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Threading the Needle: Lessons from Tom Brady for Elite Real Estate Agents

coach's corner mindset Jun 02, 2024
hands threading a needle

As a former NFL player, it probably wouldn’t surprise you that I love watching sports highlights—especially football.

A few days ago, I saw a clip of the final 2 minutes of a football game from a few years ago, between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. The Bucs were down by 6 with 2 minutes to go, and Tom Brady had the ball.

In about a dozen plays, the Bucs managed to get down the field and score a game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock. 

And out of those plays, there were at least 3 or 4 where Brady had to thread the needle.

By that I mean there was ZERO margin for error. Had to make the perfect throw, and the receiver had to make the perfect catch, or it was all over.

In those moments, close doesn’t cut it. If they don’t do it perfectly, they don’t win.

This is what we’re training our agents to do: thread the needle.

When you walk into a hard conversation (and EVERY conversation in real estate is a hard conversation), your job is not simple.

You have to read the situation. What’s going on?

You have to read who you’re talking to. What’s their personality type? What is their underlying motivation?

Then you have to reach into the Tactical Empathy toolbox, pull out the right tool, and deliver it in the right way, with perfect timing.

It sounds impossible. 

But if football players can thread the needle on a field in front of tens of thousands of people, with only seconds to make the play, face-to-face with huge guys whose job is to knock them down… 

You can do it in a living room, or over the phone, or on a video call.

Let’s compare this to what most agents are doing…

 Most agents (maybe including you) are out there with a sledgehammer trying to bludgeon buyers and sellers into doing what they want. And if that doesn’t work, they’re giving away their money to get the deal done.

That is NOT what we are coaching.

When you listen to interviews with Tom Brady’s teammates, they all say he DEMANDED perfection in every moment.

When practice was done, it wasn’t done for him or his receivers. They would go back out and do rep after rep until he was sure he could count on them when he had to thread the needle.

That’s dedicated practice: doing things in a very specific way repeatedly.

In that sense, there’s no difference between training for professional football and training to be an elite real estate agent. 

The most important part of the training isn’t physical—it’s MENTAL. 

It’s knowing how to position yourself in the best way possible, fully engaged in the process, not attached to the outcome, creating an environment of trust and collaboration that fully promotes an open and honest dialog.

I know this all sounds HARD….

But is it harder to do the work it takes to get to the top?

Or is it harder to be mediocre, living in a constant state of worry and struggle your whole life?

You can keep going down the path you’re on now: explaining, selling, telling, persuading, hoping, praying, bludgeoning, and giving your money away to keep your head above water…

Or you can commit to doing the hard work it takes to become great.

A few weeks ago, the Chairman of Nvidia, Jensen Huang, gave an interview at Stanford Graduate School of Business where he said this… 

“I wish upon you ample doses of pain and suffering. Greatness comes from character, and character isn’t formed out of smart people. It’s formed out of people who have suffered.”

In other words, if you insist on staying comfortable, you’ll never find your greatness.

I know that what we coach is not easy. It’s not comfortable.

And that’s exactly why it can make you great…IF you have the tenacity to tolerate that discomfort.

Look at ANY great person you can think of—athletes, CEOs, scientists, artists, anybody at the top of their game, no matter what field it is. Listen to them talk about how they got there, what they’ve been through.

ALL of them have suffered. NONE of them cruised painlessly to the top.

So, do you want to stay comfy and mediocre?

Or do you want to suffer…and discover your greatness?


Have a great week,


PS - You know what else people who achieve greatness have? A coach. If you don’t have one, join our Daily Accountability Calls to see what our coaching is all about. Start your 14-day free trial now!

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