Thursday, July 5, 2012

What I Learned From Coach Wooden

Anyone who's followed me for even a short time would know that I'm a big time fan and supporter of the lifetime work of the former UCLA coach, John Wooden.  His on court achievements of coaching milestones and records will probably never be reached by anyone ever again, let alone broken.  He was heralded as "The Wizard of Westwood" and while his remarkable accomplishments still leave many in awe until this day, I'm a much bigger fan of  his work off the court and the things he did to help grow the basketball players charged in his care into responsible high character individuals.

Coach Wooden was a wonderful writer who shared his life's work through the written word and had authored several books in relation to coaching, leadership and character development.  While I can't profess to have read all of his books, his very last one written just before he passed away in 2012 was probably the most impactful to me.  The book was dedicated to the art of mentoring and entitled, "A Game Plan for Life".  It spoke to me so much that it ended up being the inspiration and central theme for my own motivational quote book, "Gifts From Others".

"A Game Plan For Life" highlighted an important point in relation to the words and actions of others. You see, Coach Wooden spoke fondly of quotations from people like Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa and others who's words served as an inspiration to himself.  Essentially proving that a mentor can be anyone who's words of encouragement or message of hope inspire you to be better. Quite simply, the words they've left behind are precious gifts to be cherished.

While I never had the opportunity to meet "The Wizard of Westwood" myself, I feel fortunate to have interacted with individuals like Don Yaeger, Steve Jamison, Pat Williams and Andy Hill.  All of them have had personal and dealings and connections to Coach Wooden and continue to keep his legacy alive through their own work.  On that note I thought that it was fitting that I share a collection of 16 lessons I learned from my mentor, Coach Wooden:

1) Self improving never stops and can span our entire lifetime;
2) There's much power and influence in the written word;
3) Our daily lives can serve as motivation to others;
4) You don't have to have physical contact to touch people;
5) Wholesome knowledge doesn't have an expiry date;
6) Never discount the value of putting in a good effort;
7) Take responsibilty for those charged in your care;
8) Character character character;
9) The final score is the least important part of the game;
10) Anyone in life can serve as your mentor;
11) True love never dies;
12) Good character is at the heart of a good person;
13)Your approach to life remains constant;
14) Learning never stops regardless of your age;
15) Never ignore the fine details;

16) Always take responsibility for your actions.

See you on the court!

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