The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

Enjoy and share the Wooden's Wisdom 12-Part Program for Success

Issue 65 - Do Not Get So Concerned With Making a Living that You Forget to Make a Life

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 2 Issue 65
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login




Coach Wooden had a clear set of priorities: faith, family and friends. Coach strove to have a balance between his personal and professional life. He believed that: imbalance in one or the other creates vulnerability in both.

This excerpt from the book How to be like Coach Wooden by Pat Williams, depicts a clear picture of how this approach manifested itself for coach on a day-to-day basis:
During his years at UCLA, John Wooden saw to it that his wife, Nell, spent as much time with him as possible. "Nellie always went to games with me," he said, "and I wouldn't leave her to go scouting out of town". "I couldn't tell if he had a good practice, a bad practice, or if there were any problems at all," she said.
How did Coach respond when he was offered more money for a job that would have created an imbalance of his priorities? This excerpt from How to be like Coach Wooden answers that question:
During the late 1960s, when the UCLA basketball program was at the height of its success, Jack Kent Cooke tried to hire John Wooden to coach his Los Angeles Lakers. Coach went to Cooke's house at the invitation of Lakers' general manager Fred Schaus, where he found Cooke sitting behind a huge desk in his study.
They sat in silence, just looking at each other, for several minutes before Cooke finally said, "Why do you want to coach the Lakers?"  Wooden replied simply that he didn't want to coach the Lakers. He had come to Cooke's house because Schaus had asked him to.
Cooke was incredulous. "Anyone would want to coach the Lakers." The Lakers' owner thrust an offer sheet in Coach's direction. "What do you think of that?" "Nobody's worth that kind of money," Coach said. But he still wouldn't take the offer. "Well, then, how much do you want?"
Coach tried to explain that it wasn't about money. He didn't want to coach the Lakers because he didn't want to spend that much time on the road away from his wife, Nellie, and their children, Nan and Jim. Besides, he liked coaching and teaching on the college level. For John Wooden, coaching basketball had never been about money and never would be.
When Coach was asked what his top priorities are, he replied, "Faith, family and friends." Then he smiled and added, "Sometimes I put family first. That's not really the proper order, but I think the Lord understands."
Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom



Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry

Balance and Love

John Wooden, to me, once dispensed in my youth,
A most practical, magical nugget of truth,
For he told me, "the two words important to me,
Are balance and love, and that's all, don't you see?"
Though I welcomed the wisdom, it left me bemused,
And I pondered alternative words to be used,
Words like "wealth" and like "fame" and like "status" and “glee.”
For these seemed to be far more superior to me.
But so on flew the years and the dreams I employed,
And I found that pursuit of these words left a void.
I had tasted the fame and the wealth and the glee,
But the love and the balance were foreign to me.
"If you love, you have balance and with balance you can
Keep all things in perspective," said Wooden the man.
So released from myself, I then loved and was free,
 And was loved in return. Now that balance, you see!
So maturity gifted this ex-simpleton,
And it one day awakened the sense in this son.
I was weaned of the error and focused above,
And was sold on the two words of "balance" and "love".
Swen Nater

For more information visit

Enter a list of email addresses, separated by spaces, to send this issue to.

Email a Friend

Return to Issue List

Our Services
Why Wooden's Wisdom
Presentation Team
Wooden's Wisdom Leaders
Leadership Resource Center
Member Login

© Copyright 2024 | # of Times Wooden's Wisdom Issues Opened: 6,615,221

Hosting & Design