“To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.” – – Tony Dorsett
I was one of the people that was very happy to see that the Philadelphia Eagles bested the New England Patriots in this years’ Super Bowl. I have a lot of respect for the Patriots and the dynasty that they have built with Tom Brady at the helm. Their excellence forced other teams to step up their own games even further in order to win, and I believe the game is better because of it.
If you were to look inside the Patriots leadership team in an effort to understand how they have continued to achieve greatness, you might be surprised at what they use for motivation. After all when you have Tom Brady, one of the great quarterbacks in football history, how DO you stay motivated?
A little-known story to most people is that Tom Brady was not the #1 draft pick when he threw his name into the NFL draft. No, one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game did not go to ANY team in the 1st round or even the 2nd. Many teams passed over this seemingly unknown player not once or twice, but FIVE TIMES. That’s right, Tom Brady was selected in the 6th round of the NFL draft that year as a backup to the Patriot’s starting quarterback, Drew Bledsoe. He was draft choice #199 overall so there were 198 other players selected before him. Brady eventually went on to take the #1 spot on the Patriots’ team but the organization has never forgotten how lucky they were to be able to even sign Brady. Somehow in all of their evaluations, reviews, combines, and analysis, they missed the most winningest quarterback in the modern era.
So what, might you ask, do the Patriots’ do to motivate themselves to do better? They keep a picture of the 5th round draft pick on their desk. You may not remember him and obviously the record books do not, but Dave Stachelski was picked in the 5th round of the NFL draft, ahead of Tom Brady. He did not go on to be Super Bowl MVP or even to spark a scandal like “deflate gate” but his picture and name still adorn the Patriots front-offices as a reminder that they chose him over the venerable Tom Brady. Stachelski only played 9 games in his total NFL career yet he can still say he was chosen before Tom Brady.
Maybe it’s the dog that you were not able to save, the adopter that you could not reach or the donor you simply could not keep that serves as your motivation. Remind yourself in a way that speaks to you so that you never forget. Use these purported mis-steps or failures as a lesson and a motivator to recognize that you are only human, but then to refocus your energy on your passion for animals.