Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a new podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with disrupters and high performers in all walks of life. In episode 23, we spoke with Drew Brees, former NFL quarterback who played for 20 seasons.

Listen to the full episode above (scroll down for the transcript) and see more from this series below.

This interview has not been edited for length or clarity.


Mike Sarraille:

Welcome to the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. We call this rapid fire. We’ve got a special guest today, Drew Brees, who should need no introduction, but Super Bowl champ, 20 years in the NFL, offensive player, multiple times broke dozens of passing yard records, and now settling into the dad role, which is probably his most important role in life. Drew, if you didn’t know it, you went to the same high school as my wife, uh, Westlake, correct?

Drew Brees:

Ah, yeah. Okay. All right.

Mike Sarraille:

So we are here in Westlake. We’re gonna jump right into it and we’re gonna start easy and get a little harder. How do you start your mornings?

Drew Brees:

Read the Bible with a cup of coffee.

Mike Sarraille:

No kidding. Okay. All right. I said they’re easy.

Drew Brees:

Non-negotiable. That’s how I start every day.

Mike Sarraille:

I love that word. Okay. So what are your key habits? Those things that you do every day, besides your routine in the morning?

Drew Brees:

Well, I, I love to get some sort of a workout and now that I’m done playing football, it’s actually kind of fun. Cause I get to change that up, you know, that might be going for a hike that might be mountain biking. That might be just, you know, getting out paddling, stand up paddle, play some pickle ball, um, you know, just whatever I want to do. That’s uh, you know, I have that flexibility now

Mike Sarraille:

And you actually went right into the, uh, the next question. So it’s always interesting post professional career. What are your workout goals and, and diet look like, uh, now.

Drew Brees:

Yeah. You know, um, from a diet perspective, I, I, I’ve always, I’ve always tried to take a very common sense diet approach, right. Which is, uh, eat things that come out of the ground or try to eat organic as much as possible. Don’t overeat, you know, eat when I’m hungry. Cuz that’s my body telling me, Hey, I’m hungry. I need some fuel. Um, but then when it tells you you’re full don’t overeat, pack it up, put it in the fridge, cuz chances are in two hours, you’re gonna be hungry again. And you could just go ahead and finish it then. Um, you know, don’t, don’t eat past seven or eight o’clock at night. Um, try to get se at least seven and a half hours of sleep. Uh, cause that’s, that’s kind of my, my rhythm. That’s, that’s pretty much it right there. That’s very simple.

Mike Sarraille:

<laugh>. Are, are you still utilizing a trainer?

Drew Brees:

Um, well my, my trainer Todd Durkin was like my mentor, one of my mentors and really. We’re much like peers and good friends as we are, you know, mentor and mentee, but I’d say we still get together, but now we have more life conversations, you know, and fatherhood conversations as opposed to, you know, get me ready to go out and kick butt on the football field conversations.

Mike Sarraille:

And with that. Drew, you spent 20 seasons in the NFL, which is just…very few people do that. What type of mindset does it take for someone not only to reach that level, but to stay at that level for so long,

Drew Brees:

You, you have to constantly feel like you’re chasing something. Um, you, you have to feel like there still is room for improvement. Um, you are constantly in this race to improve and to stay ahead, um, you know, look you there. There’s I think there’s that mentality that when, when, once you’ve reached the top that, you know, everybody’s, you know, kind of chasing you at that point. But to me, I, I always, always wanted to have something that I was chasing and I was, I was competing against myself more than I was competing against anybody or anything else. And so every off season there was this process, um, call it, you know, the season ends and January, February, and then, you know, take about a month off just to spend time with family and clear your head and recharge your battery. And then when March came around, it was like, all right, sit down, pen and paper objectives, where do I need to get better? How am I gonna get there? I circle up with my mentors, which I had two of them, Tom House and Todd Durkin. And it’s like, all right, here’s our objectives. Here’s how we get there. Let’s get to work.

Mike Sarraille:

Ooh. So little measure. What matters in self-reflection that’s absolutely. I’ve noticed that’s common theme amongst high performers like yourself. We live in a social media world where everyone just highlights their successes, not my wife, yelling at me and possibly throwing, uh, objects from the kitchen, uh, at my head. Uh, but we believe that failure is just as important as success. In fact, it’s part of success. What do you consider to be one of your biggest failures and what did you learn from it?

Drew Brees:

Oh man. You know, um, well let, let me give you a different example because this is relevant to last week. So my kids have gotten into skim boarding, right? Which, um, I probably spent no less than 10 hours over the last three days at the beach, just watching them skim board. And you know, I mean, you fall just about every time you skim board, right? Like if you don’t catch it quite right, if the sand catches the board or all of a sudden, you know, you get a good ride going, but then now you’re gonna hit the wave and you’re gonna fall. So literally it’s this constant process of fall, get back up; fall, get back up; fall, get back up. And I think as parents, you know, you want to comfort your kids all the time.

You want to try to make things, you know, as I don’t wanna say easy as possible, but like you, you want to streamline it for ’em. Right. And at times it’s hard, cuz it’s like counterintuitive, but it’s like, you have to sit back and just let ’em fail. Let ’em fail, fail, fail, fail, get back up, fail, get back up, fail. Right. I can’t tell you like 10 hours of skim board. You’re literally failing just about every time. And at some point you gotta get back up and say like, I wanna try again. But like that has been the greatest thing cuz then you watch their progression get better and better and better. And then the confidence grow confidence grow. Right. And they’re feeding off each other, they’re competing with each other and I’m like, man, like that’s kind of a microcosm for life right there. Like that’s a great life analogy. Um, so that’s, that’s like that’s I think what I’m I learn as much from my kids each and every day. Just like putting myself in those positions as well.

