How to Become a Triple Threat

She’s a four-time Emmy Award-winning television personality and sportscaster for the New York Knicks. She’s a fashion expert and Today Show contributor (known for the “Ambush Makeover” and “Steals and Deals” segments). She’s the creative director of QVC’s G.I.L.I. got it love it fashion and accessories collection. She’s also the New York Times best-selling author of I Have Nothing To Wear! and The Weekend Makeover. Who is she? Jill Martin.

Her typical schedule? Busy. Martin, 39, will broadcast a Knicks game from 5 until 11 p.m. at Madison Square Garden, then head home to be ready for a Today segment the next morning at 6 a.m. at NBC Studios. (As a contributor, she’s typically on air two or three times a week.)

After that, she’ll driveto QVC in Pennsylvania, and upon arrival on set, she’ll be on-air late night until 1 a.m. and throughout the following day. “Seven minutes here, 14 minutes there… it’s exhilarating,” she says.

But the high-energy, multitasking Manhattanite wouldn’t have it any other way. “QVC, The Today Show and the Knicks are my kids right now.”

Martin says her communication skills parlay themselves into each role she plays on a daily basis, from sideline reporter to style contributor. “For me sports, fashion, beauty and lifestyle fall into entertainment…. I get to entertain people and distract them from everyday life.”

Somehow she manages to stay focused on everything life throws her way. SUCCESS caught up with Martin during her commute to QVC to ask how she juggles so much and what pointers she can share. Here are Martin’s six tips to becoming a triple threat:

1. Become a “glorified pest.” Sure, she’s currently a creative director at QVC and launched products like garment bags and stylish hangers in 2013 under her own name, Jill by Jill Martin, but at first glance you may not know it took her six years to get there. Yes, that’s right—six years.

“It was a long process and I fought for a very long time. I was super-persistent,” she says. “I’m a glorified pest. I’m proud to be called scrappy—I’ll do whatever it takes.”

2. Understand it’s a numbers game. Remember those toy spiders from when you were little, the gummy ones that you threw against the wall and slowly crawled down?

To Martin, pitching is all about numbers: If you throw 10 gummy spiders onto a wall, one might stick, but if you throw 100 on a wall, maybe 10 will.

“I throw everything out there, and then enough comes through.”

3. Delete nonsense. Martin typically works 16-hour days seven days a week and says you “can’t have nonsense in your life.”

If something is unhealthy in your day-to-day, you have to eliminate it. “Bad relationships, bad friendships. It’s energy you’re taking away from something you could be productive in.”

4. Rely on a sounding board. Martin leans on her mother. “She comes the night before [to QVC], we drive together, then we go to dinner, to the hotel…. It’s fun.”

Martin suggests relying on someone you trust. “I’m so lucky because I’m with someone who loves me more than I love myself. I trust her opinions. Any job you’re in is stressful, especially if you’re not married—you need that sounding board.”

5. Create a paper plan and stick to it. For staying on point with tasks and projects, Martin kicks it old school. “I have one of those day books from year one that’s probably going to go out of business soon, [and] every day I have an index card of things I have to get done that day.”

And while she admits she’s always working, to avoid burnout, Martin has a list of things she does for a mental refresh. “It’s always the feeling of done [that makes me feel good], so having the color done, my hair blown out, spray tan, manicure. It sounds trivial but it’s important to me.” And she makes sure to maneuver a workout into her schedule, too—even if it’s just 30 minutes at a time.

6. Push the envelope.Several years ago when Martin broadcasted entertainment segments for the Miami Heat, a CBS sports director asked if she’d be interested in becoming their sports reporter. “Absolutely! I told them. When I went in, they said, ‘Do you know about all sports?’ I’m like, ‘Absolutely!’”

Truth be told, she knew basketball and football, but as for NASCAR, golf or hockey? Not so much. She told the director to give her 30 days to prove what she could do. “I knew once you’re in something, you stay—you just have to get in [first].”

Martin got to work. She read Hockey for Dummies, Golf for Dummies… absorbing all the sports she could so she was a dummy no more. She was there for five years, and the funny part? “I went on to write Fashion For Dummies, so I became part of the Dummies family.”

Her motto? Push beyond your limits. “I believe in pushing the envelope as far as you can. That’s how I’ve always lived. I knew once I got in there, I could make it work, and I did all I could. I never fail at something because I didn’t work hard enough.”

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Vicki Salemi is a career expert, columnist, author of Big Career in the Big City, speaker and frequent on-air guest. She resides in New York City and is a huge fan of the Yankees, cardio tap (yes, as in dancing) and cardio tennis.

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