I imagine I am not the only person who currently has an infatuation with the living- legend Tom Brady. I am not a die-hard Patriots fan or even a huge football fan for that matter. I played the sport when I was young and really enjoy playing the game. I do not spend Sundays watching football until the playoffs and I do not have a team that I root for. What I am obsessed with is excellence.
A quick google search of the word excellence brought up the following definition: Excellence is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.
I think that is a very surface definition. Instead, I believe the way Aristotle defined excellence is more accurate.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”
I am intrigued and drawn to Tom Brady not because of what he has accomplished in the NFL, but rather the person that he is and the discipline he exhibits. He is the embodiment of sustained excellence.
A mentor once told me that the greatest thing you can get from a mentor/coach/teacher is exposure to the way they think because the way they think allows them to do what they do. With that in mind, I recently listened to an interview Tom Brady did five days after winning his fifth Super Bowl ring. I found a few things very interesting.
Here is the link if you want to listen yourself:
1. At the opening of the interview Peter King asks Brady if he has processed having just played the best game of football in his life. Brady’s answer provided an insight into the way he thinks. Brady disagreed with Peter that his performance in the game was the best game of football he has ever played. Tom pointed out that the first two and a half quarters were not good at all and that he would not call playing 28 minutes of great football being the best game he ever played.
I find this amazing for a couple of reasons. The first is that Tom holds himself to a standard that others do not. He has the ability to accurately access his performance without letting his ego drive his assessment. Instead, it is based on the facts and measured against what he believes he is capable of accomplishing. Imagine holding yourself accountable and accessing yourself accurately based on your potential versus what others think of your performance.
2. At one point in the interview, Brady says that every play is designed to score a touchdown. He went on to say the plays that do not produce the desired result (a touchdown) are the result of something going wrong (i.e. someone missing a block or dropping a pass, etc.).
To continue with the football analogy, how many people go through life really attempting to score? I find the opposite to be true. Instead of each play being designed to score a touchdown, each play for most people is designed to only get a few yards. Imagine approaching each and every call you make with the intention to set an appointment. Imagine each and every prequalification you do with the intention to be flawless. And each and every appointment you go on is not to prove yourself worthy, but to get a contract signed.
3. During the interview, Brady says one of the things he enjoys the most about his coach Bill Belichek is that you know what you get up-front. Tom says that his coach is not interested in public relations or ticket sales. He is interested in one thing and one thing only— winning. Brady says his coach’s mantra is “I am going to put you in a position to win, at which point it will be up to you as a player to execute.” There is a clear delineation of responsibility and massive accountability around producing results. If a player is not producing results and lowering morale, then no matter who they are, they will not be on the team long.
As a player on the field (I run my own real estate business) and a coach, I fully understand this game. From the coaching prospective, the best I can do is put my clients in a position to win. At which point it becomes up to them to execute. If you find yourself looking to others (coach or mentor) to help you execute, that is not a realistic expectation. That is not their responsibility.
4. Brady knows this all too well as his team has drafted two quarterbacks in the last five years. Brady knows that his coach’s top priority is putting his team in a position to win. Even the living legend Tom Brady is not immune from his responsibility to execute. If that slips, then he too will be subject to the axe.
Imagine for a moment an environment in which you would be benched if you did not execute or perform. You would have to sit out and not be able to play this game we call real estate sales. Not only that, but also in this environment there would be a number of talented, aggressive and ambitious sales people ready to take your spot. If you were in that environment, do you think you would perform differently? I imagine so.
Is your thinking at the level of a champion?