Learning to Play the Background
As most modern women's stories go, mine starts with an ex-boyfriend, and ends with owning a business.
Before I met my husband, I briefly dated a professional comedian.
One day, during our usual playful banter, I made a joke that he really responded to.
He said: “Man, that’s funny! That's really funny! HOld up-- I'm gonna put that in my show tonight." I watched as he took out the lined notebook he kept in the car, and scribbled a few lines onto dog-eared pages.
Later that night he delivered the joke on a large, shiny stage, and I waited with bated breath to hear the audience's response. He delivered the joke-- his comedic timing is always so sharp-- and everyone in the crowd cracked up.
While they laughed, I sat in the shadows of a smoky VIP section and beamed with pride.
AND IT WAS MY FIRST TASTE OF THE JOY THAT CAN COME FROM BEING IN THE BACKGROUND.
As a publicist, I help women craft story angles, coordinate events, and get media placements. I sit off stage, somewhere behind them— the same way I did at that comedy show— and I smile.
Seeing them get shine is my THRILL.
It’s even the reason I committed to wearing all black when I started TELL Public Relations. It reminds me that I'm not the star. I am the behind-the-scenes coach while my clients are the ones who rock the stage. I am content in knowing how I contributed to the moment, but letting her lean into her greatness... distant but thunderous applause is the reminder to her that I'm never too far away.
And as a friendship coach, I happily help women through personal connection issues, sitting back as they do the work to create meaningful friendships. I revel in the moments when I open an email: “I tried that strategy you gave me— it worked!” I smile to myself, overjoyed that she’s winning out in front.
When I was in high school I thought I had to be the point guard on the basketball team, senior class president, and the loudest girl in after-school meetings (even though I was definitely al of these things). I just wish that I understood sooner how much power-- and influence-- can come from moving in the background, too.
Before I went to that comedy show, I never knew how satisfying it could be behind the scenes.
But now I see that when I play my part and others get the shine, WE ALL WIN.
And I'm okay with that.