Full disclosure: I am a Carolina Panthers fan and had the good fortune to be at the game on Monday night. If you follow pro football, even casually, you have heard or seen the replay of the controversial call/no call at the end of Monday night’s Carolina Panthers win against the New England Patriots. I did not have the benefit of replay at the stadium, and simply enjoyed the fact that the referees decided to pick up a flag they had thrown on the last play. It was not until Tuesday that I saw the replay and understood that the call could have gone either way.
What was most surprising to me was not the play but the reaction and comments about the play by the New England Patriots. Yes, Tom Brady did apparently use some salty language on the field, but that was in the heat of the moment, and he, like all of us, care about his work in life and, as a competitor, wants to win. After he composed himself and a little time had passed, he, along with tight end Rob Gronkowski made comments that were truly professional. Both of them accepted the loss, neither of them criticized the refs or anyone else. Both of them pointed out what they could have done to have achieved a different outcome. These comments reveal the true professionalism of the New England Patriots. Their reaction and self-evaluation are likely a major factor in their three super bowl wins and near domination of the NFL over the past ten years.
After I heard these comments, it occurred to me that attorneys, accountants, real estate professionals, appraisers, dentists, doctors and all other professionals can learn from Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
Here are the takeaways:
It’s OK to be emotional initially upon realizing that something has not gone your way;
True professionals quickly accept what is and do not lament about what could have been;
True professionals compose themselves and accept responsibility for what they have done;
True professionals are self-reflective – they identify what actions they could have taken to avoid the current outcome; and
True professionals are resilient – they do not let a current adverse outcome hinder their preparation and performance in future activities.
Kudos to the New England Patriots for their professionalism (and to the Panthers for the win). All professionals can all learn from their example.