Don’t fall over in your chair or anything, but this weekend I was watching a “behind the scenes” profile on football quarterback, Tom Brady.
Now…I haven’t been much of a sports fan up until this point. I’ve watched a Super Bowl or two, had beers on Sundays with my buddies who were watching the games. I thoroughly enjoy going to a baseball game.
But I’m not the girl that you’ll usually find in front of the TV watching a show on sports on a Sunday morning, but last weekend it happened.
And what’s even more surprising is that I got way into it.
It was a show all about the story of Tom Brady. Quarterback of the New England Patriots. Winner of four (out of six) Super Bowls and three MVP Super Bowl awards. He helped set the record for the longest consecutive win streak in NFL history with 21 straight wins over two seasons. He has thrown more passing yards and touchdowns than any quarterback in NFL postseason history. He’s known as the “comeback kid’ for being able to bring his team up from being behind, and winning the game and I could go on and on. Plus…he’s married to a supermodel.
He is basically life’s golden child, and considered by many to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
But it wasn’t always this way.
In his early career, he wasn’t considered much of anything. His stats weren’t great. He was too skinny, too slow. He was said to have an “ok arm” and a “not very tight spiral.” One coach even said that it looked like he had never seen a weight room.
So when the NFL draft came around in 2000, no one was exactly chomping at the bit to get him on their team.
6 rounds of draft picks went down (that’s 198 players were picked by other teams) before he was finally selected. He was only 56 players away from being picked dead last.
So how did a too skinny, too slow, ok arm, go on to being one of the best quarterbacks of all time and what can we all learn from it?
This is the question that had me staring at the TV instead of walking on the beach last Sunday morning (don’t worry…I walked on the beach after). And it’s one that I think merits us all to look at. Especially those of us who have our own businesses or our own dreams that feel big and impossible.
Tom Brady’s story was wildly inspiring to me, and there are four major takeaways I can see as his secret to success. I believe if we all incorporate these ideas into our businesses, we can all have NFL Highlight-like careers.
Let’s dive in to the four secret weapons of success as learned through Tom Brady:
1) You have put in the time and the work
Tom Brady wasn’t the most naturally talented quarterback on the planet. But he had something a lot of other people didn’t. Absolute, sheer determination. He was hell bent on showing everyone that he was the absolute BEST guy for the job, and did what it took to get there. He practiced, he played, he studied. He went the extra mile when others didn’t.
In business it’s the same thing. You can’t just rely on your talent or skill (or lack thereof). You have to work at it. If you’re not a great coach yet, become one. Practice. If no one is listening to the songs you’re writing, go play them every single day until people start listening.
The NFL won’t come knocking on your door just because you want it and you know deep down you have a skill and talent that the world needs. They’ll knock because you’ve put in the time and you’ve proven yourself.
2) You have to believe in yourself and your abilities even (and especially) when no one else does.
Every review of Tom Brady went something like this: “Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.”
It’s clear to see that he wasn’t at the top of the list. People didn’t believe that he’d amount to much. They thought 198 players were a better choice than him. But instead of letting that derail him completely, what he did instead was work harder and believe in himself more.
I hear it a lot in the business world that people stop creating when they don’t get the feedback/likes/props/engagement/customers they want. And after being a coach for six years now, what I REALLY want to say is “welcome to the club!”
The truth is that no one really cares what any of us do at first. People won’t believe in you. They’ll think your skills are crappy or your ideas are stupid. That’s all just part of the game. And it’s not a reason to stop creating.
The thing is that we have to make them care. And the way we do that is by working hard and believing in ourselves enough to not quit when the first family member, friend, colleague, or coach thinks you’re not good enough. Successful people HAVE to believe they can make even when no one else does. And that is the difference between becoming a Tom Brady or an Oprah Winfrey or not.
3) You can’t buckle under pressure.
This was one of my favorite parts of the documentary because it speaks to something that we don’t talk about a lot in the business world. Which is that people who “make it” are often people who know how to deal with and get through their stresses without completely falling apart.
I mentioned earlier that Tom Brady is known as the “Comeback Kid.” Which means that he has often been put in situations that are very stressful (ummmm I mean imagine playing a sold out stadium with millions watching all over the world) and has been able to perform and execute without the pressure getting to him.
Same thing happens in life and in business. Life is stressful. Business is stressful. There is no way around it. But in order to create something, do something, BE something (and maybe even end up in the Hall Of Fame), you have to be able to get through those stresses without buckling.
You must come up with systems to build your mental, spiritual, and emotional stamina in order to cross the finish line. (Click to Tweet that!)
4) You have to have heart.
I love this. And not just because “heart” is one of my favorite words and is part of my brand, but because this is perhaps the most important one. It is often discussed in the business world that in order to succeed you need to know your “why.”
Which means that you have to have a strong connection to why you’re doing what you’re doing. In other words, you have to have heart.
It’s the one thing you can’t measure on a stats card. It’s the one thing that will separate this player from that player, or this coach from that coach. And that is…how bad do you want it? And how much or little is your heart in the game?
It isn’t always the most “talented” person or the one who has all the statistics in their favor (time, money, resources, natural ability) that make it. It’s the ones that want it bad enough. (Click to tweet that!)
Tom Brady said it best when he said: “A lot of times I find that people who are blessed with the most talent don’t ever develop that attitude, and the ones who aren’t blessed in that way are the most competitive and have the biggest heart.” – Tom Brady
I still don’t know that I’ll be at the next football game but I love what this story is here to teach us. Really, I think success is simple. You have to:
1) Work your buns off
2) Believe in yourself even when no one else does
3) Learn to deal with your stresses
4) And care. Care more than anyone
I’ve been called too optimistic before but I absolutely truly believe that anyone can create the life and/or business they want to create. It doesn’t matter where you come from, the parents you were born to, the financial cards you’ve been dealt, or the unathletic body you’ve been given. These stories, of people like Tom Brady, or Oprah Winfrey show us that we can all be the greatest versions of ourselves if we’re just willing to do what it takes to get there. (click to tweet that!)
And now I’d love to hear from you….
Have you ever felt like your “statistics card” was stacked against you?
Have you ever had to be the “comeback kid” and pull out some mental strength from your back pocket?
Are you in this place right now where you’re not sure if you should keep going?
Do share in the comments below and as always, if you like this article, make sure you share it with your friends.
We’re from New England we love Tom Brady! It was my husband who pointed out all his personal triumphs to me and I was like, “okay, I like him even more now!” I’m sure that piece on ESPN was great. We’ll have to try to find it.
Awwww yeah girl!! I found his story to be SO inspiring and definitely recommend the documentary. I’ll try to find a link to it too.
Loved this article, Sally! You (and Brad) are so right. It depends on how much we want it.
Thank you for sharing your insights after watching a documentary. Very useful!
I watched that documentary too…which no one would EVER expect me to do. It really was inspirational. I loved the courage that he had to make his own decisions, even with family tradition weighing heavily on him. And I loved the support everyone in his family gave to each other. And I totally agree that having the will can often overcome talent.