As NFL teams opened training camp for the 2022 season, there was all sorts of speculation about Tom Brady. Why had he retired and unretired? Why wasn’t he playing in the preseason games? Why wasn’t his wife seen at games? Why wasn’t he practicing on Wednesdays?
At some point, at one of the team press conferences, Brady partially addressed all the speculation. “I’m 45 years old,” he said, “There’s a lot of shit going on.” More recently, it became clear that what was going on was a divorce, an end to his 13-year marriage.
Now some have taken this as an opportunity to speculate about causes and blame, or to enjoy some schadenfreude considering all the heartbreaking losses Brady has inflicted on their favorite teams over the years. But one of the most important lessons we can take from all this—since it’s really none of our business—has to do with that quote from Brady.
Because we all have a lot of shit going on. Your employee has been showing up late…because their kid is in the middle of a sleep regression. Or maybe their marriage is on the rocks. Maybe all the stress of work and family has gotten to your neighbor…and that’s why they’re not taking care of their side of the street. Maybe that stranger has a sick kid or a ‘Just No MIL’ and it has eaten up every ounce of their attention or patience. Almost certainly that kid who is picking on your kid…is being picked on by someone in their own house.
We all know how hard our home life is, we know how it affects us–weighing on us, distracting us, making us act out. Well, we can safely assume that the same is true for everyone else. So we should then act with the corresponding empathy and understanding.
Everyone is going through something. They don’t need more crap from you.