Personally, I think there is little debate over who is the greatest NFL quarterback of all time now that Tom Brady has won his 5th Super Bowl ring. I’m not a die-hard New England Patriots fan by any means, I actually root for a different team that has been in some epic battles with the Pats. But, we will leave that subject alone for now. However, one thing is for sure, I’m a huge Tom Brady fan. Here in this post, I want to highlight 5 important lessons you can learn from Tom Brady’s life and career that can help you to succeed in yours.
Lesson #1 – Trying is Lying You Must Make A Commitment
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.”Tom Brady” was born in San Mateo, CA in 1977. As you likely know, Brady grew up a fanatic over the San Francisco 49ers. More specifically he was a huge Joe Montana fan. As a young 4-year-old fan up in the stands watching the 1981 NFC Championship game, Tom Brady watched Joe Montana throw “The Catch” to Dwight Clark. His first experience with NFL history. Maybe this moment in Brady’s young life is what hooked him on football. Regardless, it became clear as Tom Brady grew and went through school that he was a talented athlete in his own right. He was skilled in football, but he was an extremely talented left-handed hitting catcher on the baseball team. Brady was so talented at baseball that he was actually drafted in the 1995 MLB draft by the Montreal Expos.
However, Brady loved football. He started as the backup QB on the 0-8 JV team. Clearly a far cry from the role he finds himself in today as the 5-time super bowl champ. But when the starting QB ahead of him went down, he was prepared to step in. A familiar scenario would play itself out again in his professional career. He would go on to start as Junipero Serra High School’s quarterback for the rest of his time there. Brady found himself in a tough spot after his senior season. He was a very good high school football player, but he was being drafted by a professional baseball team. Most young men would have a very hard time passing up the chance to play a pro sport when it’s being offered to them. Especially since no colleges at the time were showing interest in Brady for football. But he was committed.
He was committed to playing football at the next level. So instead of taking a shot with baseball, he took a chance on himself and pursued football. Brady created highlight reels of himself, highlighting his skill set. Then, he sent these videos out to some of the Top Colleges and Universities in the country. In the end, he was signed by The Michigan Wolverines. His commitment paid off, he was on his way to play football at the next level. But did he make the right choice? You may be asking yourself that same question about your sales career. Is it the right choice for you? It can be, but only if you give yourself a fighting chance. You have to commit 100%. You will never get anything out of a sales career if you only give “some” of yourself. You have to be all in. Like anything else, a sales career requires attention, time, and commitment.
Lesson #2 – Before Success Comes A Test
If you decide you want to be highly successful in your sales career, it will be hard for you to stick with it and stay motivated if you don’t commit all the way. This is because in life often before any success comes a test. I believe that the bigger the success, the bigger the test. Make sense? Maybe it’s my faith that drives me to believe this way, but I have seen it in the lives of the most successful people. If you study successful people you will see this too. Tom Brady’s career has been no different and it’s an important lesson to learn especially if you’re in sales.
Tests for Brady came immediately in his first two seasons at Michigan in the form of bench warming. As we know now, Brady is one of the most competitive people alive. Amazing things happen when he’s on the field and this is no coincidence. I remember watching Michael Jordan play basketball in the playoffs. Magical things just seem to happen to this caliber of a competitor. So, imagine him sitting for two full seasons on a winning team and not playing. I am convinced this was a MAJOR test for a young Tom Brady.
But Brady was smart and he did the best with what he had and he never lost sight of his commitment to succeeding in football. He studied up on game plays. He practiced relentlessly and stayed ready for his opportunity believing it would come. He believed that if he worked hard enough, eventually he would have the chance to prove himself. He also made another very smart move, he got a mentor. Greg Harden became a mentor to Brady during these times of trial in college and helped him to stay the course successfully. He would meet with him once a week. Brady has been quoted as saying Harden pushed him in directions he himself wasn’t even sure he could go in. Mentors can be very powerful.
When Brady finally had the opportunity to start for the University of Michigan, he was tested once again. There was another very talented young quarterback by the name of Drew Henson. Henson would eventually play professional football AND baseball. However, during his Michigan Wolverine days, Henson had to take a back seat to Brady. Tom would finish out his Michigan career much like he did his high school one. The Wolverine’s were 20-5 with him as QB, and Brady would set a number of top 5 records for the school. His 2 best college games were the 1999 Citrus Bowl and the 2000 Orange Bowl. Both were wins, no surprise.
His commitment paid off with a successful college career. However, Brady’s hopes of continuing his football career were up to the NFL Draft. He was of course drafted, but he was the 199th pick in the 2000 draft. A far cry from being a top pick for the eventual 5 time Super Bowl Champ. He ended up in a familiar spot again, having to prove himself and pass another test of patience. This time he would be the backup QB to Drew Bledsoe on the New England Patriots. Brady paid his dues through high school, college, and now the pro’s and eventually, he was faced with the opportunity of a lifetime. His hard work and preparation were about to be rewarded. During the second game of his second season, the Pats called a rollout play and QB Drew Bledsoe had his clocked cleaned. Actually, the Jets Mo Lewis hit Bledsoe so viscously that it sheared a blood vessel in his chest and almost killed the quarterback. With Bledsoe down, Brady had his chance.
