Tom Brady is the greatest of all time — but you could be too.

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

Let’s talk a little bit today about greatness.

Greatness: The quality of being great, distinguished, or eminent.

It’s difficult to understand what is great, until you see it. Last night, watching Tom Brady play in his 10th (!) Super Bowl, I saw it.

He is unquestionably the greatest quarterback of all time, but if you ask me, it’s not because of his seven Super Bowl rings, his long list of statistical records, or his timeless smile — Tom Brady is great because he inspires greatness.

That’s the overarching point here — greatness is not what you accomplish, it’s what you inspire others to accomplish. It’s the ability to make those around you better simply by existing next to them.

Think about it like this — when Brady made the decision to leave the New England Patriots (a team he led to six Super Bowl Championships) the immediate assumption by those in the sports world was the team would be worse in their first season without him than they were in their final year with him.

And when we found out Brady had chosen to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (a team that has one Super Bowl appearance/win in franchise history that had not seen postseason football in more than a decade) we all assumed they would be better in their first year with him than they were in every year they’ve existed without him.

He brought a level of confidence not seen in south Florida since Lebron James made the decision to join the Miami Heat.

Who says perfect transitions don’t exist?

Lebron James is the only other true example of greatness I’ve witness in my lifetime. There is no other player in the NBA that brings to a team what James brings.

He left Cleveland and went to Miami and led that team to a championship. Then he went back to Cleveland and won a championship there. Then he went to Los Angeles and won a championship there. Other great players have changed the name on the front of their jersey in search of success, but many if not a vast majority of them have failed to create such undoubted greatness based solely on the name that’s on the back of their jersey.

Brady and James are household names not just because of their history of winning, but because of their ability to inspire and lead.

Think about all of the people you’ve heard or seen say they don’t know who’s playing in the Super Bowl this year, but they know Tom Brady is there.

Ask someone who doesn’t know anything about basketball to name a player in the NBA — “uhhh, Lebron James.”

It’s that easy.

So what can we learn from them?

We can learn that winners don’t just win — They lead. They inspire. They achieve.

Look at the people around you — more specifically, above you — in work and in your social life.

Do you consider them to be great? Lebron or Tom — they are not, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be someday in their own respect. If someone called you the Lebron James of the office — or the Tom Brady of the Newsroom — you’d be hard pressed not to consider that a compliment.

Take away from this the fact that these two men will be at the front of the conversation involving their two sports for all of time. You cannot tell the history of their league, NBA or NFL, without mentioning their name.

Aspire to be that great. Aspire to achieve such feats that those who follow your footsteps do so with the utmost confidence and conviction. Aspire to inspire.

Greatness is not defined by what you accomplish, but rather what you inspire others to achieve.

It’s Monday — go be great.

Thank you for reading.

Until next time.

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