After an extraordinary life of 99 1/2 years, Coach John R. Wooden died. His legacy is so vast and well documented, I will not spend time here recounting it. If you are not familiar with Coach Wooden please read about him, learn his pyramid of success, buy his books, and learn from his life!
I was fortunate to know the Coach. I was not close to him, but I had many encounters and chances to hear him speak and several lengthy private sessions with him. My kids met him. My wife Sarah and I had an intimate dinner with him several years ago. I have considered him a mentor for many years.
The guidance he provided through his teachings and lessons have profoundly impacted my life. I can honestly say that I am a better leader, father, husband, and person because of the Coach. I am so grateful for his life and for his mentoring.
I want to share with you just a small sampling of the lessons that guide me everyday.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Doing your homework. Practicing to hone your abilities. Anticipating challenges. Thinking about what you are going to do before you do it. Thinking about what you are going to say before you say it.
Be quick but don't hurry.
Keep moving. Take action. Make decisions. Speed is a sign of progress. But don't rush. Don't miss what is around you and appreciate the moment.
Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.
Don't read or get caught up in your own press statements and achievements. Don't become satisfied with your past success. Find your limits. Push yourself to maximize the talent and ability you possess. Watch and learn from your "game films." Be obsessive about how you can improve.
Make no excuses. Your friends don't need them and your foes won't believe them.
Reasons why we are not making progress in our lives are irrelevant. Everyone has challenges and hardships. Talking about the obstacles that prevent us from reaching our goals is wasting time that could be devoted to the achievement of those goals.
Make everyday your masterpiece.
Make each day a new opportunity to excel and do your best. Do good, help others, and set an example while you are awake. You never know which masterpiece will be your last.
These are my interpretations of a few the Coach's thoughts. His Pyramid of Success sits on my desk. I will never forget how he could recite 25 lines of Shakespeare from memory. Or his ability to move an audience without bluster, hyperbole, or ego.
We are grateful we had the Coach for almost a century. We have lost a great teacher of humanity, but his teachings will endure. We celebrate his life by becoming the best we can be.
Thanks for reading. John