Nick Foles And What It Means To Be A Pro

Nick Foles, a 29 year old, second-string quarterback, just led the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over arguably one of the best quarterbacks/teams/coaches in the history of the modern game. Unlikely? Yeah – but it happened.

Did you catch his comments after the game? “Failure is a part of life. That’s a part of building character and growing. Like without failure, who would you be? I wouldn’t be up here if I hadn’t fallen thousands of times, made mistakes. We all are human, we all have weaknesses.”

In another world (writing and not sports), Steven Pressfield once said, “The sign of the amateur is over-glorification of and preoccupation with the mystery. The professional shuts up. She doesn’t talk about it. She does her work.”

When Foles was a kid, he absolutely daydreamed about winning the Super Bowl. Foles got traded FROM the Eagles, passed around several other teams, and then traded BACK to the Eagles – not to start, but to ride the bench. That childhood dream surely had faded from the forefront of his mind. Still, he set that over-glorified mystery aside, and went to work. Foles, as he proved, is a pro.

A friend of mine was telling me about how hard it is to call on people lately. They’re all busy. The conversation turned towards selling products versus curating them within relationships.

When people are telling you they are too busy for you, they’re telling you they are too busy for your product pitch. People will never tell you they’re too busy for your relationship. Even if they really are too busy at that moment, they’ll ask to come back to you to find out what’s up.

The old dogs say that world has gotten more and more divided. The old dogs say the world just ain’t what it used to be, that everyone is so occupied with Facebook and their smartphones – nobody actually talks anymore.

They have a point, but they’re missing another. Hold the product/relationship concept in your mind and consider: Facebook can give you a highlight reel of the amazing vacation that the 3rd basemen on your t-ball team just had. Amazon can connect you quickly and cheaply from your iPhone to more products than you ever knew were available. Technology has taken over. We’ve turned everything from your bathroom soap coming in zero-clicks (“Alexa, order Dove”) to the vacation photos (my life LOOKS good, please press “like”) into a product.

But what has technology made scarce? Real relationships.

The amateurs are wondering why their sales are down and sitting on their hands while everyone else looks busily at their black mirrors. The pros are doing the work to build relationships with the people who need their services (and products, and connections, and input, and…), often times through those same devices.

Do you see the opportunity? Do you see the value in scarcity?

You have to be willing to be Foles on the bench for years. You have to be willing to faceoff on the greatest stage against Brady if you ever get the opportunity. The point is, you have to keep yourself in the game.

Pressfield again, “It’s better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.”

Amen to that. Do the work.