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Issue 72 - The Person Who is Afraid to Risk Failure Seldom Has to Face Success

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 2 Issue 72
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login




This idea shaped the thinking, coaching and leadership style of Coach Wooden.

 In his book Wooden On Leadership with Steve Jamison, Coach describes how he communicated this approach to his players:
I told our team many times: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” By that, I meant to make a decision, take action, decide what you’re going to do and do it.
Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all. Initiate quickly, but not carelessly or in a hurried manner that makes a miscue more likely. I applied this same advice to my own actions. Do not be afraid of mistakes, even of failure.
In Wooden On Leadership, Dave Meyers, a former UCLA and NBA player, contrasted Coach Wooden's approach with what he encountered in professional basketball:
As a pro, absolutely nothing else mattered but winning. If you missed a shot or made a mistake, you were made to feel bad about it because all eyes were on the scoreboard. Winning was all that mattered and all anybody talked about: “We’ve got to win this game,” or “We should have won that game.”
Coach Wooden didn't talk about winning, ever—only the effort, the preparation, doing what it takes to bring out our best in practice and games. Let winning take care of itself.
For Coach Wooden, the only real failure was failure to prepare. With this approach there was no need to have fear of taking action because of a potential result.
In his book Wooden A Lifetime of Observations On and Off The Court with Steve Jamison, Coach describes his approach when decisions didn’t work out:
You can always look back and see where you might have done something differently, changed this or that. If you can learn something, fine, but never second-guess yourself. It's wasted effort. If I put a substitution in during a game at UCLA and he immediately makes a mistake, was my decision wrong? Absolutely not.
It just didn't work out. That was the decision I made based on past experience and without emotionalism. I made it with reason, but it just didn't work out. Things don't always work out. It's also true in life. Does worrying about it, complaining about it, change it? Nope, it just wastes your time.
Focus on preparation; take action and have no self recrimination when the results aren’t to your satisfaction. In The Essential Wooden with Steve Jamison, Coach summed it up this way:
If we allow the fear of failure to keep us from acting, we will never reach our full potential.
 Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom



Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


Our Deepest Fear


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us;
It's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson





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