Rachel Nichols’s Secrets for Professional and Personal Success

An accomplished broadcaster, Rachel Nichols has been a television sports program reporter, anchor, and host for roughly a quarter of a century. Since the earliest days of her career as a sportswriter with the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and the Washington Post, she has covered a broad array of major national and international athletic events including large numbers of professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and tennis championships. She also has an extensive history of covering high-caliber college sports competitions and multiple Olympic games.

After serving a decade with the Washington Post, Rachel Nichols joined the industry-leading sportscasting team at ESPN, where she earned two Emmy Awards. One of the few female on-air personalities for ESPN at the time, she served as a sideline reporter during ESPN’s Monday Night Football and regularly appeared on the network’s SportsCenter and NFL Countdown programs.

Rachel Nichols worked for ESPN for nine years before moving to Turner Sports, CNN (the Cable News Network), and other broadcasting arms of TBS (the Turner Broadcasting System). Her CNN sports talk show Unguarded with Rachel Nichols give her a chance to cover stories that “present the human side of sports personalities,” “engage in candid conversations with world-famous athletes,” and lead panel discussions that “bring sports fans and general audiences into the programming.” At its peak, this half-hour, weekly program commanded a worldwide audience of more than a billion viewers.

While hosting CNN’s Unguarded with Rachel Nichols, Rachel Nichols was also an integral part of the NBA broadcasts on TNT, the Final Four broadcasts on CBS, and both the baseball and golf broadcasts on TBS. She interviewed a seemingly never-ending list of sports superstars including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Brett Favre, Kevin Durant, Derek Jeter, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Tyson, and Joe Montana. In his published memoir, US Basketball Hall of Fame member Dwyane Wade called Rachel Nichols “a true professional in every sense of the word.” Praising her for her ability to capture the most important moments in sports, he says, “We as players know she’s going to ask the questions that matter, but more importantly, she’s going to treat each story with the nuance and care it deserves.”

Taking a look back at her extraordinary career trajectory, Rachel Nichols simply cannot underestimate the supreme value of hard work. “I know this sounds basic,” she says, “but it’s shocking how many people don’t do it: just try to outwork everyone else around you.” In her estimation, a dedication to hard work and a determination to get the job done enables people to learn more and achieve a far higher level of success.

Although it may sound counterintuitive at first, Rachel Nichols also credits her many life failures with her ultimate life success. After all, a failure only spells an end to success if a person fails to try again. Furthermore, it is important to understand that people with a significant amount of ambition is bound to encounter many, many failures on their way to the top. “Failures can freeze you when they feel like the end of the world, but contrary to several recent movies, the world has yet to end,” she says. “Too often, we talk about failure as a destination – as in, ‘that ended in failure.’ But failure is only the end of the road if you stop moving forward. If you keep going, then it’s just something that happened to you along the way to your success.” What makes learning from failures even more effective and palatable is their tendency to become less and less painful over time. According to Ms. Nichols, “the more times you pick yourself up from a failure and try again, the less each individual instance stings.”

Beyond her accomplishments in the professional arena, Rachel Nichols credits her indefatigable spirit and dedication to hard work with success in her personal life. The universal benefit of these values is evident in her favorite motivational book, Make Your Bed by former US Navy SEAL William McRaven. “It’s short, to the point, and applies to everyone,” says Ms. Nichols. “Also, I’m a huge believer in the power of making your bed every morning (even on weekends), so I’m pretty happy that’s where he chose to start.”

Demonstrating her sense of humor as well as her reliance on the simple things in life, Rachel Nichols half-seriously singles out coffee as one of the habits that has made her more productive in both her professional and private life. “It’s not just for mornings, folks,” she quips. In fact, her love of coffee runs so deep that she recently spent $100 on a mug with a built-in electronic sensor and heater that enables it to detect when her favorite beverage begins to cool and then automatically warm it back up. “It’s brilliant,” she says before adding, “okay, maybe I have a problem!”

Stay connected with Rachel Nichols here: https://www.facebook.com/RachelNicholsTV

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