The New England Patriots have been in the AFC championship game twelve times since 2001.
The next closest team is Pittsburgh at six; half their appearances.
I’ve been a spoiled fan.
During their reign, we’ve seen a few teams have brief windows of success only to falter back to irrelevance. How have the Patriots been able to sustain their success for so long? Can we apply any of these lessons to our own lives to ensure sustained financial success?
They put in the work
One of my favorite stories about Tom Brady comes from Rodney Harrison.
“This was when I first got to New England, we had become friends and we were in the weight room. I show up around 6:30 in the morning and he says to me, ‘Good afternoon!’ So the next day, I get the hint, and come in 15 minutes earlier. Same thing: He says, ‘Good afternoon!’ Then the next day it’s 5:45 in the morning, and he makes sure to say it twice: ‘Good afternoon! Good afternoon!’ So I make it at 5:30 the next day and before he could say anything to me, I looked at him and said, ‘Man, I don’t give a damn what you say, Tom, I’m not coming in earlier than 5:30!’ We both laughed at that.”
There is no substitute for putting in the work. The same rule applies with financial success. The most financially confident people I know have all taken time to identify their goals and priorities and build a plan to achieve those objectives.
Fortunately for us, it doesn’t require getting to the gym at 5:30 every morning to develop your plan. Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to accomplish this in as little as six hours. Some of us will spend more time binge watching Netflix in a weekend.
Carve out some time and get started.
They have a system
Early in my fanhood, I can attest to the number of times I said or thought, I can’t believe they did that. But, before the 76ers made it a saying, Patriots fans have long known to “trust the process”. Belichick has moved a number of stars along in order to keep the team competing. The list is astounding. He has a system and by committing to it, ensures the Patriots are continuously competing at the highest level.
You again have a luxury the Patriots do not. While Belichick has to regularly wheel and deal as a master sage, once your financial system is established, the processes compound on themselves. You almost cannot help but find success.
- Automate your finances
- Invest early and often
- Increase your savings with raises
In fact, after your processes are built the most important thing is to avoid self-inflicted wounds. Avoiding the temptations to step outside your plan and go rogue is critical.
They believe in their worth
Yes, drafting a quarterback in the sixth-round that goes on to become the GOAT (greatest of all time) certainly helps a team’s sustained success.
What we can implement from Brady’s greatness is the value in self-worth. Long before people were wearing goat costumes to Gillette Stadium, Brady believed in himself.
My all-time favorite Tom Brady story comes from Patriots owner, Robert Kraft:
“I still have the image of Tom Brady coming down the old Foxboro stadium steps with that pizza box under his arm, a skinny beanpole, and when he introduced himself to me and said ‘Hi Mr. Kraft,’ he was about to say who he was, but I said ‘I know who you are, you’re Tom Brady. You’re our sixth round draft choice,’” recalled Kraft. “And he looked me in the eye and said ‘I’m the best decision this organization has ever made.’ It looks like he could be right.”
Nobody expected anything out of Brady. Except himself. And that was enough.
Why do so many of us put such low limitations on ourselves?
We build self confidence by keeping promises to ourselves.
Completing step one – putting in the work – naturally begins to build belief. It is a self fulfilling prophecy.
Financially, I can attest to this with certainty as I see the confidence that develops from a Driven member building their financial plan. After completing even the smallest first step of gathering their account information (balances, interest rates, username and passwords) the self confidence already begins to radiate.
Do the Patriots win every year? Of course not. Like you will, they’ve had plenty of years coming up short of their own high expectations. But by putting in the work, building a system and having total belief in themselves, they have developed truly remarkable success.
Nothing is stopping you from doing the same.