Posted in leadership, self-improvement

Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success ~ 2013-0909


Coach Wooden’s Definition of Success:

Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success Corner Stones:

  1. Industriousness – There is no substitute for work; People who always try to cut corners will never come close to realizing their full potential. Industriousness is the most conscientious, assiduous and inspired type of work. A willingness to, an appetite for, hard work must be present for success. Without it, you have nothing to build on. You can work without with industrious, but you cannot be industrious without work.
  2. Enthusiasm – You have to like what you’re doing, your heart must be in it. Without enthusiasm you cannot work to your fullest ability. Enthusiasm ignites plain old work and transforms it into industriousness. You must have enthusiasm especially if you are a leader or which to become a leader. If you are knocking your job all the time, get out. Don’t whine, complain or criticize. Just leave.

Between the cornerstones are Friendship, Loyalty and Cooperation:

  1. Friendship: Friendship takes time and understanding. Rarely will you find in working toward a common goal that others will be able to resist friendship if you offer it sincerely and openly. However, may have to prime the pump first so be brave enough to offer friendship.
  2. Loyalty: You must be loyal to work to the best of your ability. Only then do you gain peace and an increasing ability to perform at your highest level.
  3. Cooperation: In order to reach the full potential of the group, there must be cooperation at all levels. This means working together in all ways to accomplish the common goal. To get cooperation, you must give cooperation.

Building on a solid foundation of Industriousness, Enthusiasm, Friendship, Loyalty, and Cooperation:

  1. Self-control: Self control is essential for discipline and mastery of emotions. You cannot function physically or mentally unless your emotions are under control. Complaining, whining, making excuses keep you out of the present. That is where self control comes in. Self control keeps you in the present.
  2. Alertness: There is something going on around us at all times from which we acquire knowledge if we are alert. Too often we get lost in our own tunnel vision, and we don’t see the things that are right in front of us for the taking and learning.
  3. Initiative: You must not be afraid to fail. Initiative is having the courage to make decisions and take action. Keep in mind that we are all going to fail at times. This you must know: none of us is perfect. But if you are afraid of failure, you will never do the things you are capable of doing.
  4. Intentness: Intentness is the ability to resist temptation and stay the course, to concentrate on your objective with determination and resolve. The road to real achievement takes time, a long time but you do not give up. You may have setbacks. You may have to start over. You may have to change your method. You may have to go around, or over or under. You may have to back up and get another start. But you do not quit. You stay the course.

Next row includes Condition, Skill and Team Spirit:

  1. Condition: You must be conditioned for whatever you’re doing if you are going to do it to the best of your ability. To physically conditioning, add mental and moral conditions.
  2. Skill: Skill is at the very center of the pyramid. You have to know what you are doing and be able to do it quickly and properly.
  3. Team Spirit: Team Spirit is the last block in the third tier. It means thinking of others and losing oneself in the group for the good of group.

Nearing the peak includes Poise and Confidence:

  1. Poise: Simply be yourself. You aren’t acting, pretending or trying to be something you’re not. You are being who you are and are totally comfortable with that. Therefore, you’ll function at your own level of competence. You understand that the goal is to satisfy not everyone else’s expectations but your own. You give your total effort to becoming the best you are capable of being.
  2. Confidence: You must believe in yourself if you expect others to believe in you. However, you can’t have poise and confidence unless you’re prepared correctly. Every block is built on the others. When all are in place, poise and confidence result. You don’t force them to happen. They happen naturally from proper preparation.

The peak is Competitive Greatness:

  1. All 14 building blocks are necessary for competitive greatness which is being at your best when you best is needed. It’s enjoying the challenge when things become difficult. Competitors love that challenge. They know it offers the chance to produce their very finest. It brings forth their competitive greatness.

The mortar that hold the pyramid together includes Patience and Faith:

  1. Patience: Most of us are impatient. Patience is a virtue in preparing for any task of significance. It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it. Competitive greatness requires patience. Excellence requires patience. Success requires patience.
  2. Faith: We must have faith that things will work out as they should. However, I’m not saying things will necessarily work out as we want them to do.

The apex is Success:

The highest point of a pyramid is called the apex. In this pyramid, the apex is success. True success is attained only through the satisfaction of knowing you did everything within the limits of your ability to become the very best that you are capable of being.

CITE:  Wooden, J. & Jameson, S. (1997). A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off of the Court. Chicago. Contemporary Books.



Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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