Years ago I was asked who had the greatest influence on my life. I first mentioned my dad. He taught me so many great lessons.

But, the writer wanted me to speak about a person outside my family. I chose Coach John Wooden. I chose him, not only because he was the greatest coach in any sport, but rather because of how he lived, and taught his players to live.

If you are a regular reader, you likely know I have written about him more than anyone else. You also likely know I have read every book I can find about him. Here is one of them.

If you have about 18 minutes, watch this Ted Video from 2001. I love the many poems he recites in the video. When you get to the one about the teacher, you will have a greater sense of why I love teaching and coaching lawyers:

You might also enjoy this 2 minute video about Coach Wooden convincing star player, Bill Walton to get a shave and haircut.

I want to share with you some of my very favorite John Wooden quotes:

  • 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. (This one really resonated with me because I had focused on what others thought of me).
  • Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. (This was so very important to me. I always wanted to push myself to be the best I was capable of becoming.)
  • Never mistake activity for achievement. (Sometimes the right less is better than the wrong more).
  • Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then. (This hit home whenever I lost a case.)
  • Be quick, but don’t hurry. (Obviously this is important in sports, but I saw the connection doing my legal work).
  • You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. (I get such a great feeling when I do this. Imagine what it would feel like to try and do it every day.)
  • A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment. (I hope the lawyers I coach would say this about me.)
  • Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. (I have written many blogs about this point. Now you know where I got the idea).
  • Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. (The lawyers I coach now know where I got this idea and why I push them.)
  • It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. (This is one of my favorites. One of my core values is to always be learning.)
  • It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.(This was one of the most important points early in my career. It caused me to pay greater attention to the small things that produce the big things over time.)

That is 11 quotes. Believe me I could go on and on with many more that taught me how to be successful and to live a fulfilling life. Which of these quotes most resonates with you?

Have you ever seen John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success? He talks about it in the Ted Video and pulls it out of his pocket. You can buy the poster of it here.

I would love to hear from you. Who has had the greatest influence on your life?