Career Success Advice From a Final Four Legend

Have you been following the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments?  The first weekend is always the best in my opinion.  Basketball all day and night, going from 64 to 16 teams in a four day period.  I saw an article in USA Today that the tournament causes some of the biggest drops in productivity in US business.  It seems everybody is watching and seeing how they are doing in their brackets. I’m doing terribly.

Congratulations to this year’s Sweet 16: Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio state, Syracuse, Kansas, North Carolina, Baylor, Indiana, Florida, Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, North Carolina State, Wisconsin, Xavier, Ohio.  That’s four teams form the Big 10 and four teams from the state of Ohio. We’ll see who is in the Final Four this weekend.

As most college basketball fans know, John Wooden who is no longer with us, was a legendary coach.  He won 10 National Championships as the UCLA coach.  Seven of the 10 were in a row – 1967 to 1973.  I was in high school when he began his remarkable National Championship coaching run.  I remember those teams really well.  It’s unlikely that any coach or school will dominate like that ever again.

Coach Wooden’s father gave him some advice when he was a young guy.  It’s worth repeating here:

  • “Don’t worry about whether you’re better than someone else; but never cease trying to be the best you can become.  You have control over the second.  You can’t control the first.”

Pretty good common sense career success advice – on two fronts.  1) Life is about improving – get better every day; enjoy the journey.  2) Focus on what you can control – not what’s out of your control.

John Wooden was pretty good on dispensing career success advice himself:

  • “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

Here is Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success

  • Industriousness
  • Friendship
  • Loyalty
  • Cooperation
  • Enthusiasm
  • Self Control
  • Alertness
  • Initiative
  • Intentness
  • Condition
  • Skill
  • Team Spirit
  • Poise
  • Confidence
  • Competitive Greatness

…and his 12 Lessons In Leadership.

  1. Good values attract good people.
  2. Love is the most powerful four letter word.
  3. Call yourself a teacher.
  4. Emotion is your enemy.
  5. It takes 10 hands to make a basket.
  6. Little things make big things happen.
  7. Make each day your masterpiece.
  8. The carrot is mightier than a stick.
  9. Make greatness attainable by all.
  10. Seek significant change.
  11. Don’t look at the scoreboard.
  12. Adversity is your asset.

If you want to kick your career success journey into high gear log on to to learn more about John Wooden, his remarkable coaching record, and what he can teach you about personal and leadership success.

As a career success coach, I have gained a lot of wisdom watching successful athletic coaches like John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson, Pat Summit and Mike Tomlin.  I like the young guys too – like Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth University.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  There is a lot to be learned about life and career success by watching big sporting events like the NCAA basketball tournaments. There’s only one winner in a tournament, but I think you can succeed and still not win. That’s why I like what John Wooden has to say about success: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” If you’ve been  watching the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments you’ve seen a lot of young people expending the effort to be the best they are capable of being.  Watch the tournaments these next two weekends and take some lessons that can help you in your career success journey.

That’s the career advice I find every year during the NCAA basketball tournaments.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site last September.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.


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