5 key lessons startup founders can learn from Tom Brady’s NFL Career

Super Bowl Monday has become a bit of a tradition for us at the Gold Coast Innovation Hub. Sport is a great platform to stimulate discussion, competition and celebration and with so many of our global startups managing US work teams the Super Bowl is quite the global unifier.  There are also many parallels that can be drawn between business and sport. For a startup founder driving toward a goal, spotting opportunities, overcoming setbacks, navigating the competition and building a vision lead team, there is much wisdom that can be drawn this year by observing Tom Brady.

We asked the Chairman of 42 Ventures, Danny Maher, to share what he thought were the 5 biggest lessons that founders could learn from Tom Brady’s NFL Career.

Focus on YOUR game

Tom Brady is 43 years old. He’s already won 6 Superbowls.

It’s obvious now that he has done it all and that he doesn’t have to worry about anything but his own game. But he’s always been like that.

Competitive information and commercial intelligence is not as valuable as you think.

Spend your time honing your own message and playing your own game – if you spend your time focussed on your opposition you will lose because they are spending their time on their own game.

Deal with the Setbacks

Brady was pick 199 in the 6th round of the draft and became a 4th sting quarterback. He reportedly went out the back of his house and cried and he was very lucky to be picked up as player at all.

I hate the expression that failure is acceptable as part of business. It actually isn’t. It’s not the goal even though we all know it does happen.

No one takes the field in NFL to accept a loss and no one starts a business to accept it to fail.

Failure is not acceptable; it sucks, but we do have to deal with it.

We all lose sometimes.

You may not be like Tom Brady and get going again – but the only true failure if you want to be someone who has a go at life is the failure to not have a go.  Be comfortable and happy that life is short, and failure is sitting on the lounge, it’s not losing on the field or in business.

The only real failure is the failure to have a go.

 Recognise your moment

Moments come and go. Mostly we look back on life and realise that we missed something really important. And it sucks. We continually fail as humans to recognise the importance of things that are right in front of our eyes and then we recognise later when it is too late.

If you have a chance at love or you have a chance at business – take it. You may not get another.

Value experience

Sounds simple. But we don’t do it.

When you read this sentence, you assumed it was about someone who built a business or a life like yours – and it may be.  Have you considered that every person has different experiences? Value them all. A homeless person, an elderly person will have something to give you because they have experience you don’t have and can’t buy. Listen to everything everyone tells you. One of my favourite quotes is from Buddha “don’t believe anything anyone says, even me, unless it makes sense to your own reason”… You are yourself and your colours will be brightened by all sorts of people and circumstances – listen to everyone but take action on what makes sense to you, it really doesn’t matter if that advice came from a billionaire or a homeless person, if it makes sense to you then go for it.

Trust in your key people

Brady brought with him his key people.

Time and time again we see teams win and individuals fail. This is the same in business.

Team Team Team right?  Then why is Brady again in a different team?

Great leaders have great people.

Great leaders have loyal people. Their people don’t have to be the best. They just have to believe in the common goal and commit to it. They have to (attempt to) run through a brick wall to achieve it because they know their leader would do the same. Ideally they should have confidence that being on your team is a great decision for them.

You need talented people.

You need smart people.

But most of all, you need your people.

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