It was at the beginning of the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl XLIX and his New England Patriots were down by two touchdowns and time was running out. Any team leader would typically be verbally pushing and encouraging his teammates to continue fighting. However, Tom Brady chose a different strategy: “One play at the time.” He kept repeating this phrase over and over again to the rest of his teammates. So, what is here to learn for us?
Tom Brady was keenly aware that the key to achieve peak performance is to maintain full focus just one step at the time. It is one thing to be swayed by the exciting emotions at the time and go full force ahead. It is a different experience to be carried away by the expectations of doing well at every single future play. We can only manage one task at the time. And, to achieve one’s best, focus needs to be centered on just that one play. If we emotionally strayed by what just happened or our minds are aiming way too far ahead of us, both situations will take away the needed mental concentration to stay focused on just one play.
Tom Brady was smart to remind his football troops to do exactly that. A great leader that knew how to exactly help his teammates to remain focused on what really matters: One play at the time.