15 Lessons from One Amazing Leader


As an athlete for all of my youth, I was always a huge fan of John Wooden.

Wooden, as you may recall, was the legendary UCLA basketball coach who won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period. No other college basketball coach has come close to achieving this feat.

Wooden also wrote a powerful book called "The Pyramid of Success." The book showed his 15 building blocks for winning at basketball and in life. Not only have Wooden's teachings been adopted by coaches and athletes, but many, including me, found his lessons to be completely applicable in the business world.

Click the image below to download Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success:

John Wooden Pyramid of Success

A few months ago, I watched a documentary on John Wooden. One of the most interesting things I learned was that he started every basketball season with the same lesson. Specifically, he taught his players how to tie their shoes properly.

Some of his former players joked about this. Imagine, having some of the best 18-22 year old college basketball players learning how to tie their shoes properly. To most, that would seem unnecessary. But Wooden always believed that you need to get the basics right before you can do anything else (e.g., if a player developed blisters on their feet, they couldn't play their best even if they were perfectly coached in every other aspect of the game).

Last June, Coach Wooden died at the age of 99. He leaves behind a legacy and amazing principles of success for us all to follow.

I hope that I will do my part in helping Coach Wooden's legacy live on -- I included Wooden in my Leadership Blueprint program teaching entrepreneurs to become better leaders. So they, like Wooden, can lead organizations that win consistently, year after year after year. Check out my Leadership Blueprint video here.

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Austin Baker says

Nice Article- One of my Favorite Quotes/things to live by by him is the following: Wooden’s 7 Things To Do 1. Be true to yourself 2. Help others 3. Make every day your masterpiece 4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible 5. Make friendships a fine art 6. Build a shelter of faith against a rainy day 7. Pray for guidance and give daily thanks for your blessings
Posted at 2:58 pm
Jim Russell says

Several years ago, I saw Gail Goodrich tell reporters that he and his fellow UCLA Bruins were paid $5 a rebound, during their college career at UCLA. Having no reason to make up a story like this, I tend to believe it. This means that the head coach was unaware of what his players and supporters were doing, or he chose to ignore it. That makes the coach either stupid or a cheater. Either way, it tells me that Mr. Wooden wasn't the person many will have you believe he was.
Posted at 3:14 pm
bstar says

The lesson he gave at the beginning of every season was actually how to put socks on and then put your sneakers on so you did not get blisters, my bball coach did the same thing ! It worked
Posted at 7:45 pm
Marc says

Coming from a fellow Bruin I just want to say thanks for this post, it's inspiring to say the least. Wooden was and will always be remembered as an amazing coach, I hope I can take his lessons and apply them to my own business ventures! Thanks.
Posted at 8:06 pm

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