It just so happens that we finish our series, 3 Steps to Keeping Your Resolutions in 2012, by taking a look at a player who will be the focus of the entire planet on February 5.
Most of us think of Tom Brady as The Golden Boy.
The Patriots leader will go into the history books as one of the top five quarterbacks of all time. A win in Super Bowl XLVI could place him even higher than his childhood hero, Joe Montana, as arguably the best quarterback ever.
There isn’t enough room in this post for Brady’s achievements so just head over to his wikipedia page to get your mind blown.
You would think that Brady was a naturally gifted athlete, blessed by the football gods with spectacular ability, and destined from birth for sports immortality.
But you would be wrong.
Brady has persevered through more obscurity, scorn, and rejection than any other Hall of Famer.
The beanpole quarterback from San Mateo California began his illustrious career as a backup on a high school team that hadn’t won a single game all season. As Tom Brady Sr. puts it:
“The team didn’t score a touchdown and Tom still wasn’t considered good enough to play one offensive play.”
After a lackluster high school career, he somehow managed to secure a spot on the roster at the University of Michigan. Although seven other quarterbacks were ahead of him, Brady’s attitude was always positive. Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr describes Tom’s memorable determination as a sophomore fighting for a starting spot.
“Tom sat down right in front of me and said, ‘Coach, I’m not going to leave. I’m going to prove to you that I’m the best quarterback.’”
By his senior year, Brady had worked hard and proven that he could lead the team, carrying the Wolverines all the way to an Orange Bowl victory. He earned the nickname the Comeback Kid for winning come from behind games in dramatic fashion. Games that would never have been in question, if only the coaching staff had let Brady continue to play rather than sharing his time with the much heralded, Michigan native – blue chip recruit, Drew Henson. Remember him? We didn’t think so.
Yet, despite Brady’s patient leadership and obvious success, the only thing NFL scouts saw was “a skinny kid with poor build who can’t drive the ball downfield, and gets knocked down easily.”
The waiting continued.
That’s where Tom Brady was selected in the 2000 NFL draft.
Round number 6, pick number 199.
How’s that for a confidence booster? As Brady watched six quarterbacks get picked ahead on him, he tearfully recalls wondering if anyone else believed in him as much as he believed in himself.
Reluctantly, New England head coach Bill Belichick decided to take a chance. The young Brady was no longer competing against a home town hero for a playing spot. Now he had to prove himself against an NFL All Pro quarterback in Drew Bledsoe. From an outsider’s perspective, the chances of Brady ever cracking the roster looked slim to none.
For Brady, it was pure motivation. Be patient. Work hard. The time will come.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft recalls vividly his first meeting with Brady. As Tom introduced himself, Kraft remarked that he knew who he was, he was their sixth round draft choice. To which Brady replied, “That’s right. And I’m the best decision, this organization has ever made.”
Brady’s confidence never wavered, even after his rookie season passed without him appearing in a single regular season game. He knew that if someone gave him a chance, he would come through. He just needed to keep waiting for that chance.
Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait long. When Drew Bledsoe got injured in the second game of the 2001 season, the unproven, gangly, sixth round pick was thrust into the starting spot.
His patience paid off. Five months later, Brady became the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl, capturing MVP honors in the process. And the rest is history.
With over 40 NFL records, you’d think Tom Brady doesn’t have anything left to prove.
You would be wrong again
“When I look at myself play I still don’t think I’m very good. I want to be the best quarterback for this team. I want to earn it, every single day. That’s what gets me up every morning.”
It’s pretty remarkable that someone who has reached the height of professional and personal glory (let’s not forget about his supermodel wife and brand new mansion) is still driven to succeed each and every day. Let’s unpack exactly how Brady fostered a lifestyle of perseverance in order to have incredible success.
1. Believe in Yourself
This is the most important and often the most difficult thing to do. After a certain age, we are actually conditioned to stop believing that we can achieve anything we put our minds to and instead settle on the path of least resistance. Don’t do it. Stay focused on your goals and believe in your ability to make it happen. Time and again, despite the circumstances, Brady believed in himself.
2. Find Another True Believer
In Brady’s case the other True Believer was his father, Tom Brady Sr. In an interview after his senior year at university, Brady quipped that his parents had also graduated that year, from the University of Northwest Airlines! Their support for Brady was consistent and strong, particularly during his trying times at Michigan, when he contemplated transferring as a junior. He would not be where he is today without their encouragement. There will be days when your belief in yourself will disappear. Make sure you have someone you can lean on to remind you that you are not struggling alone.
3. Be Ready.
This is where the first two steps come into play. Diligent preparation to figure out exactly how you’re going to reach your goals, along with regular practice to overcome the barriers, will ensure you’re ready when the opportunity presents itself. In high school, university and the NFL, Brady worked tirelessly to improve his strengths and neutralize his weaknesses, patiently waiting for his opportunity to arrive. It always did.
Preparation, Practice and Perseverance
The 3 keys to achieving your goals come down to those three “Ps”.
If you were looking for a magic formula there isn’t one. You don’t need any more time, money or natural ability than you’re currently working with. You just need to be consistent and the results will come.
Work It – Take Action
Read. Check out the article on how Tom Brady still relies on another True Believer—his middle school throwing coach
Write. Sit down and document exactly what it is you believe about yourself. Show it to your True Believer and ask them to add their own thoughts as well. Keep it right alongside the Mission Brief for your goals, as encouragement when times are tough.
Reflect. Research some of your heroes or talk to some people you look up to and find out what things they had to persevere through to make it to where they are today.