Lesson #3 – Set Yourself Up For A Career And Never Stop Trying To Improve
When you’re in sales you have to think about the big picture. The big picture is that you are in the people business. If you want lasting success in your sales career you want to help others through what you do. Building a solid foundation on the emphasis of helping people first will result in a solid, and potentially massively successful sales career. It has to be about more than just the commission you earn. I don’t know if Tom Brady would have believed you if you would have told him he was going to step right in and take the Pats to a Super Bowl win that year, but that’s what he did. He ended up leading the Patriots to an 11-5 regular season record and eventually they won the Super Bowl beating the St. Louis Rams 20-17. Remember Kurt Warner the gunslinging arena football star, and Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal?
For a lot of young quarterbacks, it would be hard to handle the newfound fame and success that comes along with winning a Super Bowl, let alone winning one your first year as the play caller. With comparisons already being made and hype galore, Tom Brady and the Patriots came out the following season and didn’t even make the playoffs. Remember that? Yeah, that was another test endured by Brady. Imagine winning a Super Bowl ring and then coming out the following year and missing the playoffs completely A lot of people would probably point fingers, name blame, make excuses, etc. But Tom Brady knew what he was capable of, and he was thinking long term. He had a goal of putting together a career, one to be remembered. He knew in those early days of his career he would form his image, who he is as a person and player. Whether he wins or loses, he’s a class act. Love him or hate him as a sports fan, you have to respect him as a human being.
In sales, it’s the same. Even when things don’t go your way which often times they won’t, how you act in those times is very important. It’s easy to do and say all the right things when you’re a champion. But when you fail, when you lose, that’s when your true colors come out. Don’t be a sore loser, or a negative force in the lives of others when things don’t go your way. Stay the course, keep your commitment to yourself, work hard, eventually things will get back on track for you.That’s what we see when we follow Brady’s timeline from here through his career to this point. Brady has won many division titles, a few more Super Bowl rings, a couple SB MVP’s, and set numerous records in regular and postseason. He has also gone down to a serious knee injury and had to come back. He lost 2 Super Bowls to the New York Giants. It has been serious of Tests and eventual Successes over a storied career. Over this entire time, Brady has always looked to improve himself every year. He remains even at the ripe old age of 39 the Top Choice for Coach Belichick.
Lesson #4 – You Never Fail Unless You Quit
In sales, one of the most important things to remember is that you never fail unless you quit and give up. This is actually true for anything in life. Once you give in and give up on something, that’s when you have failed. On the other hand, refusing to quit allows you to see failure as an opportunity to learn how to do it better. The story of Tom Brady’s football career proves this.
It’s probably the most inspiring part of Tom Brady’s story so far. No matter what the obstacle or the failure he encounters in his career, the Patriot’s #12 has stayed committed refusing to quit. He has given us all the opportunity to see it first-hand many times in the 4th quarter of big games during his career. Most recently Brady was able to lead a historic comeback in Super Bowl 51 to show us all exactly why never quitting on yourself is so important. This is why Tom Brady has the nickname “Comeback Kid” just like his boyhood idol Joe Montana. He never quits until the last seconds drain off the clock. This is also why he wins so often late in the game. Same is true in sales. Great salespeople are closers, they know how to close a deal. Sometimes sales success is just simply having the ability to come back late in the close to try one more time, never quitting on yourself or your customer.
Lesson #5 – Stay In The Game
If you’re going to have success in your sales career you need to be in the game and be able to stay in the game. For Brady this means keeping himself sharp, his skills honed, and his body healthy so he can perform on Sunday’s. In your sales career, this means the same. As a professional salesperson, you need to be growing throughout your career to stay in the game. Keeping your sales skills sharp through modern training, drilling, and rehearsal. You need to keep your mind sharp and keep yourself healthy physically so you have all your energy and enthusiasm. The sales profession is changing constantly as technology changes and information becomes more readily available to the masses. You need to be well versed in your products and services because your customers are. You need to become an authority that people go to for information when they are in the market for a product or service you sell. Your goal should be to become the greatest salesperson you can be. This will keep you in the game longer.
Wrapping it all up!
As you gain more and more experience in your sales career you will have to endure many tests, but you will also experience many successes. You must be all in so you can endure the tests that come your way. Think about creating a sales career not just having a job. You have to pay your dues and learn from your mistakes. You need to keep improving every day, week, month and year. Never settle, keep growing. Stay in the game for as long as you can. Tom Brady has been showing us for years now how these lessons have helped him in his career and have made him arguably the Greatest NFL Quarterback to ever play the game. He’s definitely still in the game and at this point who knows how many more seasons he will play, and how many Super Bowls he will win. I believe for a person like Tom Brady he will accomplish as much as he puts his mind to. I also believe the same is true for you.
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