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The Second Most Important Thing Is Balance

Coach Wooden thought the most important word in our language was love, and the second most important was balance:

We must keep things in perspective. Balance is keeping things in perspective. Don’t get carried away if things are going too well or too poorly. Don’t get carried away, just continue or make the effort to do the best you can at whatever you’re doing.

In his book Wooden on Leadership with Steve Jamison, Coach commented on the importance of balance for a leader:

I strove for balance in my leadership and coaching and taught that balance was necessary for competitive greatness. The body has to be in balance; the mind has to be in balance; emotions must be in balance.
Balance is important everywhere and in everything we do.
The leader must set the example, not only in areas of right and wrong—character, of course—but elsewhere.
In my opinion, effective leaders understand that moderation and balance are linked to long-term success.
Workaholics, for example, lack balance. Imbalance, in my opinion, is a weakness that sooner or later causes problems. The first problem is likely to be inconsistency in performance.
Excess in just about anything has the potential to create erratic performance.
Communicate this fact throughout the ranks, and, of course, don’t forget that your own example is frequently the very best method of communication.

Coach believed that the ability to balance work and family was a result of hard work and careful planning. “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail” and “Don’t mistake activity for achievement were the two cornerstones of Coach’s meticulous process of organizing and executing his daily schedule.

Related: The Most Important Thing Is Love

PHOTO BY @carlo_vstek via Twenty20

Craig Impelman
As Coach Wooden’s grandson-in-law, Craig Impelman had the opportunity to learn Coach’s teachings firsthand and wrote about those lessons for his site, He is a motivational speaker and the author of Wooden’s Wisdom, a weekly “e-coaching module” that is distributed to companies nationally.