Every leader has needs in their life. Often leaders conceal their deepest needs. Occasionally we have a confidant to share our problems, struggles, and weaknesses. More often than not, we do not.
A Coach in your life is essentially regardless what degree of tenure or success you have achieved. What would UCLA’s basketball team been without Coach John Wooden. He led the team to win 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year period – still unmatched in the world of basketball. Wooden was an excellent Coach because he was a deeply spiritual man who dearly loved his wife. His TED Talk has been listened to 4,310,676 times! How could we forget Coach Wooden’s sayings?
“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
“Be true to yourself, help others, make each year your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”
One of Coach John Wooden’s sayings challenges me most, “The most important thing in the world is family and life.” He proved that statement by his fond devotion to his wife of 53 years, Nellie. And after she passed, he never forgot her or even the side of the bed she shared with him. Every Tuesday Wooden would do what he always did on the 21st of the month. He sat down and pen a love letter to his best girl – Nellie. Wooden would say how much he missed her and loves her and can’t wait to see her again. Then he’d fold it once, slide it in a little envelope and walk into his bedroom. He would go to the stack of love letters sitting there on her pillow, untie the yellow ribbon, place the new one on top and tie the ribbon again.
The stack grew to at least180 letters because every Tuesday to the day since Nellie, his precious died he repeated the process. In her memory, he slept only on his half of the bed, only on his pillow, only on top of the sheets, never between, with just the old bedspread they shared to keep him warm.There’s never been a finer man in American sports than John Wooden, or a finer coach.
Of the 180 players who played for him, Wooden knew the whereabouts of 172. Of course, it was not hard when most of them called, checking on his health, secretly hoping to hear some of his simple life lessons so that they could write them on the lunch bags of their kids, who would roll their eyes. “Discipline yourself, and others won’t need to,” Coach would say. “Never lie, never cheat, never steal,” Coach would say. “Earn the right to be proud and confident.” You played for him, you played by his rules: Never score without acknowledging a teammate. One word of profanity, and you’re done for the day. Treat your opponent with respect.
I have had several incredible coaches in my career. The first and most important, has been my dad who turns 89-years-old today. He prays two hours each day for many people and I am privileged to be on that list. And, he reads his Bible avidly – about every 10 and ½ weeks. JW, as he is affectionately known, has now read his Bible through from Genesis to Revelation over 45 times. He has modeled for me integrity. My dad is a voracious reader consuming daily every word of the Wall Street Journal. His life emulates personal discipline. How privileged I am to be coached by my dad and several other nationally known Christian leaders. Show me a leader failing, and I will show you a leader who either does not have a Coach or he or she is not listening to their Coach. Find a Coach today!