Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Doing Your Personal Best

The following is an excerpt from my new book 8 Attributes of Great Achievers, Volume 2.

Humble leaders focus on doing their personal best and are not worried about how they are doing in relation to others. The legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden provides a powerful example of this principle. He wrote, “I never talked about winning or beating an opponent. In fact, I rarely mentioned the opponent’s name. One player joked that just before games our manager would go to the lobby and buy a program in order to know who the team was playing that day. ‘Let them worry about us,’ was my philosophy. My job, and the team’s job, was to get us as close to being as good as we could get.”

“In 1962, UCLA reached the Final Four for the first time ever. We did it with a group of young men Sports Illustrated described as having ‘no height, no center, no muscle, no poise, no experience, no substitutes, and no chance.’” UCLA lost seven of their first eleven games that year, but everyone “kept working hard and improving. . . . Their effort produced dramatic results as the season progressed, and UCLA won 14 of the final 18 games, became Pac-8 champions, and went to the NCAA tournament. In the regionals at Provo, Utah, the Bruins outscored Utah State and then Oregon State to advance to the Final Four. . . . This was quite a surprise to most basketball fans around the country. Our 72-70 loss in the last seconds of the Final Four semifinals to the defending and eventual champion, Cincinnati, provided great evidence of how one can ‘lose’ and still win. . . . Cincinnati’s best was slightly better than ours. . . . The final score can never make you a loser when you’ve done your best. . . . What is success? For many it’s trophies or blue ribbons. . . . But I don’t measure it like that. The highest success is in your effort—giving it your personal best.”

One of John Wooden’s most influential teachers was his dad. His dad taught him early and often, “Johnny, don’t try to be better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be.”

(John Wooden with Steve Jamison, My Personal Best (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004), 4, 114-115, 119, 120-123, 195)

Learn more at www.CameronCTaylor.com