So. While the site was down trying to fix whatever we had to fix john wooden died. I knew it was coming (ok … immanent) and had something written and ready. Here you go.

I never met john wooden. But I imagine he was a lot like the greatest man I ever knew – my grandfather. They were of a similar generation. They seemed to have similar values and ethics. They were both inspirational – each in their own way.

But this is about john wooden. His accomplishments on the basketball court are going to be recounted ad nausea by everyone else. Suffice it to say he never had a losing season in 29 years as head coach. I don’t care about anything else on the court. Even in the wacky world of college kids coming and going he figured out how to get them working within his system and win.

I would also imagine he was a taskmaster. Tough love but love. In the end my sense was he wanted to win on the court but it was more important that his legacy be that his players won in life. His players (and assistant coaches I may add) went on to be successful in life. Regardless of whatever he did it is his words that, to me, will be his legacy. And while it would be easy to think of these as sports coach type thoughts I would feel comfortable suggesting that they are usable in business (if you own a business or if you just want the people in the organization to think about things) as well as just good personal ‘life’ thinking.

When I think of john wooden I think first of uncommon grace, humbleness, respect and being a teacher – teaching life lessons.

And me, being a collector of moments, would suggest that Wooden was a Zen Master of the “teachable moment” grasping not only the overall picture of life but possibly even better at recognizing individual moments to make an impact and steer someone down the right path in life.

So. Some of his teachable moment words:

“Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.”

–          Conflict and adversity in the workplace and life not only shows you who your true friends are but also who your true “self” is. Awesome thought.

“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.”

–          If you can live with yourself I would imagine others would be happy to live with you.

“Be prepared and be honest.”

–          Business 101. Particularly good lesson for young people … oh … and new business sharks.

“It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.”

–          I cannot even imagine wooden bending the rules let alone breaking a rule. Winning within the rules. That is winning with character.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

–          Every school should have this up somewhere to remind the “know-it-alls” … okay … it should be up everywhere.

“Never mistake activity for achievement.”

–          Another tip for business management

“Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.”

–          Anyone can win once. Win twice .. now there is a challenge

For an athlete to function properly, he must be intent. There has to be a definite purpose and goal if you are to progress. If you are not intent about what you are doing, you aren’t able to resist the temptation to do something else that might be more fun at the moment.

–          This would be workplace time management 101

Young people need models, not critics.

–          If only we could remind our superstar athletes and coaches and parents every day

What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player.

–          Character. You get judged by who you were more than by what you did.

I believe he changed many people not only through his actions but his words. We can only hope he continues to teach for years to come.

Wooden was not only an icon for his generations but all generations.

Written by Bruce