knock on wood. And they live in L.A. So I really only have to worry about myself. Me, myself, and I. And I have to tell you, that's a full-time job.
But I look at mentorship in this way. I don't really have time to do that on a one-to-one basis, but I find if I'm at CBS or my other job at "O, The Oprah Magazine," if anybody ever comes to me for advice and they want to know something, I always take the time for someone like that.
It's very nice when people stop me and say, "Gayle, I love you so much. I watch you every day," blah, blah, blah. That's a different . . . it's very nice and flattering, but that is different than someone that says, "I really want to know how to do this. I want to be better at this. Can you help me with that?" I always have time for that person.
So yeah, I don't do the traditional where I check in with somebody on a regular basis and follow somebody on a regular basis, but I do find anybody that works with me will tell you that I am quite accessible.
Stephanie: That's great. I mean, that's rare. Well, I know we only have a couple of minutes left, so I wanted to do . . .
Gayle: No, we don't. They said we could have as much time as we wanted to.
Stephanie: I think they added time on the clock. I'll jump back and ask you something. I was going to do a quick-fire. I'll do that at the end. Are you a natural born leader or did it come to you later in life?
Gayle: I don't know if I was a natural born leader. I'm the oldest of four girls. And, you know, my sisters will tell you . . . they say I'm bossy. I prefer to call it executive leadership skills. And I was very good at organizing, but I was not a "mouseburger" kid. I was always a really chatty Cathy kind of little girl because I was always very curious. And I don't know if that comes naturally, if that makes me a leader, but I think you can't be a good leader without being curious, without wanting to know what's going on in the world. And I'm always a very solutions-oriented person on, "How do we make this better?"
Stephanie: Right. Diane Sawyer did an Oprah Master Class about being curious.
Gayle: I love her. Yes, did she?
Stephanie: Yeah. And in journalism, I think that that's what keeps you fresh.
Gayle: I think we're all curious in journalism. And I don't care who you are, even people at the top of their game are trying to figure out how they can do it better. There is always . . . especially with technology. I still have a BlackBerry, but I also have an iPhone. Anybody that you see that has a BlackBerry . . . I was at CVS and I was standing there with my BlackBerry, and you know how you have to give your age when you pick up your prescription? And she said, "Birth date?" And I said, "12/28/54." She went, "Wow." I went, "Is that a good wow?" "Wow."
I was working on my BlackBerry and she goes, "Does that thing take pictures?" I went, "Yes, actually it does," but I whipped out, "But I have an iPhone too. I have an iPhone too."
So, I mean, I've always been a . . . you know, you can never . . . there's no such thing as not learning. No such thing.
Stephanie: And so, now I was thinking, can I quick-fire pepper you like a journalist with just some fast questions to close it out?
Stephanie: Best job you ever had with a leader you admire.
Gayle: You know, I know it's so cliché. It's so cliché to say this, but it's so freaking true. You know, we've just gone through some turmoil at CBS. We've just made some change-ups there. Norah O'Donnell is going to "Evening News" and I know she's going to crush it. I know John Dickerson is going to "60 Minutes." He will crush it. I'm at "CBS This Morning" and Anthony Mason is coming on and Tony Dokoupil, who's married to Katy Tur at NBC, MSNBC. That's going to be interesting. And they just had a little baby. So we're revamping "CBS This Morning."
CBS has the first female boss, who's the president of CBS News. Her name is Susan Zirinsky and she's a badass. If you've seen that movie "Broadcast News", there was a Holly Hunter character. Holly Hunter came in and followed Susan Zirinsky around. So I feel that you have a leader who is much respected and much admired, so I'm really excited about it. So I have to say this really is the best job I've ever had.
Stephanie: And we'll be able to see on the other side, all of us, where we're watching.
Gayle: Yeah, yeah, yeah. May 20th is our debut. Go ahead.
Stephanie: What's your go-to resource that helps you be a better leader? Is there somewhere you go or a person you go to?
Gayle: I don't have a person I go to, no.
Stephanie: Is there a book you've read or just coming?
Gayle: You know, a book I really like when it comes to leadership . . . Ray Dalio has written a book called "Principles." He's a big hedge fund guy in New York. Very, very successful company, Bridgewater. And I read his book. We had him on the show. I read his book. He said something I thought was very interesting that a lot of leaders don't do. He encourages people on his staff to criticize him and tell him when they think that he's screwed up or he's not doing something correctly. I said, "And you're taking names? Well, Stephanie won't be here much longer. Okay, I remember when Bob said this about me." He goes, "No, you don't want to be . . . a good leader does not want to be surrounded by a lot of BS people."
And I think, you know, you can be challenged in a respectful way. Nobody likes it when it's said, "God, you're really screwed up," or, "That was just wrong," but I think good leaders really want to know the truth and want to be better.
But his book is knockout. Ray Dalio, "Principles."
Stephanie: "Principles," okay. Favorite news anchor of all time?
Gayle: I like Diane Sawyer a lot, a lot, a lot.
Stephanie: She's good people.
Gayle: And because I'm at CBS . . . she's very good people. And, you know, because I'm at CBS, "That's the way it is," Walter Cronkite. When I lived in Turkey, we didn't have TV. It's not that we couldn't afford it, but nobody had television. So I was a big reader. When I came back to the States, we had to watch the news every night and I thought the news was so fricking boring. But my dad insisted that we watch "CBS Evening News" with Walter Cronkite. So I have big memories of, "That's the way it is." So it's sort of full circle to me.
Both my parents are no longer here, but it's full circle to me. My dad would be so proud that when I walk into CBS every day, there's Walter Cronkite's map on the wall in the studio, and I'm sitting there at that table. That's huge for me.
Stephanie: That is huge. And is there a best interview that's your gold standard that you saw?
Gayle: Well, you know, there's a show used to be called "The Oprah Winfrey Show." She's very good. She's very good. She was number one for 25 years, just saying. And now she has her own network.
And, you know, interesting, it's not a celebrity interview, but she interviewed a mother who was dying. And this mother who was dying was keeping . . . as we get ready for Mother's Day on Sunday. Michelle Obama's book, "Becoming," is very good. But this woman was keeping a video journal and diary for her children as she was dying of cancer.
And she said, you know, "I'm going to miss your wedding. I'm going to miss your high school graduation. I'm going to miss . . . but I want you to know this, and this is what I'll be thinking about you." I got such a lump watching that and I thought, "What a beautiful gift to leave for your children."
And what got to me was she says, "I know we've been to Disneyland and we've done some wonderful things," but she said, "What I'll miss the most," both the mother and the little girl said, "Was eating Cheerios together."
And I just think, you know, we're always looking for the next big thing, but really, the beauty of life, guys, I believe, is the day-to-day intimacy of just the normal everyday stuff that you don't even know it's normal in every day until you don't have it anymore.
Because we will all one day be trivia questions. You know, even Barack Obama is one day going to be a trivia question. "What was the name of the first black president?" But if you do it right with your family, there is nothing, nothing more important.
And I'll never forget that interview and the love this woman had for her children. As sad as it was, it was very powerful.
Stephanie: Wow. And that's the final sentiment as we move into Mother's Day weekend. We really appreciate you. Thank you so much for coming.
Gayle:Thank you for having me.
Stephanie:We loved that. It was insightful.
Gayle: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Stephanie: Thank you, Gayle King.
Gayle: Thank you.
Gayle is a media titan, carving her way through the cutthroat media industry for more than 40 years. She is co-host of "CBS This Morning" and editor-at-large for the award-winning O, the Oprah Magazine. Gayle previously hosted "The Ga...
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