As I sat there watching the Super Bowl last night I found myself getting lost in thought about today’s blog. I mean, anyone whose brand is The Athletics of Business must write a blog the day after the Super Bowl, right? It was in my head before the game that I would write a blog about the poetic justice of Tom Brady being named the MVP of the Super Bowl and Roger Goodell having to shake his hand in front of the world. Like I said, before the game!
As the game wore on I never really lost faith that something big was going to happen for the Patriots, because, well, he is Tom Brady. But he does not play defense and there went the Dirty Birds up 28-3 early in the second half. So, I went about watching the kids jump on furniture and wrap each other’s legs up and drive with their feet as they tackled each other. Hey, it was my way of getting them to watch the Super Bowl while their Mother cleaned upstairs, and yes, I taught them that. Don’t judge.
I had it all mapped out about how I was going to discuss what Tom Brady taught us about the ability to realize sustained success in our careers and what it took to do just that. Suppose I still could have even if they lost, but then the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history took place and the story became about something much more. The story became about the fact that there is more, much more, than the trophy or the big payday. You see, this was the first game Tom Brady’s Mom, Galynn, could attend this year because of her battle with cancer and it was his Dad’s only second game as he has been by her side in the battle much greater than football. The fact that she could witness her son accomplish the most miraculous comeback in his storied career was far more fulfilling than watching Roger squeeze Tom’s hand as they shook and not let go until he said whatever it was he had to say (If you did not see it the handshake must be out there in Google). After Tom realized that the game was over and he had won his fifth Super Bowl, he hit his knees. One can only imagine the thoughts running through his head at that moment. I was transfixed on Brady’s reaction after the game as everyone wanted a piece of him and he seemed to just want to get to his family and his teammates. That was what mattered most and those people are what it was all about. That was the story right there, recognizing when something special is happening and being present to share it with those that matter.
Thus, the picture of our daughter Maddie and me before our first Daddy/Daughter dance Friday night. I will be the first to admit that I get caught up in the grind of building a business and one of the things that has been a challenge for me is to hit pause sometimes in the middle of all the chaos. I think we all have had that challenge at one time or another and it is even more challenging now with all the distractions. That night though, nothing else mattered in the world except that little girl. It was her night, well our night. That was a day I had dreamed about for a long time and one that had I not been present mentally I would have never forgiven myself. Trust me, I am guilty for physically being in the middle of something special but at the same time worried about all the wrong things. Often, when we are in the middle of the fray we tend to lose sight of the fact that the things that matter most in life are usually not things! That is why it hit me how unbelievably present Tom Brady seemed to be with his family and teammates (except for looking for his game jersey that seemed to disappear). There was a picture that Tom took after the game with all his family members and the caption which quoted him read, “It takes a team.”
What Tom Brady did was an incredible feat even before taking all the other story lines into consideration. The rage he felt at the beginning of the season when he served a four-game suspension, his Mom’s battle with cancer, throwing for 28 TD’s and only two picks, 39 years old, loses his tight end Rob Gronkowski for season in Week 12, Father of three adorable kids, the pick six he threw, the missed extra point and the fact they trailed 28-3 early in the second half.
His calming presence and the confidence that his teammates had in him was something like I have never seen before. I am not sure we can honestly process how difficult it is to do what he did. I won’t get into statistics as this is not a blog about the game as it is about the lessons inside the game. The mental toughness he showed in the final 25 minutes is something we will talk about for years to come. Here are the five things I think the G.O.A.T. did which we could apply, not only in our careers, but life in general as well.
- Kept getting up– That man was beaten physically and challenged mentally the entire game. He just kept getting back up no matter how hard he got knocked down.
- Never lost confidence– He never lost confidence in himself or his teammates. Brady knew that he was not going to keep under or over-throwing the ball to guys who were getting themselves open and he never lost faith in his receivers after some dropped passes so he kept trying to put them in position to be successful and make big plays.
- Did not panic– No matter how bleak it looked he was not going to stop being the calming influence on the team. Even down eight inside of two minutes he had a controlled sense of urgency and the team seemed to mirror him.
- Communicated– He continued to talk to his teammates the entire comeback no matter how crazy the situation was.
- Made big plays but did not feel the need to be the star– Tom Brady epitomizes what it means to be a great teammate and in the end, he gave someone else the ball to have all the glory of the winning touchdown. He just wanted to win and he did not care who got them in the end zone.
Love him or hate him, you must respect him. Personally, I thank him for helping keep things in perspective as well.