When John Wooden was a boy, his father gave him a piece of paper with seven principles that his father hoped would guide him through life. Young John folded the piece of paper and put it in his wallet. He kept that piece of paper in his wallet for the rest of his life. John Wooden grew up to be the greatest basketball coach in history and his thought leadership has inspired millions.

The seven principles his father gave him that day would later be known as John Wooden’s 7-Point Creed, which has been used in leadership training around the world.

John Wooden’s 7-Point Creed

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Make friendship a fine art.
  3. Make each day your masterpiece.
  4. Build shelter against a rainy day.
  5. Help others.
  6. Drink deeply from good books.
  7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

What a great legacy to leave for your children! These principles are certainly full of wisdom and good advice for all of us. Wooden’s father clearly demonstrated that one person can truly effect the lives of many. I often think to myself what kind of legacy I am leaving for my kids. What will they remember most about me after I’m gone? How will my role as their dad impact their life and the lives of others?

So what would I say to my kids that could be as impactful? Most probably, it wouldn’t be anything I say at all; they watch the things I do — my attitude and actions — and use that as a kind of standard. Hearing the story of John Wooden’s father giving him that piece of paper reminded me that being a dad is the most important job I have. Much more important than being a UX Designer.

Thanks, Mr. Wooden!

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