A-game or go home.
When I started as a cub reporter, I used to work with a sportscaster and former Maple Leaf Jimmy McKenny. He told me to always play injured and never let them see your substitute. That advice helped me to bring my A-game to my work, no matter what. … I knew there were a lot of people who would love to have my job, and that just made me work
harder and longer. That was always my attitude until recently, when I had a serious health issue [a rare form of cancer, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans]. For the first time, I learned that, sometimes, you have to be still and to reflect. I don’t think I’ve ever had three weeks off work before. For years, the universe has been telling me: “You’ve gotta slow down, you’ve gotta slow down.” I didn’t listen and then I didn’t have a choice. Having all of that time to just think about my life has definitely changed me. I still love my job, so much, but I am trying to stay in touch with the big picture.
Doing it yourself is overrated
On The Social, we’re lucky that we get to chat with many experts. One day, we had a “person organizer” on and she was talking about how important it is to delegate. It was a light-bulb moment for me. I used to be one of those people who felt like I should be able to do everything myself and if I didn’t, I was a failure. I would end up disappointing myself and always feeling overwhelmed. I started working with an organizer, who comes to my house every couple of weeks and helps me to deal with all the paper in my life – bills, mail, stuff with my kids. One of the things they don’t prepare you for as a parent is the paperwork. Instead of spending time with my kids, I would spend my weekends stressing about forms and appointments – now I don’t have to worry about it. I
realize that that is not an option for everyone, but for me that is money well spent. The best was tax time this year: All I had to do was go to a drawer and the information was gathered and ready to go.
Into every life a little Tommy Lee Jones will fall
One of the strategies I have for celebrity interviews is I try to find common ground. If somebody has just had a kid then I like to play the parent card. When I was interviewing Michael Douglas, I knew he had a home in Montreal, so I played the Canadian card. Anything you can do to find common ground will generally create some kind of a rapport, which is what you’re hoping for. It doesn’t always happen. Some times, the goal is just to get through it. I remember when I was getting ready to interview Tommy Lee Jones for the most recent Men in Black movie. Everyone is saying what a difficult interviewer he is. One of the reporters before me came out crying, so I was shaking in my boots. Part of the storyline of that movie involves a time capsule, so we were supposed to bring something to put into a time capsule. I brought a Canadian penny. When I gave it to Tommy Lee, he said, “I don’t take bribes.” It was awkward, but I got through it. Not every time is going to be the success you want it to be. Sometimes you have to get satisfaction from doing an honest day’s work.
Take a break from tech
When I was recovering, I spent a lot of time reading self-improvement sort of articles on my smartphone – LifeHacker and that sort of thing. The one that stuck with me was about how important it is to create some distance between yourself and your technology. I decided, based on that, that I would stop checking my e-mail first thing every morning. I used to treat me phone like a lover – I would go to bed with it and wake up cradling it in my arms. Now I wake up, I do some breathing in bed and then I focus on setting my intention for the day. It’s just basic stuff; I’ll say, today I’m really going to focus on being patient with my kids or I’m really going to give 110 per cent at work, or I’m going to focus on being kind. Something about actually thinking about your goals first thing in the morning before your brain has a chance to get cluttered helps you to achieve them. At least it helps me. I still keep my phone in my room – baby steps.
It’s easy to be kind
I started working in television as a front-desk receptionist. I’ve been a production assistant, a script runner and many other jobs that are on the lower end of the career ladder. Being in these positions gave me an opportunity to observe the people in the higher positions, and one thing I noticed is that the most successful ones are those who have been kind to everyone – not just to the bosses, but to the mail guys and everyone else. You see it with celebrities, too. I met Cameron Diaz and she was just so cool and down to earth; maybe she was just acting, but she made me feel comfortable and confident. Now that I have my show, I always keep this in mind. It is so easy to be kind and to make people feel included, so why wouldn’t you?
This interview has been condensed and edited by Courtney Shea.
Editor's note: The picture that originally accompanied this article depicted the wrong person. This version has been corrected.