So the media is showcasing the widespread mourning after the death of Coach John Wooden. Here was a man that was simply a basketball coach, but yet left a legacy that will long outlive most. Because of who he was. And what a wonderful lesson there is in this for us…
From presidents to prime ministers, few left behind an inheritance of greatness like the coach did. A simple man, he lived a life that resembled a Norman Rockwell painting.
He met his wife at a carnival in 1932 and was devoted to her until she died. After her death he kept to a monthly ritual, visiting her grave and then writing a love letter to her. After completing the letter, he would place it on the stack on the pillow she slept on during their life together.
From the colleges to the pros, and on to the general public, this simple man inspired millions not just because he won championships, but because he won them the right way. Some of his thoughts:
“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”
“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.”
“Be prepared and be honest.”
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
Yes there are lots of lessons in the things he said that everyone in our business can learn from. But the biggest one may be this:
One person can make a difference in the lives of many.
And that means you. The simplest thing you say in a counseling session that keeps someone from quitting. The card you send out. The phone call to check in on someone.
But more importantly, the fact that you dream, and help other people to dream as well. Let me say this:
There are not many things more important you can be doing on a Tuesday evening than being in someone’s living room, igniting a dream. What you do is important. Remember that always.