Leadership Lessons From A Legend
Last night basketball fans watched the semi-final games in the 2021 NCAA Basketball tournament. These semi-final games, also called “The Final Four,” featured the University of Houston vs,. Baylor and Gonzaga University vs. UCLA. The latter game is already being called a “classic” because it featured high levels of play throughout the game, a close score throughout, one overtime session and a buzzer-beating half-court basket to win the game for Gonzaga.
Perhaps the greatest college basketball coach of all time was John Wooden. He led his UCLA team to an incredible 10 NCAA Championships in 12 years. Wooden was known as not just a student of basketball, but as a student of leadership.
Over the years, Wooden shared his leadership lessons in a variety of books, articles and speeches. His philosophy of leadership was studied by coaches, CEOs and government officials. In honor of this year’s tournament and his legacy, I thought I’d share some of my favorite John Wooden leadership quotes this week:
“You can never make up for a lost day… Don’t think you can make up for it by working twice as hard tomorrow. If you have it within your power to work twice as hard, why aren’t you doing it now?”
“You must be interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way.”
“Learn as if you were going to live forever, and live as if you were going to die tomorrow.”
“People want to believe you are sincerely interested in them as persons, not just for what they can do for you.”
“You will find that success and attention to details, the smallest details, usually go hand in hand.”
“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.”
“Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn’t mean treating everyone alike. That’s unfair, because everyone doesn’t earn the same treatment.”
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”
“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”
“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
“Never mistake activity for achievement.”
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
“Be prepared and be honest.”
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
If you want to watch John Wooden’s leadership approach in action, I encourage you to watch the Netflix show “Ted Lasso.” It’s about English soccer, but it is really about leadership. It’s funny, inspiring and touching.