Tips From The Top: One On One With Lindsay McCormick

I spoke to sportscaster Lindsay McCormick about her best advice

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Credit: Bjoern Kommerell

Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that would surprise people?

Lindsay: I would consider myself an extremely candid and open person, so at this point there are very few things. With that said, this is one aspect of my life that I’ve been fairly quiet about — I have severe anxiety. Especially when it comes to traveling. It has reached a point where I can’t sleep and give myself a stomach ulcer several days before I’m set to step foot on a plane. I’m petrified to fly and yet I force myself to do it often because my fear of missing out on work is much greater. Plus, I don’t want to be that person who didn’t reach their potential and make the most out of life because fear held them back.

Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?

Lindsay: Your success in any field depends on your mindset. I’m so incredibly grateful that I had parents who raised me to be rewarded rather than punished when I found a way around their initial “No.” They taught me to evaluate the “No’s” in life and either view them as a closed door for my benefit or an opportunity for a more creative approach to obtain a “Yes.”

I had 24 hours left to submit for an internship during college when ESPN producers saw me working the sidelines for the Auburn campus news station and offered me an internship. Some call that luck. Others call that setting yourself up for success by being in the right place at the right time…I call that a God thing.

That was how I got my foot in the door. Throughout the next 11 years of my career, I would encounter women who would take me under their wing and mentor me and others who would try everything in their power to break me — from deactivating my badge I needed to get onto the studio lot to stalking me in the work parking lot and blocking my car in to stare me down until I got the message that they did not want me there. This made me want to find success even more and made me vow to always help other women when I got to a place where I could do so. What some women don’t understand is that a victory for one means more open doors for all. It made me want to stand up for women in all professions and shine light on a few of my darker experiences I faced in order to evoke change in the workplace – that way the ones who encountered similar experiences would not feel alone and the ones who hadn’t yet, would never have to.

Adam: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective leader? How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level?

Lindsay: I’ve always looked up to those who lead with their actions rather than simply telling others what to do. These leaders live with such passion that others flock to them. They don’t wait listlessly for opportunities to appear, but instead forge their own path.

Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders?

Lindsay: My father is the true definition of a successful entrepreneur. He taught me at a young age these lessons.

1.Listen to others more than you speak. And when you do open your mouth, be impeccable with your word. Entrepreneurs are attempting to solve a problem that exists or helping to make others lives much easier with their product. You can learn more from listening to your audience.

2.Always do your research. The internet makes it extremely easy for us to be overprepared no matter what your job is. Never go into even a casual meeting without bringing knowledge about that particular person and their interests with you.

3. Don’t simply “stay in your lane.” Find ways to innovate.

Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?

Lindsay: I feel fortunate to have had a lot of amazing mentors in my life, so it’s hard to narrow down all of the advice I’ve been given over the past decade. But if I have to pick one, I’ll go with “Don’t be debilitated by perfectionism.” You don’t have to know it all before you start. And for that matter, you never have to know it all. Lean into your own strengths but make sure you embrace the expertise of those around you.

Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?

Lindsay: It’s tied for me between mentoring the younger generations and connecting with meaningful charities.

Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?

Lindsay: I started dancing when I was two years old and then competing at seven. Throughout my life I’ve picked up different styles from contemporary to ballroom. I’ve always said if I had a daughter I would want to put her in dance class because of the way it molded my mentality about my body. Dance gave me the confidence to be comfortable on stage in front of thousands of people or broadcast in front of millions without hesitation.

When I started working with Broadcast Vocal Coach Arthur Joseph at the beginning of my career, he had me read a broadcast script a few times before standing up in the middle of the room and striking various tango positions. He then had me recite the same words while in those same dance positions and pointed out how confident my voice was. After he connected dance and broadcast for me, I started every work day in the dressing room or bathroom mirror dancing before walking onto set.

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