Do What Matters

Vernon Louis “Lefty” Gomez’s 1933 Goudey baseball card.

William “Bud” Hart, of Haverhill, shares “Success Principles”—ideas for living a greater, better and more accomplished life, and building habits that stick. He also coaches clients to incorporate strategies for boosting their mental and physical performance during everyday living.

William “Bud” Hart, of Haverhill, shares “Success Principles”—ideas for living a greater, better and more accomplished life, and building habits that stick. He also coaches clients to incorporate strategies for boosting their mental and physical performance during everyday living.

I was organizing notes when I came across a recent Super Bowl LI article on Tom Brady. It reminded me about his multi record setting performance leading the New England Patriots to their fifth Super Bowl win. With this win he is arguably the greatest quarterback ever in National Football League (NFL) history and may be forever. It also brought to mind a similar record setting athlete Lefty Gomez and his famous quote, “I’d rather be lucky than good.”

Vernon Louis “Lefty” Gomez was a left (obviously) handed pitcher with the New York Yankees in the 1930s. Like Brady in football, Gomez helped pitch the New York Yankees to five World Series championships and he holds the greatest World Series record in history, with six wins and no losses. In addition to the World Series he also won a record three All Star games while losing just one. He was named a major league all star seven consecutive times and twice he led the American League in wins, ERAs and strikeouts. Like Tom Brady, he was really good.

Gomez had another nickname, “Goofy.” Known for his practical jokes and humorous anecdotes I suppose his quip about being lucky rather than good came from this side of him. It is often said that lucky things happen to lucky people. It is also said that you are either born lucky or you are not; you either have luck or you don’t and there is nothing you can do about it. As I see it the idea that luck exists at all is whacky. If you are good you will likely encounter what can be seen as luck. But to too many people success and greatness is only about luck. And waiting on good fortune offers an excuse to avoid doing what matters most every day to be great at what they do.

The article I happened upon about Tom Brady noted an interview his father gave to the CSN “Quick Slants” podcast. “Tommy is a football player. This is not a July-January or February endeavor for him. He has a countdown clock in his gym that is now ticking to next year’s Super Bowl.” That’s what Brady’s father told about a countdown clock his son started roughly a year before Super Bowl LI. It speaks to the focus, drive and preparation that resulted in Brady’s leading the Patriots to the greatest comeback win in Super Bowl history.

We all know that our success hinges on preparation and doing what matters. If you are in sales and spend your time scrutinizing your last call, thinking about your next call and calculating your monthly commissions instead of making your next call, you’re not doing what matters.  If you are a musician, a singer, a major league baseball pitcher or an NFL quarterback and you spend your time basking in the accolades and glory of your last performance instead of practicing and training for your next concert, show and game you’re not doing what matters.

Truly great performers and performances are a result of doing what matters most every day, preparing and readying for opportunities when they arrive. This is true no matter what you do and how it is going; whether it is going really well or you seem to be messing up everything completely; whether people believe in you or not.

On being opportunistic Tom Brady said, “A lot of people don’t believe in you. It’s obvious by now, six other quarterbacks taken and 198 other picks. And I always thought ‘you know what, once I get my shot, I’m gonna be ready. I’m gonna really take advantage of that.”

It is a simple principle. We have to do something to win (be lucky). The more we do that moves us forward every day the more successful (the luckier) we will be. Tom Brady is proof of this.

William “Bud” Hart is a certified “Mindset” Coach, Accountability Partner and Business Consultant. Visit Hart Group, www.hartgroupma.com for more on coaching.

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