A Focused Life Series 2021: 5 Lessons From the GOAT, Tom Brady

We are now in our fifth and final week of our Focused Life Series 2021. I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have. Before we dive into this week’s subject – The G.O.A.T., Tom Brady – let’s looks back and see what lessons we have learned that will carry us through our greatest year yet. 

Week 1, we discussed 5 Reasons Focus Matters for Your Life & Leadership. Those reasons are the following: 

  • A focused mind brings clarity of direction
  • A focused mind brings clarity of action
  • A focused mind brings clarity of what matters most to you
  • A focused mind brings clarity of thought 
  • A focused mind brings clarity through transition and change 

Week 2, we discussed how to determine where to focus your life. We asked the question, “How do you make the determination on where to focus your life?” The answers we came up with were the following: 

  • The importance of knowing your Purpose, your Vision and your Mission.

Your purpose is what you were created to do. Your vision is a clear picture of the destination of where you are headed. Your mission is how you intend to reach your destination. 

We came to understand that your daily focus should primarily be on your mission. A mission to help create a better world in only the way you can. 

Week 3, we looked at the idea of saying “No.” Focus is about saying, “No” to everything that will keep us from focusing our minds and actions towards our mission. The more disciplined, successful and consistent we become, greater opportunities will come our way. In the beginning stages of our careers, we say “yes” to everything. As we grow in our careers and leadership levels, we begin saying “no” more than we say “yes” until we find ourselves saying “no” to almost everything. 

We also stated, “Most of what is keeping you off focus and away from accomplishing your goals is directly tied to the anxiety you feel when pursuing your goals.” Focus requires discipline. Focus requires determination. Focus requires consistency. Focus requires courage… the courage to say “No” when everything inside of you wants to say, “Yes.” 

Week 4, we discussed Kobe Bryant and the Mamba Mentality. We learned the Mamba Mentality is about obsession… total obsession. The Mamba Mentality is about prioritizing your professional goals over having a normal, balanced life. It is about playing without fear, mastering your craft and wanting not only to win, but to dominate. This is the Mamba Mentality. 

This week, our final week, we are looking at the habits of arguably the greatest NFL player of all time, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Tom Brady, otherwise known as the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time). Let’s revisit the accomplishments of Tom Brady: 

  • As of this coming Sunday, an unprecedented 10 Super Bowl appearances 
  • 6× Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, LIII)
  • 4× Super Bowl MVP (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX, LI)
  • 3× NFL Most Valuable Player (2007, 2010, 2017)
  • 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2007, 2010)
  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2009)
  • 3× First-team All-Pro (2007, 2010, 2017)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (2005, 2016)
  • 14× Pro Bowl (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009–2018)
  • 4× NFL passing touchdowns leader (2002, 2007, 2010, 2015)
  • 3× NFL passing yards leader (2005, 2007, 2017)
  • 2× NFL passer rating leader (2007, 2010)
  • NFL completion percentage leader (2007)
  • NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
  • Unanimous NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
  • Sporting News 2010s All-Decade Team
  • Unanimous NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Sporting News NFL Athlete of the Decade (2010s)
  • Bert Bell Award (2007)
  • Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year (2007)
  • Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (2005)
  • National champion (1997)
  • Rose Bowl Champion (1998)
  • Citrus Bowl Champion (1999)
  • Orange Bowl Champion (2000)

Much has been written and recorded about Tom Brady’s legendary career, humility and work ethic. To go deeper on this, I highly recommend you to watch the incredible documentary Tom versus Time, episodes 123456 and 7

Episode 1 begins with a Tom Brady monologue… He begins by asking the question: “What are you willing to do and what are you willing to give up to be the best you can be? You only have so much energy. The clock is ticking on all of us. When you say “Yes” to something it means you’ve got to say “No” to something else. In the end, my life has been focused around football. It always has been and always will be as long as I am playing. I’ve given my body, my everything, every bit of energy for 18 years to it. So, if you are going to compete against me, you better be willing to give up your life because I am giving up mine.”

This statement is the epitome of focus and the core of Tom Brady’s incredible success. 

We know the outcome of Tom’s focus. We see the outcome of Tom’s discipline. The question is, “What is the process?” What keep’s Tom Brady performing at the highest level over and over and over again? 

In February 2017, after Tom and his team’s incredible comeback against the Atlanta Falcons to win their 5th Super Bowl championship, Maria Shriver asked Tom Brady a series of questions for her newsletter, entitled The Sunday Paper. First, she asked the question, “Getting to the Super Bowl is as much a mental feat as it is a physical one. What is your secret for staying mentally fit?” To which Tom responded, “I feel the mind and body must work together. I believe just as strongly in the importance of mental fitness as I do about physical fitness. For me, mental fitness comes from a combination of activities and choices. I perform cognitive exercises that help me stay sharp and make better split-second decisions on the field. And I prioritize getting enough rest to allow my body to recover. And I strive to keep a positive mental attitude at all times.” 

