Pyramid of Success – Coach John Wooden

Coach John Wooden amassed a stellar record, and ten NCAA Championships, in his twenty seven years coaching basketball for the UCLA Bruins. His book, “Wooden on Leadership”, describes timeless leadership attributes and personality skills that everyone can develop in their quest to enhance personal mastery. At the heart of his Pyramid of Success is the following:

  • Condition – mental, physical, moral
  • Skill – ensure no area of your game is under-developed
  • Team Spirit – eagerness, unity, sacrifice for the welfare of all, key to increasing productivity
  • Poise – maintaining cool under pressure. Continuing, persevering, and never getting too high or too low in the course of the battle, whether on the field or in the business setting.
  • Confidence – tenacity, but not arrogance
  • Competitive Greatness – enjoy the journey and the struggle. Real leaders often shine when the pressure and the challenges are the greatest.
  • Faith and Patience – “boundless belief in the future”. This is a belief in the fact that practice and preparation will yield results.
  • Success – peace of mind in knowing that you made your best effort

Coach Wooden said, “Have courage and do not worry. If you do your best, never lose your temper, and never be out-fought and out-hustled, you have nothing to worry about.” This quote is particularly compelling in our current times, when our culture seems to be defined by a lack of civility and finger pointing and coolness under pressure seems to have faded, especially for many leaders in sports, politics, and business.

Coach Wooden believed that focusing on the struggle itself, and the journey itself are vital in building winning teams. He had to condition his team to enjoy the struggle in the field of play. This notion translates to life.  Just when life is coasting, some event can derail you instantly: a layoff, an illness, accidents, death, etc. True leaders push forward through the challenge, and real successful teams rise to the occasion when the struggle is great. A good value system is the basis upon which personal wellness and a personal code is built. Shared values can make a good team a tremendous team. A system that values integrity will attract “high character individuals”, and will have a better shot at success. I believe this is so true. Low quality individuals can often drag down the organization. A real leader will get the group to rally behind the team under the auspices of having shared values, leading by example, and leading with the utmost of character.

Keep charging!

~ Mink


About The Author

Eric Minkwitz

Since 2002, Eric Minkwitz has operated Mink Training Systems, a sports performance, workplace wellness, and nutritional consulting business geared towards student-athletes, active individuals, and busy professionals. Minkwitz works with people of all levels, to educate and empower his clients to reach their potential in team sports, personal endeavors, and physical competitions of all types.

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