A still shot from "Grey's Anatomy" (Image courtesy of vulture.com)
Orange County School of the Arts

Opinion: Finding your ‘Person’ — why being #2 is OK

I’ve never liked the main character in shows or movies I’ve watched. I always felt I resounded more to the best friend or sidekick of the main characters, such as Cisco Ramon to Barry Allen, Chandler Bing to Ross Geller, or my favorite TV show duo, Cristina Yang to Meredith Grey. To me, Cisco, Chandler, and Cristina seem like the characters who not only support the main character’s development, but also have an intricate and unique story that is worth being heard.

Being the best or #1 at something can get difficult sometimes. But that’s okay. Lately, I’ve been trying to “run my own race” and not compare myself to my friends too often. In an article written by executive producer Phil Cooke titled “Leadership: The Importance of Being #2” Cooke discusses the benefits of being a great #2. Cooke writes, “And if you’re the #2 in your organization, know this — you’re the foundation that allows #1 to soar.” Leaders are typically seen as the vanguards — always being the first to volunteer to help or the first to think of a plan of action. However, great #2’s bolster the leader’s ideas and help make this plan into action. The great #2 is usually more practical when carrying out someone else’s plans or helping others and loyal to their #1 person.

With that being said, leaders can also be great #2s. There’s a video of someone dancing in a park to music by themselves. At first, it may seem like this person is simply insane because they are dancing by themselves. However, someone else comes along and starts dancing with the first person. Slowly, more and more people start joining this flash mob. The second person made it seem like dancing in public wasn’t as weird as it appeared to be. This enforces Cooke’s idea of the great #2 being the “foundation that allows the #1 to soar.” The great #2 is supporting this dance party and together, the #1 and #2 ignited a whole movement.

Support is always appreciated and valued in a group of leaders, especially with so many ideas bouncing around. Both leaders and great #2s should have good listening skills that coincide with a willingness to hear other ideas. This way, people in a group can recall ideas that were suggested earlier in a discussion and blend ideas together. For example, in the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy,” Cristina Yang is always there for Meredith to rant about her life. Even if Cristina is on an emotional rollercoaster, she always listens and gives helpful advice to Meredith, which makes her such an inspiration to me to not only be a great leader, but to be the best #2 I can be to as many people as possible.

To quote Phil Cooke, “If you’re the top person, value your #2. And if you don’t have one, make finding one a priority.” Find a Cristina Yang to your Meredith Grey, or vice versa. Be each other’s ‘person’.

Gif from “Grey’s Anatomy”