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Issue 313 - Belief and Purpose

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 8 Issue 313
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Coach Wooden had a great sense of belief and purpose. This quote of his summed up how he felt about his religious belief:
"If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me."
He also believed in the rights of others. Coach summed it up this way:
I respect those whose faith is different from mine. Thus, I was not particularly concerned with what religious beliefs my student - athletes held, although I did want them to believe in something, because it can make you a better person. I told them, "Have a faith, a religion, and know why you believe in it. Stand up for those beliefs, but respect the rights of others to believe in their own faith."
The second part of his belief system was simple: Help others. This excerpt from an article in Esquire magazine gives a good example of how his help others belief was sometimes contagious:
"When my son was in high school, he wanted a car. I said, "You work hard in the summer and save up for half, and I'll pay the other half." So he saved up, and I came home one day and Nellie was distraught. Jim had given his money to a friend. I said to Jim, "Do you think you'll get it back?" He said, "Dad, what did you always teach me? He's my friend. Haven't I heard you say your greatest joy is doing something for someone with no thought of something in return?" Hearing your own words come back at you can make you smile. Later that year, his friend paid him back."
Coach admired people with a great sense of purpose in their life. In the wonderful book Coach Wooden and Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Coach talked about a Japanese kamikaze pilot that crashed into a Navy ship Coach had been scheduled to be on:
"I was thinking about the pilot. The Japanese gentleman so committed to his cause that he was willing to sacrifice his own life. One can’t help but admire that dedication, that sense of purpose."
At the age of 75 Coach struggled with his own sense of purpose when his wife of 53 years Nell passed away. He put it this way:
"With Nell, I always had that sense of purpose. I knew what I was here for. To be her husband. When she died, that sense of purpose died with her."
Coach continued and explained to Kareem how he found his purpose again:
"I’ve found my sense of purpose again. Well, not found it as much as remembered it. My children of course, and now my beautiful great-granddaughter." Cori Nicholson, his first great-grandchild was born five and a half months after Nell’s death.
We may have different beliefs and purpose but it is important to have them and as Coach showed, never too late to find them again.
What are your beliefs? What’s your sense of purpose?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise




When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colors have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it -- lie down for an aeon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew!

And those that were good shall be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair;
They shall find real saints to draw from -- Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!

And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master shall blame;
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in their separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as they see It for the God of Things as They Are!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)






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