Wooden's Career Lessons For Today's Workforce: Focus on Building Character, Not Reputation

How others perceive us in our work and in life matters. When John Wooden, the famous UCLA basketball coaching legend died last week, we lost a master at instructing people on how to live life successfully. Coach Wooden was voted in 2009 as the greatest coach of all time by Sporting News.  His career highlights include National Championships in 1932 as a player at Purdue, and 10 National Championships as a coach at UCLA from 1964 – 1975. His overall winning record of 80%+ will likely never be matched.

Coach Wooden based his life on a philosophy that kept everything in perspective and he was concerned with how others perceived him and his players. As a result he became known for the deep relationships he built with his players like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton as well as for his teachings and books on living. Everyone should read and apply Coach Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” as his building blocks to success can help anyone working to find the right career or improve their current position.

Here are some of Coach Wooden’s sayings that may help you in your career and life:

  • 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.
  • If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.
  • You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.
  • Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
  • Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.
  • Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
  • It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.
  • Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but what you should have accomplished with your ability.
  • If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
  • Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.

It is never a bad idea to learn from those who have lived a successful life. Learn from Coach Wooden, no matter who you are or if you like basketball — just know his teachings can help anyone succeed in work and in life.

Categories Career Advice