The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

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

Issue 311 - Show Me

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 6 Issue 311
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



"Show me what you can do, don't tell me." is a John Wooden quote still popular with many coaches.
When I used to proclaim a grand plan with great enthusiasm, my old boss would give me a quick show me check by telling me: "Well Impelman, you got the talkin' part done."
The idea of "show me don't tell me" is very powerful if we apply it to our own daily behaviors. Consistent good little habits show people your character. This was the essence of John Wooden's life. Here are a few examples and how you might apply them today:
  1. Coach promptly and personally responded to every piece of correspondence he received. I have had many folks tell me about the time they wrote John Wooden a letter and were surprised to receive a timely personal response.

    It is a great habit to politely respond to emails when you receive them, or at least the same day. It is also great to actually answer your phone when you can and if you can't, respond to messages the same day. The sooner the better. This shows politeness, reliability and consideration for others.

  2. I never heard Coach Wooden interrupt anybody or insert himself into a conversation.

    People really appreciate not being interrupted. This shows you are listening. Folks usually do not appreciate it when a third party jumps into their conversation and takes it over even if they act like they are entertained.

  3. Coach never acted like a SMEOE (subject matter expert on everything). Although he was highly regarded, Coach did not feel a need to demonstrate knowledge on every topic. This showed credibility and humility.

    People do not appreciate it when somebody feels like they have to know something on every topic (SMEOE) or when somebody has to one up them on every story (I went to New York last summer…. SMEOE says: Oh yeah, I'm sure that was great, we stopped there on our way to Paris.)

    People are much more impressed by an eagerness to learn and listen than an eagerness to show them how much you know.

  4. I never heard Coach Wooden brag. I never heard him tell a single story about any of his accomplishments. This showed true confidence. If you're good at something you don't need to tell people about it.

    I participated in an event with Kareem Abdul Jabaar and Bill Walton. Kareem talked about how good Bill Russell was and Bill Walton talked about how good Kareem was.

  5. Coach arrived early for everything. He was on the court at 2:30 for every 3:00 practice. He started and stopped every meeting and practice on time. This showed respect.

    When you start and stop meetings and conference calls on time, it shows people you don't think your time is more important than their time.

What do you show people? How?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




Watch Video

Application Exercise



The Noble Nature

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night -
It was the plant and flower of Light
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

Ben Johnson (1572-1637)






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: 6,713,889

Hosting & Design