Second, Maria asked, “There is so much noise going into a football season. Double that for a Super Bowl. How do you maintain a focused mind when the world is trying to distract you?” To which Tom responded: “It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a big game or event — after these many years I’ve learned to ignore the noise! For me, having a regular routine is very helpful. That means establishing a consistent bedtime and getting an adequate amount of good-quality sleep every night, and carving out time for the cognitive exercises that help me focus my mind on the most critical information and disregard the rest.” 

Third, Maria asked, “How important is the food you eat, the people around you and the environment that you exist in?” To which Tom responded: “I believe that what we get out of our bodies is a direct result of what we put in. I (mostly) follow a plant-based diet of whole foods that helps my body stay in balance and limits additional inflammation. I try to surround myself with positive people, and I work to minimize distractions whenever possible. My lifestyle has helped me stay physically and mentally fit.” 

There you have it; the mindset of a champion. 

We know about the giftedness of Tom Brady. 

We know about the drive of Tom Brady. 

We know about the incredible work ethic of Tom Brady. 

We know about the success of Tom Brady. 

We know about the focus of Tom Brady. 

What we may not know is how. How does Tom Brady consistently perform at the highest level?  Five things: 

  • Absolute love for the game. 
  • Absolute focus on the game, meaning saying “no” to almost everything else. 
  • Absolute focus on mental and physical fitness. 
  • Absolute focus on a consistent routine, including a regular bedtime and cognitive exercises. 
  • Absolute focus on healthy inputs, including the diet he eats and people he surrounds himself with. 

There you have it. 

YOU MUST LOVE WHAT YOU DO. 

Too often, people are driven by the attainment of money, power or status… or all three. They seek to manufacture their passion in the hopes of receiving a large payout. True success is found by first knowing your purpose, accepting your purpose and loving your purpose. I know that sounds really fluffy, but the reality is this: You will never be truly successful doing something you do not love. I have shared before that I have had the privilege of meeting some highly successful people in my life. Every single one had one thing in common: Absolute love for their craft. They were inner driven to do more of what they loved. This is essential to a life of focus. 

Do you truly love what you do? 

YOU MUST PUT YOUR ABSOLUTE FOCUS ON WHAT YOU DO. 

Once you know your passion and purpose, the next step is removing every single distraction. All of them. 

Social media. Television. Processed carbs and sugars. Negative people. Poor spending habits. Gossip. Good opportunities. Great opportunities. Too many conferences. Too much time spent with friends. Too many vacations. Too many hours doing meaningless work. 

Pursuing greatness in your field requires saying “No” to everything not helping you perform at your highest level. 

What do you need to start saying “No” to today?

YOU MUST PRIORITIZE MENTAL AND PHYSICAL FITNESS 

You may not be a Super Bowl-level athlete, but you must put focus on your mind and body. If you are more of an athletically-driven person, I would say body and mind. 

Get your rest. 

Eat well. 

Keep your area of responsibility clean and organized. 

Perform cognitive exercises. 

Meditate. 

Exercise daily. (Daily. No days off.) 

Hydrate. 

Be careful what you are listening to. 

Be careful who you allow to influence your thought process. 

YOU MUST ESTABLISH A CONSISTENT ROUTINE CENTERED ON HIGH PERFORMANCE

Establish of list a routines based around your must-do’s. 

Perform a Pareto Principle exercise by listing out the ten most important actions that will help you reach success in your chosen field. What are the top two actions? Make sure you are giving 80 percent of your time to these top two actions and doing these same two actions every single day. 

In one of the episodes of Tom versus Time, we get to witness Tom and his wife, Giselle, on vacation in Costa Rica. Even there, his routines remain the same and he gives a certain amount of time every day to work on his craft. 

This is where success truly happens – in the daily routines. 

We see the final result of Tom Brady in the major wins and successes. Yet, it is the daily, consistent behaviors – exercising, practicing, hydrating, meditating, sleeping well, eating well – that bring the major successes. 

What is your consistent routine that is bringing you consistent success in your chosen craft? Or, what routine do you need to establish that will bring you consistent success in your chosen craft? 

YOU MUST BE INSANE ABOUT DEMANDING ONLY HEALTHY INPUTS 

Only healthy inputs. 

Only healthy inputs. 

Only healthy inputs.

At the very least, only allow inputs that will help you reach the level you desire to reach. 

Healthy foods. Positive people.

You may have to give up some of the foods – and people – you like, but it may be necessary to help you reach your full and highest potential, to dominate your craft. 

What are the healthy habits you have established in your life to help you reach your full and highest potential? 

To recap… 

Love what you do.

Give absolute focus to your chosen craft. 

Prioritize mental and physical health. 

Live by an established routine. 

Only allow healthy inputs. 

This is your practical guide to living a life of absolute focus. 

I hope this series has challenged you in the best way. I know it has challenged me. 

This year, 2021, has the potential to be your greatest year yet if you are able to forego the distractions and be laser-focused on your purpose, your vision and, most importantly, your mission. 

I wish you all good things and look forward to December when we get to look back and realize we have accomplished all of our dreams and goals for 2021. 

Keep your eye on the prize and stay focused. 

Rise higher,

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