Mike Sarraille:

They almost remind you of certain attributes or, or principles that, you know, we can learn from those younger from us and, and resiliency is a great attribute to build within your children to prepare ’em for life. All right. So what are those one to three keys to success? Those non-negotiables that you followed throughout your life that usually result in exceptional outcomes?

Drew Brees:

Yeah. You know, um, those, so I think the way that you start your day, I think is something that needs to be an absolute non-negotiable and you know, that might be different for everyone. For me, it truly is getting up in the morning, getting a cup of coffee and just having, uh, 20 minutes of quiet time where I can get in the word, read my Bible, um, uh, maybe listen to a few encouraging words of one of my spiritual mentors or whatever it might be, but that just lays the foundation for the day. And if that doesn’t happen, then I just don’t feel right. You know? And so that’s why it has becoming a non-negotiable this is what I do. Um, this is who I am. And um, and then again, I, I think that that, that also puts me in the right frame of mind to be the best husband. I can be the best father that I can be the best, you know, partner. I can be, you know, whatever it is that, you know, are the, that is kind of the itinerary for the day or the structure for the day. I think it just puts me in a position where I’ve, I’ve kind of set my, my moral compass, you know, for the day and that’s how I’m gonna choose to, um, you know, treat others interact with others.

Mike Sarraille:

Morning affirmations are powerful, so is consistency. I love it. Uh, so drew, when you look back at your life, when all is said and done in your final, final moments, how will you determine if you’ve lived a life of impact and purpose,

Drew Brees:

Man, that’s, that’s a good one. Um, you strive for it. Look, you strive for it every day. Um, and you know, that’s, that is, that is the, you know, people have asked me so much about retirement and you know, how how’s the transition been and you know, you, and, and you can attest to this too, right? With, with the line of work that you were in, you are so focused on being the very best that you can be at, um, an NFL quarterback, you know, not just from, from a productivity perspective, but a leadership perspective and leading others and helping others and, you know, pulling the team together, pulling different personalities together to accomplish a mission or a goal, um, or an objective. And so all of a sudden, you, you step out of that environment, um, it’s like, wow, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve focused so much on success within this realm.

Drew Brees:

You know, what’s the next stage or the next chapter look like. And you know, there’s, there’s there people that have talked about this and I’ve heard a lot about this is kind of going from that path of success to significance, right? And it’s, how can I take what I’ve learned, the wisdom, the experiences now pass that on to others, leave an impact, um, leave this world a better place, um, set things up, you know, better for the future. Um, and raise my kids the right way so that they can go out with the same mentality. You know, there’s just so much of what I think about now is impact and significance and there’s so much work to be done. And I think that’s what motivates me and inspires me every day is that there’s so much need out there there’s so much work that needs to be done and you can’t just go out and accomplish it all at once. You know? So there definitely is like this, um, you know, you set these objectives and, and you know, these OKRs and it’s like, all right, let’s go, let’s go, you know, tackle this one, one task at a time, one challenge at a time,

Mike Sarraille:

One, one step at a time. So we like to say, so our motto here at the everyday warrior is, get stuff done, make stuff happen, do it all again tomorrow. So I understand you’re working in a new, uh, campaign with Great Clips: Back to School. Tell me why this is so important to you.

Drew Brees:

Well, this, this reminds me of when I was a kid and some of the special moments that I had with my dad. Right. Which was that getting up early on a Saturday morning and going to getting a haircut together, you know, there was the, there’s a bonding experience that takes place with that. You know, the drive there, the drive home, you know, sitting in the, in the chair. Um, and especially as you think about back to school, cuz you know, look you come off of a summer and, and you’re excited about going back to school, you’re excited about seeing your friends again at the same time. Maybe you’re a little bit nervous, you know, like, ah, you know, did I, did I get bigger? Did I get taller? You know, or are they gonna be bigger than me? Like, am I gonna make the, the, the team, you know, when we trout for football this year, you know, and I’m going to a new school, you know, I mean, there’s just all these things for, I think kids, you know, just like the pressures and the challenges.

Drew Brees:

And there was just something about going and getting that haircut, getting ready for school. That was like a confidence boost. You know, it’s like, man, I’m gonna look good. I’m gonna, you know, step into school and you know, kind of like, you know, be, be a leader, be the guy like, you know, um, and it’s a new year, you know, kind of a thing, you know? And, and also I think just the bonding experience. So I remember that with my dad and now I’ve got three boys. And so, you know, to, to kind of just sit and watch their interactions and be able to have those interactions with them too. I mean, those are, those are special moments.

Mike Sarraille:

So weekly haircut haircuts with the boys, <laugh>, that’s a habit as well.

Drew Brees:

I love haircuts, haircuts. Yeah. Haircuts with the boys, you know, and, and I feel like there’s, there’s one for every occasion too, there’s back to school, but then there’s like getting ready for the championship game, you know, and like flag football or basketball or something like that. You’ve gotta have a fresh, you have a fresh cut, you know, there’s a lot that goes into that.

Mike Sarraille:

Well, Drew, uh, personally, thank you for your time. Thank you for all the entertainment as we were overseas on combat deployments, watching you play and especially from one professional to another, thank you for your faith in the fact that you stood by your principles, man. Highly respect you.

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