After watching a postgame interview between Hannah Storm and Charles Barkley, six-year-old Erin Andrews turned to her father and said, “I want to do this when I grow up.” Her father, six-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Steven Andrews, smiled at his daughter and jokingly replied, “Erin, everybody wants to do this when they grow up.”
Sports broadcasting is a competitive industry, but young Andrews quickly developed a plan that would put her on the path to success. While sitting beside her father that day, she decided she’d simply outwork her competition—and that’s exactly what she did. On a recent episode of the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast, we spoke with the award-winning sports broadcaster, television personality, and podcaster about life, success, and more. In this article, we look at how Erin Andrews earned the respect and trust of the players, coaches, and fans during her rise to fame as the face of the NFL sideline interview.
Here, her three tenets of success:
1. Be humble, grateful, and respectful.
In the two decades since starting as a freelance reporter for Fox Sports Florida, Andrews has worked with countless professional athletes, including some of the biggest names in sports. Still, the University of Florida alumna says she’s always tried to “be humble, be grateful, and…treat everyone like they’re the most important person in the room.”
This is excellent advice since those confident in their abilities are rarely the loudest in the room. Whether in business, the military, or sports, true leaders carry themselves with humility and treat everyone with respect. They understand that actions speak louder than words, so they let their success do all the trash talking.
“A lot of the athletes I’ve been around do that,” says Andrews. She adds that this includes “Derek Jeter and Tom Brady; I think it’s what separates guys like that [from the rest].”
The most important reason to follow her first tenet of success is that it’s the right thing to do. While we have no way of knowing when someone we meet could impact our career, it’s irrelevant if we’re humble, grateful, and treat everybody like they’re the most important person in the room.
2. Prepare to work hard
Have you ever heard someone say that fortune favors the bold? With its origins tracing back to antiquity, this Latin proverb has long been a popular motto of prestigious universities, powerful militaries, and prominent families. Still, we believe it’s far more accurate to say that fortune favors the prepared. Erin is the perfect example of what happens when you combine preparation and work ethic. She’s learned much of this from her father and still looks to him for guidance. He has the remarkable ability to point her in the right direction, and his advice helped her land a job after college.
“My dad was like, ‘Maybe you should read more than just the Florida Gator section of the sports page. There are other teams you need to start learning about,’” says Erin. “Low and behold, I got my first gig with the Tampa Bay Lightning,” she adds.
Andrews is also the first to admit when she doesn’t know something, “I didn’t know anything about the NHL… [but I knew] I was going to work my ass off, and that’s stayed consistent throughout my career,” she adds.
In The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Erin is the best because she’s obsessed with being the best. While others are relaxing, she’s watching film and preparing for victory before ever stepping onto the field. Then, after the players leave the gridiron and the fans go home, Andrews and her team meet to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and where they can improve. In the military, we call this an After-Action Review (AAR), but Erin calls it a typical Sunday night.
3. Love your job
The average American spends one-third of their life at work. That’s nearly 90,000 hours. Can you imagine spending that much time doing something you hate? Andrews says pursuing a career you’re passionate about is the key to success.
You have to love [your job] because if you don’t, it’s just not going to work out,” she says. When we enjoy what we do, we care about the quality of our work because we want to be the best. “It’s a point of pride for me,” she says. “It means a lot to me to have the respect of the men and women that are a part of the NFL; I don’t want them to ever think I take [my job] lightly,” she adds. There’s an old saying that there can be no success without sacrifice. If you’re passionate about your career, you’ll be willing to do what it takes to succeed. For Erin, this means a lot of travel and spending holidays away from her family. “I live out of a suitcase,” she says. “But I love what I do so much that it balances out.”
Whether you’re a player, a coach, or a broadcaster, making it to the NFL is nearly impossible. That’s part of what makes Andrews’s story so fascinating; not only has she made it, but she’s managed to stay on top for so long. What sets Andrews apart from the competition is her humility, preparation, and willingness to sacrifice so much for the career she loves. A love that started long ago while watching basketball with her dad. When Erin’s father told her that sports broadcasting was a job everybody wanted, he wasn’t discouraging his young daughter’s dreams but instead igniting the spark of determination she’d need to make them come true.
Check out our entire conversation with Erin Andrews on The Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast, available now.
The Talking Series is a weekly segment that delves deeper into topics discussed by guests of the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast.
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