Lessons Deflategate Taught on Overcoming Career Mistakes


overcoming career mistakes


Whether or not he’s guilty, Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension for deflating footballs could have been a setback for his career, his legacy and his team. Instead, he returned from his suspension in top form and WON the Super Bowl this past Sunday. Here are four lessons from Brady’s unprecedented comeback that can apply when overcoming career mistakes:


1. Don’t Dwell

4 career lessons tom brady deflategate taught us


Brady blocked out the negatives of the situation and focused on what he could control: his attitude and work ethic. Don’t let a mistake at work have you walking on eggshells for the rest of your career. Dwelling on it discourages you from taking risks and thinking outside-the-box. Instead, be accountable and have the confidence to move forward.


2. Stay Motivated

While suspended, Tom Brady spent his time away from the game reading his favorite book for perspective and practicing. He prepared for his return and proved it with his stellar performance this season. Similarly, don’t be stagnant when a mistake occurs at work! NOW is the time to push yourself, keep your skills sharp, and go the extra mile. Managers will notice and it will help you bounce back quicker.


3. Don’t Repeat

Making the same mistake twice is not only embarrassing, but could also damage your credibility and trustworthiness. In Brady’s case, the league stepped in and changed rules across the NFL. At work, set your own rules to prevent another similar incident. Reflect on what caused the mistake, what you learned from it, and get thoughts from your manager on their perspective.


4. Deepen the Relationship With Your Manager

Brady and Coach Bill Belichick came into the season with the most wins as a QB-coach duo in history. After Brady’s suspension, they won the most games in the league, and recorded an all-time high for number of Super Bowl appearances. If deflategate had any effect on their relationship, it seemed to strengthen it.

This kind of boss/employee relationship is built through transparency and strong communication. Ask your manager for feedback on how you handled the mistake. Were they satisfied with how quickly you owned it and what you did to improve? The better that line of communication is, and the more the expectations are clear on both sides, the stronger your relationship will be going forward.


For more insight, check out this Fortune article covering 5 tips to get past a mistake at work.

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