In the event you’ve been living under a rock, this Sunday marks the 52nd Super Bowl featuring none other than Tom Freaking Brady (Again!). Nolan Ryan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gordie Howe, Jerry Rice, Randy Johnson, and just a handful of others all played past 40 with notable degrees of success, but things like: their position, surrounding cast, what era they were playing the game in, and how many steps they had lost have always been debated. Tom Brady who recently turned 40 is somehow left out of such debates and many are arguing he’s at the top of his game. I mean, even the casual fan watching the Super Bowl for the commercials couldn’t help but notice his superman-like performance in last year’s Super Bowl on the game’s biggest stage.
This year, not only is he back in the Super Bowl again, he’ll be competing for his SIXTH Super Bowl ring! He, of course, currently has the most of any quarterback in Super Bowl history. So, what attributes to his freakish level of success and performance rarely seen in professional sports you ask? Well, he’s by no means the best athlete the game has seen. In fact, some argue that he’s not a superior athlete given his lack of mobility and speed. While he had a good college career, he was not the best quarterback the game had seen, nor did he take the college game by storm. In fact, in the 2000 draft, he wasn’t even drafted until the sixth round. So back to the question: What has attributed to Tom Brady’s second to none success and what some are calling his ability to defy age?
There are several contributing factors, and he has said one of the defining moments was when he was able to finally embrace the fact that he was getting older and would need to make necessary changes in order to combat the performance limitations that can occur when one gets older. This came in the form of adopting a new, strict way of eating and controlling what he puts in his body. He eats a mostly local, organic and plant-based diet with next to no processed foods. Even more notable than what Brady eats is what he doesn’t. He avoids alcohol, as well as gluten-containing bread and pasta, breakfast cereal, corn, dairy, foods that contain GMOs, foods with high-fructose corn syrup or trans fats, sugar, artificial sweeteners or soy, fruit juice, grain-based foods, jams and jellies, most cooking oils, frozen dinners, salty snacks, sugary snacks, sweetened drinks, white potatoes, and pre-packaged condiments like ketchup and soy sauce. According to Brady, the 'right foods' are 'alkalizing' and 'anti-inflammatory' ones. Alkaline foods lower his pH level, he claims, which can help with a range of ailments, from boosting low energy to preventing bone fractures and anti-inflammatory foods supposedly enhance athletic performance and help speed recovery. So, as you can see, this diet is NOT for the weak and requires a tremendous amount of commitment and discipline.
In addition to changing his diet, he’s also changed his sleep patterns to ensure that he gets 8 plus hours of sleep a day which requires forced naps to ensure his body gets the proper rest and recovery period. Brady is not the only one who has a strict sleep regimen as many other athletes have adopted this commitment to sleep and recovery in recent years to ensure optimal physical performance. He’s also changed the way in which he trains, opting out of traditional weight strengthening. Instead of using heavy weights, he uses elastic resistance bands and a whole host of vibrating apparatuses, such as foam rollers and massage balls to keep his muscles long and soft. Brady focuses less on strength and more on flexibility. A strategy that he and his trainer believe keeps the muscles strong, active, and flexible, which in turn prevents injury and increases his bodies longevity. There’s no doubt that Tom Brady has taken extreme measures to ensure he’s able to perform at a high-level, but in researching his processes and approaches to optimal performance and success, there were two key components that stood out. The first is, he’s constantly making changes and developing new strategies to offset the effect that age brings in terms of physical performance. Rather than sit back and let the game dictate what he’s able to do or not, he’s taken an offensive approach in his strategies. There have been several great quarterbacks that have played into their 30’s, but there are few that have been able to withstand the mental and physical punishment that game inflicts. In addition to changing his diet, sleep patterns and training, he’s also changed his approach to the game in an effort to limit his chance of injury, etc. He accomplishes this through his mental approach ensuring that he’s making smart decisions on the field and not putting himself in compromising positions. He’s also altered his physical approach, realizing and embracing his physical capabilities and non-capabilities allowing him to put himself in good situations on the field. This may sound easy and natural, but in reality, it’s one of the hardest things to do for individuals that have had a great deal of success. No one wants to admit that they’ve lost a step or can’t make a throw that used to come with ease. This isn’t specific to football either and is generally the case with anyone in regards to their job etc. It’s Brady’s ability to embrace this and use the knowledge to formulate strategies to combat the effects that truly separates him from the rest.
Another key element that can’t be ignored is Tom Brady is highly coachable and understands the importance of coaching and effective strategies. One generally can’t mention Brady without also mentioning his coach Bill Belichick as he’s been alongside Brady for his entire career and each Super Bowl run and they are often referenced as one of the greatest player/coach tandems. As a team, they’ve had tremendous success on and off of the field and Brady is the first to credit his coach and mentor when discussing his success. Although, it doesn’t stop with just his head coach. Brady has surrounded himself with an extensive team of people who are all highly skilled and knowledgeable in their fields as he intimately realizes the value of coaching and mentorship and understands its role in his success. Tom Brady is committed every day to taking his game to the next level and truly treats it like a business, willing to do whatever it takes to not only sustain the highest level of success but always striving for more in the pursuit to play into his forties. As if taking his team to back to back Super Bowls at his age wasn’t enough, if he’s able to win on Sunday, it will truly be a remarkable and recording-breaking accomplishment and a true testament to all of his hard work and dedication. I realize many don’t like Tom Brady and of course there have been the “cheating” accusations, but it’s near impossible to deny the fact that this man along with his coach are masters of formulating and executing highly successful strategies on and off the field.
So, once you’re done watching the Super Bowl, what are you going to do come Monday? Are you going to continue running your business without a coach or mentor settling for average success? Are you going to remain static at your current job and continue along in your predictable and monotonous existence? Or, will you pivot and realize that Tom Brady’s formula and approach is one that is geared for success in business as well? Will you realize that your business or career and its future success deserves the attention to detail and commitment that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick place on their business…the Patriots. Again, this is not for the weak, as many aren’t capable of what the Brady and Belichick team have been able to accomplish, as simply put, it’s hard work! Are you going to sit back and “watch” a changing market, or will you go on the offensive like Brady and start implementing strategies to ensure that your business and career continue to evolve and succeed with whatever changes the market brings, or will you sit back and simply 'react' once it’s too late?
The reality is, if you choose to react, your possibility of success is extremely low. This is no different than a highly successful quarterback playing into his 30’s and not making any changes or developing new strategies and thinking that his success will continue. It simply won’t, and this is why you see so many exit the game early. Sitting back and believing that you can react to an ever evolving and changing market and still succeed at a high level is frankly a poor strategy. The Tom Brady’s of the business world that have been highly successful and have done so through hard work, a dedication and commitment level second to none and by surrounding themselves with mentors and amazing team to aid their success. Mentorship, Coaching and the execution of proven and successful strategies is the winning formula to ensure success. Just ask Tom Brady and Bill Belichick!
So, what’s your answer?
Are you going to wait on change?
Or are you going to DECIDE NOW YOU are worth getting to the next level?
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