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What Tom Brady can teach Startups about Failure


February 07, 2017

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2 min read


0 out of 93.

That was the winning record of all teams in NFL history, when facing the situation Tom Brady was in during the final minutes of the Super Bowl last Sunday.

He made it 1 out of 94. Here’s how.

#1: You win games by winning plays

Winning in startups, winning in life, it rarely happens in an instant. Years of struggle can go by, just to taste a brief moment of glory. Then you’re back in the daily grind. Instant gratification is rare in business. Overnight success is built over a lot of long nights.

…that’s why you play to the end – Tom Brady

You focus on every individual play as if it made all the difference. Danny Amendola could’ve eased up at any moment when two defenders tackled him at the goal line. The two point conversion was a long shot anyway. Statistically, their team had already lost. Yet he didn’t think about the next play, nor the game, or about statistics. This was the only play that mattered. He struggled in the moment, but he made it count.

#2: Others don’t need to believe in you

The odds are against you as a startup. It’s hard. Customers say no. That one VC laughed you out of the room. Your family thinks you should quit on your idea and get a real job. But those people aren’t you. They didn’t come up with this idea. They never believed in it. Do you?

Nobody would reasonably expect that in the situation pictured above, the guy in the silver helmet wins that play. He’s sandwiched between three defenders, he’s in mid-air, there’s a leg in his face, and the ball has already bounced off another player’s shoe. Those three defenders are certain he won’t catch it. Even after the play, everybody else thinks he didn’t catch it, so the referee watches the slow motion footage.

Julian Edelman believed he could make the catch, and he did.

#3: You can fail many times, you only need to win once

Half-way through the game, the Patriots were down three touchdowns to zero. The biggest comeback in Super Bowl history had been from 10 points behind. The Patriots were down 21. The opposing team was high-fiving and celebrating at the sideline.

Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback, wasn’t playing to his best ability. He missed some key throws that he would usually make. Balls were being dropped. They even missed an extra point attempt. Nothing was going according to plan. The game was a constant struggle. There were no easy moments. No gimmes. No gifts. No lucky bounces.

We never felt out of the game – Tom Brady

When you see Tom Brady in the picture above, you’re thinking he’s given up already. It isn’t working. Despite winning the Super Bowl several times before, this wasn’t going to be his night. Maybe it’s someone else’s time to win.

But Tom Brady still thinks he can win.

The Patriots played the entire game from a losing position. Until they won, in the first overtime in 50 years of Super Bowl history.


Source: LinkedIn


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