Define Dream Success Like John Wooden

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Define Dream Success Like John Wooden

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. – John Wooden.

Saturday afternoon, retired UCLA coach John Wooden was on the bay area PBS channel 22, in a program titled John Wooden: Values, Victory and Peace of Mind.  Luckily for me and my dream of understanding how we are inspired, this show saved me the trouble of having to go to Borders and find a new book.

I am a fan of coach Wooden because I remember those amazing basketball years when he was the coach at UCLA.  If you ask any sports fanatic, they will tell you that John Wooden is the greatest coach who ever lived.

Back then I was dating a cute, great basketball player myself.

Unfortunately he didn’t live by John Wooden’s pyramid of success.  But  – neither did I.  If you ask UCLA basketball players what coach Wooden taught them, they will say that he taught them to put on their socks correctly and to be a success. He felt the socks were the most important thing.

Looking at my teenage son’s dirty socks strewn about our place – I am inclined to agree.  I digress.

On Saturday, while lounging with my son, I channel-surfed to PBS channel 22 just as this John Wooden special appeared.

John Wooden is a depression era baby – just like my mother.  While watching him on PBS, I realized we are slowly loosing our greatest generation.  The generation who fought in WW1 and 2 – the generation who made the 1960’s possible.

The generation who sparked our generation to change.

We still have  so much to learn from them.

Coach Wooden is a little old fashioned, and I say this endearingly, because I would say this about my 81-year-old mother.  As much as I might want to lament about aging parents — I do need old-fashioned people in my life.

They are like the arguing counsel in a lawsuit: they force  us to look at our best intentions.

Coach Wooden still teaches his pyramid of success – which he taught to all his basketball players.  He believes that if we build a solid foundation in life, then the rest (the top of the pyramid) will naturally happen.

I offer you John Wooden’s pyramid for success

Success pyramid

He emphasizes that the bottom floor of the pyramid is the most important part -  the foundation.

I notice here how friendship is one of the building blocks at the bottom of the pyramid, which makes me think about each of the women in 8 Women Dream.  8 building blocks, or really, 8 foundation blocks.

I offer an 8 Women Dream version of this pyramid –

8 Women Dream success pyramid

As my son and I watched the TV program we were told of the 7 point creed that coach Wooden lives by.

John Wooden’s 7 Point Creed was given to him by his father Joshua upon his graduation from grammar school – it is:

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

Which made me think of what a Dream creed could be  –

  • Be true to your dream.
  • