I am back from swimming with the nurse sharks, sting rays, turtles, manatees, and such. I had a blast! And if San Pedro, Belize isn’t on your list, I’d highly recommend you add it. Especially if you’re into water sports and good seafood. 

Even though it was a hybrid work/vacation trip, it was really, really good to get away and be unplugged. My phone only worked when I was at the hotel, and I didn’t watch a news program for five days.

When I returned home, I tuned into the now renamed morning news program, “CBS Mornings.” I am still adjusting to Anthony Mason not sitting at the “table” as a co-anchor. He is one of my favorite journalists, and I was none too pleased when it was leaked mid-August that he was being replaced. 

When I heard the news, my question to no one in particular was, “What in the world were they thinking?” In this situation, the “they” are the powers that be in the CBS news division.

Based on Anthony’s Twitter and Instagram feeds (yes, I follow him on both platforms), I was not alone. 

Do you ever ask, “What in the world were they thinking?” 

Do you wonder why people make the choices they make? 

It’s something I wonder all the time. And it’s a question I ask a lot, actually. 

Most of the time, it is from a place of deep curiosity and without any judgment. 

Yet there are those times, like this one with Anthony, when it is steeped in incredulity.  

The Nerve of Us 

Publicly, I was silent about my disapproval of management’s decision. (Not that they cared. LOL!) However, social media being social media, thousands of his other fans were more vociferous with how they felt about the decision. And I gotta say, it was pretty cool seeing his fans rally behind him. (Hopefully, all the kind words expressed showed him just how much his storytelling, depth, warmth, and style were and are appreciated.)

But, here’s the truth: 

Whether we expressed our disapproval silently or publicly, we had a lot of nerve weighing in on something that (a) wasn’t any of our business, and, perhaps even more important (b) where we didn’t know any of the details. 

Anthony left the “table” as an anchor, but he didn’t leave CBS. His role shifted from anchor to culture correspondent. I think his fans, including me, saw that as a demotion. 

Yet, after watching a few of his pieces soon after the change, a few things really struck me:

Maybe He’s Just Fine

First, he seemed to be genuinely okay with the shift. In fact, he seems like he is living his best life! 

Keep in mind, I don’t know Anthony personally; I’ve never met him. But there was something about his energy and demeanor that, to me, seemed to say what he didn’t say publicly because he didn’t respond to the Twitter and IG comments. 

It conveyed, “I’m good.”

The Assumptions We Make

I can’t speak for his other fans, but I know the assumption I made was that his new role wasn’t of his own choosing. Then I started thinking, hmmm…what if it was? 

Sure, how the announcement was handled wasn’t ideal. The leak, coupled with the awkwardness of not addressing it for two weeks, let us (fans) run rampant with all kinds of assumptions. But in the end, that’s exactly what they were: assumptions. 

So, the second thing that struck me was the tendency of “outsiders” to make assumptions about why people make the choices they make. When we aren’t privy to the details, desires, or goals of the parties truly impacted by the decision we’re “judging.” 

The lesson/reminder here for you and me is this: There is always more to the story. 

This is true when you’re passing judgment on someone else’s choices, and the question, “What in the world were they thinking?” runs across your mind or lips. And it is true when people are passing judgment on yours. 

Unless you are really close to the person and they to you, there will always be unknown factors about the choices one makes…and why. 

Humble is the Servant

The third thing that struck me can be summed up in one word: stewardship.

I became a fan of Anthony’s work back in 2012 when he anchored, “CBS This Morning Saturday,” and viewed his joining the table of “CBS This Morning” as a promotion. I had forgotten about how the majority of the years he’s worked for CBS (40 years, by the way) was as a correspondent.

He’s a journalist. He’s a storyteller. Some might describe these titles as his talent, gifts, or calling. By whatever label, he owns these — these are his; this is what he does. 

The “how” can be as a reporter, correspondent, or anchor. 

The “how” can be viewed as an assignment, one that you have stewardship of for the time that you do. 

Again, I don’t know Anthony, but the sense that I’ve gotten since his departure from the table is that he was aware that his spot was never intended to be permanent. He was a steward of that seat for the length of time he had it.

Fourth Quarter is Upon Us

Just as I made a few assumptions, perhaps I am doing a lot of projecting here, as well.

But, here’s what I know: 

There are lessons to be learned from how we react to other people’s choices. 

In a little over a week, the countdown to year-end is really, really on! If you think we got to the middle of September quickly, imagine how much faster getting to the end of the year is going to feel. 

You have three more months to complete or make some more progress on your goals and the commitments you made to yourself, your family, your business, and your money. What choices are you going to make to ensure you finish the year strong (however you define “strong”)? 

Might any of your choices cause “outsiders” to whisper, “What in the world were you thinking?” Is the possibility of this question holding you back in any way?

How would remembering the difference between what is yours – you “own” it and no one can take it away from you – vs. that over which you are a steward help you with finishing strong? 

Yes, I was disappointed with the change made by the powers that be in the CBS news division. Because I thought they did one of my favorite journalists “wrong.” The joke seems to be on me, though. He looks like he is living his best life!

What choices are you making and what choices will you make that will serve as evidence that you, too, are living your best life?!

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