POWER BOOK: The Essential Wooden
POWER BOOK is an Aspire blog that features a life changing book. Amanda Scott, an Aspire managing partner, has extensive leadership experience and in this blog features the great John Wooden classic, The Essential Wooden. Thank you, Amanda!
- Wes Saade, M.D.
Have you ever gone through life thinking the only way you could be successful is to win at everything you do? Honestly, I have.
I thought if I didn’t win at every single thing: I had failed.
…that was until I read one statement by John Wooden from The Essential Wooden, “Success as measured by each one of us individually, is the peace of mind derived from making the absolute and complete effort to do the best which you are capable. The quality of your effort to realize your potential counts first and foremost.”
Suddenly I realized that as long as I put everything I have into everything I do, I am a success – win or lose.
John Wooden was an accomplished basketball player and coach. He won ten NCAA National Championships in a twelve year period, seven of them in a row as a coach at UCLA. Within this period he also won a record 88 consecutive games. Further, John was named Coach of the Year six times! As a player he was the first to be named basketball All-American three times in a row! He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame not only as a player, but as a coach as well.
John believed as a teacher, coach and leader that if you laid it all on the line and gave it your all you should never worry or fret. As long as you do everything you are capable of doing, you should always sleep at night. He said that if you wake in the middle of the night and your wheels are spinning, ask yourself, “Am I fretting about the future or figuring out what to do?” If it’s the former, have a warm glass of milk and get back to sleep. If it’s the latter, have a cup of coffee and make some notes. I have started asking myself daily if I am doing all that I am capable of. Currently, I am having that cup of coffee and taking some notes. But, I want to get to the point of having that warm glass of milk and going back to bed!
Be hardest on yourself, the model for what you want your team to become. - John Wooden
I have listed for you a few more of my favorite sections John covers in The Essential Wooden:
- Leaders Never Stop Learning
- Control Your Emotions
- How To Teach
- Teach The Habits Of Success
- Love Is Essential
- Stay On Top
- Strive To Attain It
- Less Self Makes You Selfless
- A Leaders Tool Kit
- Character Is More Than Honesty
Finally, allow me to share how this book has even inspired my 11 year old son, Austin. You see, Austin is playing his first year of football with a team of kids that have been playing together for many years. While he has done very well, sometimes he is hard on himself because he cannot run as fast as most. I read this passage to him from The Essential Wooden: “You may not be able to run as fast as someone else, but that shouldn’t prevent you from trying to run as fast as you can. Prior to the race, plan, prepare and practice to execute at your highest level. And then, if you’re not the fastest runner on the field, try your hardest to run your best race.”
He looked at me and said, “Wow Mom, that’s good,” and went on about his evening.
The next night on our way to his first playoff game he asked, “Mom can you tell me what you told me last night about running to inspire me?” My heart melted right there.
After I restated the passage to him, he said, “Thank you. I think that’s going to help me play better tonight.”
My son played the best game he has played all season! He was trying to run faster, block better and hit harder. That night he was able to run fast enough to recover a ball the other team fumbled. When he came up out of the pile of kids, he was holding the ball high in the air! He knew he had been successful! He didn’t cause the fumble or come up with a touchdown from it. But he was a success! He took something that spoke to him and applied it to his fullest! Then, he did all he was capable of doing on that given night.
He had won no matter the final outcome of the game!
I highly recommend The Essential Wooden if you want to be inspired and taught from a great coach and exceptional teacher and leader!
Your best is needed each day, especially if you are a leader.
- John Wooden
ASPIRE, Managing Partner
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