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Success Lessons From Tom Brady


Tom Brady just announced his retirement from the NFL after 23 years.  Part of my process is looking at what makes people successful and writing about the lessons.  I am also a sports fanatic. Sports are an excellent place to find concepts that I can write about. Athletes at the apex of their sports, commitment, competition, ego, and winning are all concepts that we can learn from.


Although in 2015, the Patriots and Tom Brady broke my heart by beating my Seattle Seahawks, he is still one of my favorite athletes of all time.  He won MVPs and several Super Bowls and holds some of the most coveted NFL records for a quarterback.


Here are a few lessons that we can all learn from Brady.  These lessons are anecdotes I heard over the years.

  1.  Commitment.  He was genuinely committed, like very few are.  He spent money on his body, watched hours of game tape, and wanted to win.  Many people say they want to win, but how many are so committed to winning that they are willing to make personal sacrifices?  He had his own trainer, ate well, getting enough sleep, and was uber-committed to the game.  Brady put his skin and his money into the game to succeed.
  2. Relationships.  Brady was focused on building and maintaining relationships.  Even when he succeeded, he went up to every new player, put out his hand, and said, “I’m Tom.”  He also treated everybody in the facility the same.  He went out of his way to build relationships with everybody he encountered.
  3. Took advantage of luck.  In every successful journey, including my own, there is a fair amount of luck.  To take advantage of luck, it is essential to exploit the blessings in your life.  Brady was blessed to have a good coach and bought into the coach’s system.  He also was in one of the worse football divisions, making it easier for him to win his division almost every year.
  4. Took pay cuts.  It’s very challenging to win Super Bowls if one player takes up a big chunk of the salary cap.  The team cannot sign other necessary players when a quarterback takes up more than a certain percentage.  Tom always took pay cuts, and he was able to get the players he needed to win. 

Tom was not perfect.  He dealt with a couple of scandals.  He didn’t win every year.  He barked at his teammates.  He threw tablets.

I don’t believe we should judge people on their worst moments.  I hope that Tom can find happiness and joy in his retirement.

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