Monday, March 1, 2021

Interview with ESPN anchor, Bram Weinstein: True happiness is seeing my kids smile

Please tell us about yourself and what you do?

I am a native Washington transplanted to central Connecticut working at the Worldwide leader in Sports ESPN as a studio anchor and reporter. My main role is anchoring Sportscenter. I’m married with two children, aged 5 and 2. 

Bram Weinstein

Do you find the pressures of working in your industry significant with regard to feeling the need to have a “perfect” body?  If so, how do you navigate through that terrain?  How do you “not” judge yourself when others (critics, audience members, producers, etc.) “judge” you based on outward measures?

Being on television, there is a lot of pressure to look your best. I have taken far more notice into my clothing choices and my weight than ever before. Part of being on television is the image you present and I want that image to be not only of someone with a vast knowledge base for the subject matter we are presenting but to have a youthful look with an eye on personal health. Navigating negative thoughts about self-image is something I have grappled with my entire life. I was really thin as a kid, in high school I was 6’0″ but only 120 Lbs.. It was mainly my genetics, I did not have a great diet and yet I just couldn’t gain weight. I never thought I was physically attractive because I didn’t have the size of most guys my age. This was very difficult to deal with. As I have gotten older, I naturally gained some weight, so much so, in recent years I started eating better, working out and ensuring I didn’t lose my favorable thin build. But I wish I had taken more time to “love myself” a little more when I was younger. My poor personal image led to me not having the confidence I should have had at that age.


To follow up with that question, how do you deal with bullying or people talking negative about you? Can you give any examples of bullying in your personal life and how you handled it?

I never really experienced a lot of bullying and I was never really a bully myself. In general, I have always maintained an eclectic group of friends. I was President of my class in high school, President of my fraternity in college and have rarely not continually moved upward in my career trajectory. Being on television now does bring a lot of criticism mainly through social media. The best advice I was give is to tune it out. I’m my own worst critic, I don’t need anyone telling me whether I did a good or poor job. Deflecting criticism is something I have done for years however and I can understand how hurtful it could be to someone younger who doesn’t have the life experiences I’ve had.


What made you want to get involved with Mental Fitness, Inc. and what it is about the mission of Mental Fitness that speaks to you?

The message from Mental Fitness that is appealing to me is mental health of young people. This generation is exposed to so many outside factors. Social media has opened a Pandora’s box of decision making that can adversely affect someone’s mental outlook on themselves. I want to help young people understand their unique qualities is what makes them beautiful. I want them to confidently go through their formative years to go after and achieve the goals they set for themselves.


Who were the role models in your life?

The role models in my life is my father who was a WW2 veteran who returned home from the European front to a family who had lost their father. He became the caretaker of his mother and siblings running the family grocery store then became a self-made success story running his own real estate business. He was accountable and uniquely entertaining. He was fun loving and a person who was beyond supportive of my dreams. My brother is an Emmy award winning animation producer, the true talent of my family and one of the most wonderful Dads you’ll ever meet. As for professional role models, there are too many to name. Much of my success is attributed to learning from and watching many people I admired.


What do you define as beautiful?

What is Beautiful? Sunsets, The Beach, Art… And then there are the beautiful moments like laying in my backyard as the moon rises sitting next to my kids and watching the sky. Beauty is my wife’s soul and dedication to our family. Beauty is my children who are the personification of my heart.


How do you define inner beauty?

Inner beauty is loving yourself- making decisions you don’t regret and excusing the mistakes you make along the way. We all have unique qualities- inner beauty is finding those-chasing your interests and refusing to allow others dictate to you who you are or want to be. It’s confidence to interact and perform in life. 


What is happiness?

Happiness for me is achievement. Setting a goal, seeing the pursuit of that goal and achieving the goal. True happiness is repeating that over and over and always remaining curious to possibility. Happiness is also as simple as talking to my kids about their day, getting a hug and an unprompted message of love. True happiness is seeing my kids smile. 


How do you manage your stress levels in daily life?  Do you use music / art / dance, etc. as a coping tool?  Are there other things that you do to live mindfully?

Managing stress is always a difficulty balance. Free time in my life is scarce between work and family. I find writing to be very cathartic for me. I like to try to make myself laugh, so I like to write humor. I tried taking up the guitar but this was a discipline that didn’t fit. I never found the time to practice enough to master it. I enjoy reading mainly books about psychiatry and social economics. I want to know as much about the world around me as possible. And while I don’t practice meditation in the traditional sense of the word, I do find myself conducting an inner dialogue almost constantly. Being mindful of your place keeps you present, at least it does for me.


How do you find a work-life balance — as a man, relationships, a professional — what are keys to balance?

Balancing work and life is very very difficult. I have odd hours, working weekends where I have to be at the studio by 4-5AM. This alters our traditional “weekend plans” which is a challenge to engage a social life outside of work. This is everyone’s challenge. I cannot be away from my kids for very long, it pains me, so wanting that balance is half the battle. Is nurturing your kids and relationships important enough to prioritize them at the same level as your career? It is for me. Sometimes that pendulum swings in a direction that needs correction but I always try to be cognizant of those who have to deal with my responsibilities. My end game is to achieve my career goals and raise kids who look to me as their rock.


Make sure to follow Bram on Twitter.

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