Poor build. Skinny. Lacks great arm strength. Lacks mobility. System player. Can’t drive the ball downfield. Gets knocked down easily…
This was Tom Brady’s report card before the 2000 NFL draft.
As they say, “The rest is history.” But what’s most incredible to me, is that it’s not just history. He’s still doing it. At the highest level.
I saw another interesting stat from the Super Bowl last week. It summed up the high school rankings of all the players from the Chiefs and the Buccaneers:
- # of 5-star recruits: 1
- # of 4-star recruits: 20
- # of 3-star recruits: 22
- # of unranked recruits: 41
There’s a lot that could be said about all of this.
- On Brady: his legendary discipline is unmatched and is essential to his success and longevity.
- On the players in the Super Bowl: “It’s not where you start, but where you __________.” See, you could finish that line for me!
The goal is never to be the best 16 or 17-year-old prospect. You don’t want the “potential” tag to stick with you long!
The goal isn’t to be a one-hit-wonder.
The goal isn’t to have record-breaking sales in the fourth quarter.
I don’t believe the very best care about finishing on top either. If Brady did, he would’ve retired years ago.
The ultimate goal is to stay in the game, to keep playing.
I love how Simon Sinek communicates it in his book The Infinite Game, “The goal isn’t to just to win — you can’t win at life — you can’t be the winner of business — you can’t win parenting or marriage — the goal is to keep playing.”
We all want to win the game and hoist the trophy at the end of the season. We all want our kids to have straight A’s on their report cards. We all want our businesses to have a profitable year.
None of these are bad goals, but they’re not what’s most important. I often find myself playing these zero-sum or finite games — but the real game never stops. There’s another season, another challenge, another disruption that demands we continue playing, else we get left behind.
There are many paths to short term success. We can mask flaws, fudge numbers, go into debt and appear to have made it — but if there’s no bona fide growth, then it’s just a facade. And it will crumble.
Every dog can have its day. Any player can get hot for one night. Any company can strike luck for a period of time — but if they’re stuck on immediate gratification, they won’t last long.
Enough with the short term focus — think longer. Enough with the small vision — think bigger. Enough with the scarcity mindset — think abundantly.
Don’t just run to the end zone; run through it. The game never stops. Keep playing…