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  • Writer's pictureLorri Palko

You Are Just One Play Away

“Listen here, I don’t give a (bleep) if you were a first-round pick. I was 199. But listen, if you get a chance to be on the field, don't mess it up. Because you may never get a second one.” ~ Tom Brady

I’m not sure I agree with Tom Brady that we might not get a second chance. I think we frequently do. However, I strongly agree with the first part of the quote. We need to be ready when opportunity presents itself with whatever field we are playing in - business or personal. We need to be ready to seize the opportunity.

The Brady Factor

There was a time when it didn’t appear that Tom Brady would be a factor. He wasn’t picked until the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. Normally, sixth round draft picks make the team in year one, but only a small percentage are still in the NFL after five years.

It is rather remarkable that after twenty years, Brady is still playing in the NFL, let alone having won six Super Bowls in his storied career. Brady was given his opportunity when first round draft pick Drew Bledsoe, the quarterback who was leading the Patriots, was injured in 2001. Bledsoe never played for the Patriots again and Brady went on to star there for nineteen years. Pure luck? Hardly.

Readiness is Everything

Brady was ready when Bledsoe’s injury occurred. He knew the playbook, he led the offense, he utilized all the skills and resources he had, and he responded to his chance fearlessly. He was prepared - mentally, physically, and emotionally to step into what others thought was a short-lived opportunity.

Prepare for Inevitable Opportunity

John Wooden said, “When opportunity comes it is too late to prepare.” We may not know when our opportunity is going to come but we can have an expectation that it will come, and we can be prepared.

What are you doing to prepare, much less seize on the opportunities that are presented to you? What can you be doing right now to be ready?

Know Your Playbook

This past year was challenging on so many levels that you may say that your previous playbook and plans aren’t relevant anymore. External circumstances and conditions may have altered the direction of your business or life.

Now is a perfect time to create or revise your playbook with targeted actions and objectives, while building in flexibility to respond to changing conditions. Create a new playbook that capitalizes on the resources that are at your disposal. You don’t have to know what’s coming as much as you need to build a wide array of possible plays.

We are always creating with our thoughts and actions. Let’s make sure we are intentionally creating what we want. We want to create by design, not by default. Be ready for running different and imaginative plays in 2021.

Lead with Confidence

It is unlikely that Tom Brady stepped onto the field that first time without fears. He nonetheless stepped onto that field and led. I have said this many times to clients this past year - I can only imagine what you are feeling and dealing with. Your fears need to be felt and honored. However, if you want to truly seize the opportunity in front of you, you need to step through your fears and move forward.

What does leading with confidence mean? It means knowing what you can control and what you cannot. The clear differentiation allows you to focus your energy where it can actually do the most good. Hopefully, 2020 helped to teach us that lesson.

Leading with confidence means taking the next right action even when you don't know the ultimate outcome. You might not be able to see all the way down the field, but you can envision the next play.

It means knowing that if you make mistakes and stumble you continue to move forward. You move forward in spite of the mistakes, in spite of the lack of control, and in spite of not knowing the outcome.

Leading with confidence means you are in the game, calling the plays, and executing to the best of your ability every single possession.

Utilize all Your Resources

Tom Brady did not step onto that field and play without the other ten players on offense, coaches, cheering fans, or all his other teammates. You cannot do it alone.

Another potential lesson from 2020 may be the realization that we need others. As uncertainty is amplified and stress levels rise, we often go back to the idea that I, and I alone, have to do something. Brady could not lead with confidence and run the plays without the other players, and neither can you.

There are resources available to you that need to be part of your team moving forward. You may have employees who are gifted and talented and are eager to engage at greater levels. There are outside resources and people trained in areas where you may need expertise, who could help you level up your business in ways you had not even considered. There are endless inexpensive resources available to you to increase efficiency and productivity. There are financial resources available to aid you in aligning with your playbook.

Tom Brady had teammates and so do you. Seek out the teammates that you want to move forward with. Have your resources ready to enter the game.

Remember, you are always only one play away.

Let Lorri work with you to understand the how to lead your organization effectively, for your own success and the success of your teams. Find out how.

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