This post is based on a #FlipMyFunnel podcast. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out below.
He wasn’t good at coaching basketball. He was legendary. In 12 years, John Wooden won 10 D1 titles, 7 of which were back-to-back. (No other coach has won 5 in a row.)
In 1973, his team became the only one to ever have back-to-back undefeated seasons. In total, he coached his team to over 600 victories,
Oh, he also played himself. He became the first basketball player to be named All-American three times, winning him a spot in the Hall of Fame as a player, and as a coach (another first).
There’s a reason they called him the “Wizard of Westwood.”
On this episode of the #FlipMyFunnel podcast, I break down 6 quotes from legendary coach, and what we can all learn from his fascinating success and life.
#1: “Success is never final, failure is never fatal, and it’s courage that counts.”
John Wooden never stopped. He consistently left the past to focus on the present, regardless of prior success, or failure. That’s how you win over 600 games in your coaching career.
I saw this valuable lesson play out when we put on some of our earliest #FlipMyFunnel conferences. Two of our events in Boston and Chicago flopped, totally flopped. But the team over here at Terminus doesn’t stop. They were excited to dig deeper, and continue on the path. They believed the conferences were valuable, even with incredibly low attendance.
I’m so glad they kept pushing through the first two failures. They weren’t fatal — our next event in San Francisco had over 1,500 people.
#2 “Never cease trying to be the best you can be.”
This one strikes home (literally for me). I was away much of this year from my home because I had a fairly crazy speaking schedule (29 events this year!). I brought home a key from this journey: Life isn’t about balance. It’s about being the best, in every moment, wherever that moment takes you.
When I’m at work, my mind and emotions are consumed by what I am doing. When I’m with my family, my goal is to make that time as captivating for us as possible.
Balance isn’t the word … it’s about finding the love in every moment, being the best, consistently, in every activity.
#3: “The best competition I have is against myself, to become better.”
When the Wizard talked to his players, he didn’t speeches about the opoposition. He focused on his team. We all have our laziness, our own fears, our own justifications. We reason ourselves out of things, just as easily as we reason ourselves into them.
We have to ask ourselves, “What is it that we really want?” and then attack life from that angle, realizing that one of our biggest opponents will be the internal excuses, doubts, and fears that attempt to stunt our effectiveness.
#4: “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.”
This is incredibly helpful for a leadership role. And we’re all leaders to someone. Exemplifying depth of character will ultimately speak louder than your reputation.
Mr. Wooden had a reputation as a basketball coach. But we are writing about him on a business blog 8 years after he passed away because of his character.
#5 “Today is the only day. Yesterday’s gone.”
We’ve all done this far too often: We take yesterday’s baggage with us to sleep. We wake up, and our new day is already tainted. Then we collect more baggage. We repeat until we’ve submerged ourselves with yesterday’s weight.
Wooden didn’t make this mistake, because yesterday never existed.
He learned what to avoid from mistakes, what to repeat from success, and then forgot yesterday — good or bad, having won or lost. Today is the only day.
#6 “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.”
Sometimes we just have to saddle up, and go for it. We don’t get unlimited shots at opportunities. We all get one, maybe two, big chances to seize what we really want, to capture what we are really made to do. When we don’t take those opportunities, we end up admiring and idolizing those who do.
The big chances never come at the right time.
It’s always inconvenient. There’s always a reason not to.
When I was first presented with the idea of co-founding Terminus, my second daughter had just arrived. It was probably the worst possible time to add in a start-up.
But my wife knew I’d spend the rest of my life regretting missing my shot, if I didn’t go for it.
Here’s the challenge:
We do a great job on Thanksgiving telling God, our family, and our friends “thank you.” The rest of the year, we tend to skip out on gratitude.
Text one person this week and sincerely thank them for what they’ve meant to you.
(And maybe give them a little John Wooden quote while you’re at it.)