Humility might be a bit strong. No one rises to the top of their profession without a healthy dose of chutzpah, self-confidence and above all a relentless desire to win. That said, one who accepts help, guidance and coaching has some degree of humility, or at least a very solid handle on their ego. It takes just as much strength to lead as it does to follow, to teach as it does to be taught.
Tom Brady is without question the best at his trade currently, if not ever in the history of football. But after over 20 years, realistically 30 years, of throwing a football at the very highest level, he still has and uses a throwing coach. He pays someone to work with him on the most basic, foundational element of his profession. Conservatively he has thrown a football over a million times, yet he still has a coach who’s sole focus is to work with him on his throwing motion.
During his playoff bye week, Tom Brady worked with his throwing coach Tom House, and the results of the last two weeks speak for themselves. Yet again the Patriots will be in the Super Bowl and Tom Brady, at the age of 41, is throwing the football as well as ever.
“I have done it quite a few times,” he said. “I don’t know if it is every year, but it is something I always think about. I am always trying to be really sharp with my technique and fundamentals. Again, I just love spending the time doing it.”
Professionals ask for, and often pay for, help. They do not wait for their companies to tell them to seek help or coaching, they do not expect others to pay for it, arrange for it, or otherwise direct it. Professionals realize and embrace the timeless fact that fundamentals matter, that the core behaviors, the little things, the basics, the boring details, are the true keys to long term success. While the cumulative sum of everything is what truly ensures success, none of it is possible without the foundational basics, and sometime we all could use some refresher training, and enforced accountability.
It takes enormous resilience, drive, dedication and raw effort to be the best. It also takes a degree of humility and self-awareness to ask for, sometimes pay for, but certainly accept help and coaching. If the GOAT can do it and benefit from it, we all can.