Friday, June 11, 2010

The Wisdom of a Champion – Part V

At the top of Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is what he referred to as Competitive Greatness.  He defined Competitive Greatness as “A real love for the hard battle, knowing it offers the opportunity to be at your best when your best is required.”

He stated, “Competitive Greatness is not defined by victory nor denied by defeat.  It exists in the effort that precedes those two ‘impostors’ as well as their accomplices: fame, fortune, and power…”

Coach Wooden believed that Competitive Greatness is described in the poem written by sportswriter Grantland Rice, “The Great Competitor”:

Beyond the winning and the goal,

beyond the glory and the fame,

he feels the flame within his soul,

born of the spirit of the game.

And where the barriers my wait,

Built up by the opposing Gods,

He finds a thrill in bucking fate

And riding down the endless odds.

Where others wither in the fire

Or fall below some raw mishap,

Where others lag behind or tire

And break beneath the handicap.

He finds a new and deeper thrill

To take him on the uphill spin,

Because the test is greater still,

And something he can revel in.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Wisdom of a Champion – Part IV

Near the top of Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success are two leadership characteristics, poise and confidence, that emerge as a result of having successfully applied the qualities of the first three tiers of the pyramid.

POISE – Coach Wooden defines poise as “being true to oneself, not getting rattled, thrown off, or unbalanced regardless of the circumstance or situation.”  In his book, Wooden on Leadership, we read, “Poise means holding fast to your beliefs and acting in accordance with them, regardless of how bad or good the situation may be.  Poise means avoiding pose or pretense, comparing yourself to others, and acting like someone you’re not.  Poise means having a brave heart in all circumstances.”

CONFIDENCE – the firmly held belief that you have achieved a high level of competence through dedicated study and preparation.  Confidence is the awareness of having consistently made the sacrifice and effort necessary to turn personal and team potential into high level performance.  Coach Wooden warns that confidence must regularly be monitored so it does not turn into arrogance or a feeling of superiority.  It is this sense of elitism that discourages continuous hard work and effort and ultimately leads to mediocrity and failure.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Wisdom of a Champion – Part III

Today I want to introduce you to the middle, or as Coach Wooden often referred to it, the “heart” of his Pyramid of Success.

In order to be successful in any area of your life, Coach Wooden believed that you must possess the qualities of Condition, Skill and Team Spirit.

CONDITION – In addition to possessing physical strength, Coach Wooden believed that individuals and teams must also have mental and moral strength.  Mental and moral strength is a byproduct of the consistent practice of moderation and balance in all you do.  Coach Wooden often cautioned his team by saying, “…when moderation and balance are lacking in their choices and subsequent actions, the team can be damaged; dissipation is destructive.”

There is a choice you have to make, in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you. –Anon

SKILL – Coach Wooden believed that whatever your role in life you must be able to master and perform all aspects of your work with great skill.  The best leaders are those who value life-long learning.  As leaders you must not only acquire and apply knowledge and skill in your own life, but you must be able to effectively instill that knowledge and skill in the hearts and minds of those on your team.

TEAM SPIRIT – Team unity and cohesion is critical to organizational success.  Coach Wooden agreed, but added that team spirit is “an eagerness to sacrifice personal interests or glory for the welfare of all.”  Team spirit embodies selflessness and consideration and elevates the goals of the entire team above all else.  Whether you are leading your family, children, a sports team, volunteer group or corporation, your success will be contingent on your ability to foster a team

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Wisdom of a Champion – Part II

Yesterday I shared with you the first tier of Coach John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success”.  UCLA’s legendary Coach John Wooden died last Friday at the age of 99.  Coach Wooden attributed much of the success he and his teams achieved over the years to the application of his fundamental principles of leadership.

Coach Wooden described the second tier of his “Pyramid of Success” as being less about the heart and more about the head.  It involves the execution of mental processes that reflect a strong will to achieve and win in all areas of life.  Consider the next four values identified by Coach Wooden in his “Pyramid of Success”.

– Coach Wooden emphasized the importance of exercising control of one’s emotions as well as behavior.  He believed that self-control in the little things leads to self-control of the bigger things.  Self-control starts with the leader and must be consistently modeled to each team member in both word and deed.

ALERTNESS – Alertness is “the ability to be constantly observing, absorbing and learning from what’s going on around you. “ As a leader, Wooden believed that you must always be awake, alive and alert when it comes to assessing yourself as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your team and your competition.

INITIATIVE – To be an effective leader and team member you must demonstrate the initiative to execute.  Don’t worry about mistakes or even failure because you can learn great things from both.  Wooden recognized that the leader who has a fear of failure, and consequently hesitates to act, rarely meets with success.

INTENTNESS – According to Coach Wooden, the word intentness conveys diligence, determination, fortitude and resolve—persistence.  “A leader lacking Intentness will find himself or herself leading a team intent on giving up.

Live, Work and Relate

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Wisdom of a Champion – Coach John Wooden

Last Friday we lost one of the most successful and beloved coaches of all time.  John Wooden, UCLA’s legendary basketball coach, died at the age of 99 – just four months short of his 100th birthday.

In his 40 years of coaching high school and college basketball, Coach Wooden had 885 wins and only 203 losses.  His UCLA Bruins still hold the NCAA record for winning 88 straight games from 1971 to 1974.  He also led the Bruins to an unprecedented 10 National Championships.

John Wooden will not only be remembered for his success on the basketball court, but for his success in life.  Several years ago I read John Wooden’s autobiography and was greatly impressed by his insights on leadership and success. This week I will share some of Coach Wooden’s legendary teachings on living, working and relating well.

John Wooden is probably best known for the principles he taught his teams over the years known as the “Pyramid of Success”.  Wooden wrote in his book, “After much reflection, trial and error, and some soul searching, I choose 15 fundamental values as blocks for my Pyramid of Success.  I believe they are prerequisites for a leader and an organization whose goal is to perform at the highest level of which they are capable.”  Here is the first tier, the foundation, of Mr. Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success”.

Whether you are leading your family, a sports team or a team of professionals at work, these fundamentals of success can help you achieve the highest levels of performance.

First Tier of the “Pyramid of Success”

INDUSTRIOUSNESS – There is “no substitute for old-fashioned work” according to Wooden.  “Without it crops aren’t planted, corn won’t grow, hay isn’t harvested. You perish.”

ENTHUSIASM – “You must be enthusiastic if you are to stimulate others. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Today’s College Students Have Less Empathy

One of the most critically important relationship skills is empathy. It is the willingness and ability to see life through another person’s eyes. To understand their unique perspective and to relate to what they feel.

According to a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan today’s college students do not demonstrate as much empathy as students from the 1980’s and 1990’s.

According to Sara Konrath of U-M Institute for Social Research, “College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.”

Empathy is an important trait needed to establish and maintain strong interpersonal relationships. One’s ability to demonstrate empathy helps to build relationship connections through the development of understanding, trust and intimacy. Relationships lacking empathy are far less satisfying, potentially abusive and much less likely to last long-term.

Konrath went on to say, “Many people see the current group of college students — sometimes called ‘Generation Me’ — as one of the most self-centered, narcissistic, competitive, confident and individualistic in recent history,”

What’s responsible for this decline in empathy among college students?

According to Konrath and U-M graduate student, Edward O’Brien, there are several possible explanations. “The increase in exposure to media during this time period could be one factor,” Konrath said. “Compared to 30 years ago, the average American now is exposed to three times as much non-work related information. In terms of media content, this generation of college students grew up with video games, and a growing body of research, including work done by my colleagues at Michigan, is establishing that exposure to violent media numbs people to the pain of others.”

O’Brien further speculates that the increase in social media may also be partially responsible for the decline

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Mother’s Love

There are times when only a Mother’s love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappoints
And calm all of our fears.
There are times when only a Mother’s love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we’ve dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.
There are times when only a Mother’s faith
Can help us on life’s way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.
For a Mother’s heart and a Mother’s faith
And a Mother’s steadfast love
Were fashioned by the Angels
And sent from God above.
Author Unknown

Happy Mother’s Day!

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Senator Brown and the Value of Speaking Up!

Regardless of your political party affiliation you have to admit that what we all just witnessed in the Massachusetts Senate race yesterday was amazing. It was the direct result of the people of the state being willing to exercise their right and responsibility to speak up with their vote.

Only a few weeks ago it was believed that the chances of Republican Scott Brown being elected to serve in the U.S. Senate were low to impossible. This election outcome is a great example of how letting your voice be heard can bring about almost unbelievable results.

The importance and value of letting your voice be heard extends far beyond political elections and into your own home and relationships. Many people settle for poor or mediocre relationships because they are unwilling to speak up. They often don’t speak up because of their fear of being opposed, rejected, insulted, embarrassed or humiliated. Unfortunately, when you stay quiet you typically get what you ask for – nothing!

If you are tired of settling for a less than satisfying relationship in your life begin the practice of speaking up. Speaking up begins with giving yourself permission to identify what is and isn’t acceptable or beneficial to you and your relationships. It then involves learning how to value your needs, opinions and ideas so you are more motivated to express them in an open, honest and direct fashion.

When you are ready to speak up it is important to use good judgment and discernment as well as appropriate and respectful communication. Don’t worry; you will get better at this with regular practice.

If you want or need more from your relationships, speak up! Like Senator Brown, you may find yourself experiencing unbelievable results!

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back From a Great Weekend

My wife and I just returned from a long weekend up in northern Arizona where we enjoyed much cooler temperatures while we celebrated my birthday. We had a fantastic time together with just the right mix of recreation and relaxation. It’s always great to get reconnected with Kendra by getting away from the daily distractions and busyness of our lives to just have fun and to reflect on the wonderful blessings we have been given.

If you want to make an average marriage great or a great marriage even better, get away from your day-to-day routine by spending some long weekends together with your husband or wife at least two to three times a year. It will help you maintain a healthy perspective and it will likely be a good reminder of why you got married in the first place.

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Lesson From the Life of Senator Kennedy

Over the weekend, I watched some of the coverage of Senator Edward Kennedy’s memorial service. As I listened to the eulogies I was struck by how often Senator Kennedy was described as someone who paid close attention to the needs of those around him – even non-Democrats.

As I watched and listened to the stories being told about Senator Kennedy, I remembered another story I had read not long ago that reinforced the importance of paying attention to those around us.

Debbie was an exceptional nursing student. One day her instructor gave the class a pop quiz. Like usual, Debbie breezed through the quiz without a problem until she came to the last question. The question asked, “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Debbie thought it was some kind of joke. She recalled seeing the woman many times, but never knew her name.

When the instructor was asked if the question would count as part of their score he said, “Absolutely.” “In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’.” Debbie never forgot that important lesson. She also learned that the ladies name was Dorothy.

Do you take the time to demonstrate interest in the people you interact with on a regular basis, like your neighbors, store cashiers, or co-workers? Remember they are all significant and deserve your interest and attention.

No doubt we can learn many things from the life of Senator Kennedy, but perhaps one of the most important lessons is that a life well lived is a life of service to others.

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd