HOT READS FOR THE PRACTIONER
Title: My Personal Best
Competencies: self-development, team building, interpersonal/intrapersonal skills, achievement orientation, self-control, building trust
Who benefits: any individual, coaches, team facilitators and team leaders, managers and supervisors, teenagers
Consultant Usage: training related to emotional intelligence, team building, one-on-one coaching
What’s it about? My bosses recently gave me my bi-annual performance review. They were profuse with praise. They said I wrote a really good post back in April of 2008. They “suggested” I make a modification or two to update it and run it again. No word on the 101 Wednesday columns since then, but hey, I take praise whenever and wherever I can get it!
The post is also relevant because it is about the great coach and teacher, John Wooden. He passed away last year just before his 100 birthday. Many have honored him over the past months. I would like to think I am one of the many. Below is a reprint of the post with one minor change:
Over this past holiday season a wonderful, thoughtful and valued friend gave me the book My Personal Best by John Wooden (which I have since shared with my 13-year-old grandson for reasons listed below). If you are not up on your college basketball, let me just say that John Wooden is considered by many to be the greatest college basketball coach of all time.
If you are a college basketball fan, then you know we are in March Madness, the best time of the year for college basketball. As of this writing, there are four teams left in the championship tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the national championship game on Monday night.
At the end of this entry today I am going to predict the winner. I am absolutely sure that I am right. Check it out and see if you don’t agree with my reasoning.
Now why am I reviewing … and highly recommending … this book in this weekly column? Let me tell a quick story that ties into the answer to my question. Many years ago I was on a business trip flying to or back from somewhere — the “where” was overshadowed by the flight. One of the other passengers was Coach Wooden. I was then and still am one of his greatest fans. The seat next to him was empty. I finally got up the courage to go over to speak to him. I asked if we could talk. I still remember the sound of his voice when he responded. He said “Sure, about anything but basketball.” Delighted, I sat down with him and for the rest of the flight we talked mainly about his philosophy of life as contained in his Pyramid of Success.
While we never talked specifically about basketball, I noted that he referred to himself as a teacher and that in everything he taught began with building character. If a player didn’t have character, he didn’t play.
Many people have referred to Coach Wooden as Mr. Basketball. I think of him as Mr. Emotional Intelligence. His Pyramid of Success has 15 building blocks. Here is a partial list: Cooperation, Self-Control, Initiative, Enthusiasm, Team Spirit. Sound familiar? These are life-long qualities and along with the other building blocks add up to his definition of success: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
Another valuable contribution to the book is Coach Wooden’s discussions of the mistakes he made along the way and how he corrected them. He also notes flaws in his make-up that he feels kept him from being even a better person and better coach. The candor is extraordinary. This man has incredible intrapersonal skills.
Here are two other great quotes from the book: “A good teacher or coach must not only understand others, but himself or herself as well.” “Success is not something that others can give to you.”
This book isn’t for everyone, but it a good and quick read if you are any of the following:
• A manager or supervisor of others
• A group facilitator, team leader or member of a team
• Interested in applied interpersonal and intrapersonal skills
• Interested in fulfilling your potential
And come to think of it, if you are not on the above list, perhaps you should be.
Oh yeah, my prediction. None of the teams left is UCLA. Coach Wooden was their coach for many years. I have followed them and rooted for them for since my teen years (which is hard to believe since my ties are to their cross-town rivals). I wish I could again be rooting vigorously for UCLA on Saturday. But they aren’t there this year.
So who do I think will win? Why the team that most closely emulates Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. The team whose players most resemble the 15 building blocks and who are most willing to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the group. Trust me on this!
Catch you later.
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