By: Austin Weaver, @AustinTWeaver
Like many other students out there, I have aspirations to build a World Series Championship team. Unless you live under a rock, you are aware the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908. You may have also heard that Theo Epstein, the same guy who brought an end to the World Series drought in Boston, was the guy in charge in Chicago.
There are a couple things about Epstein that I admire and try to mimic in my daily life. Obviously, Epstein has been very successful and is in a position that many aspire to reach, but his success isn’t necessarily the biggest attribute I try to model.
Success is great, but it’s the process of getting to success that most intrigues me. While there may be many other pieces to that process, there are three things when it comes to Theo Epstein that I admire the most.
1. Grinded through law school
As a second year law and MBA student, I am constantly overwhelmed with the amount of classwork and information I am supposed to not only consume, but comprehend. Epstein was a full-time employee with the Padres when he enrolled in law school. The time commitment to both his job and schooling is almost incomprehensible, but the fact that he was able to manage it gave me the optimism that I too could take on that challenge.
While I may not be a full-time employee in the University of Iowa’s athletic department, I get up every day ready to attack the challenge that is working in the sports industry and continuing my education.
2. Doesn’t take himself too seriously
The second attribute of Epstein that I believe everyone can learn from is his ability to remain grounded through the pressure and success that comes with his job. From watching a game in the bleachers to eating goat after the Cubs won, and interviewing with a drunk Will Ferrell in the locker room, there are many examples of the type of person that Epstein is.
Bryce Harper got a lot of attention for a hat he wore bearing the slogan, “Make Baseball Fun Again.” It is clear Epstein doesn’t have a problem making sure he is having fun working in baseball. I can only hope I bring as much passion and energy to my career.
I highly recommend this ESPN Article that gives an in-depth look into Epstein and how he approaches his work.
3. Trust in his process
Working for two franchises that were desperate for championships, Epstein, at least publicly, never wavered on his convictions. In trying to break into the sports industry, I often find myself questioning if I am on the right track or if I am doing things the right way. The ability to be steadfast in the plan when the stakes are highest is a trait any good leader needs to have.
If anyone knows Theo, pass along my thanks. Not only for finally bringing my Dad’s Cubs a championship, but for giving me someone to look up to. I hope to not only reach the same level of success, but I hope I can do it in the right way and earn the respect of my peers like Epstein has.