New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a class act, a true role model in a league with its fair share of dubious characters. Monday night, he broke the granddaddy of all records in football, all-time passing yards, surpassing Peyton Manning and Brett Favre on a long touchdown pass.
ESPN had a special video queued up and ready to go from Manning, who congratulated Brees on his accomplishment with what seemed like genuine respect. Favre tweeted during the game "I'm proud to be passed by a guy like you."
But the most impressive highlight of the night didn't happen on the field. Actually, it took place just off the field when Brees rushed to meet his family immediately after his historic pass (they stopped the game for the event). Brees gathered up his three boys, Callen, Bowen, and Baylen, in his arms and had the presence of mind in the midst of a frenzied, historic moment to offer heart-melting wisdom.
As the microphone captured, he told his sons, "You can accomplish anything in life if you're willing to work for it."
A majestic moment underscored by a teachable moment.
In a post-game interview, he said that he tells his kids the same thing every night before they go to bed. Nothing given. Everything's earned.
In a sport filled with clichés, mindless interviews, take-it-one-game-at-a-time dull as a butter knife commentary, Brees's statement broke through--because it's so damn true.
One of my most closely held values, one passed on to me by my father and also adopted by my sister and brothers, is the virtue of hard work. Nothing I've ever accomplished came without blood, sweat and tears, whether it was in my corporate career, or especially now in my entrepreneurial life. I'm betting you've learned the same.
It sure is nice to be reminded that nothing's given, everything's earned--because sometimes you lose sight of what it takes to get where you want to go. It's a sentiment that taken as a standalone statement sounds like a Successories poster or something you'd read on a coffee mug in a gift shop. "You can accomplish anything in life if you're willing to work for it." Yeah right.
Brees is known as a meticulous, insatiable worker. And when the microphone caught that moment between him and his kids, in the middle of history, it was incredibly inspiring. It was incredibly right.
I'll pull that sentiment off the sidelines and into the game next time I'm stuck in the mud, struggling through a low point or adversity. I hope you'll do the same.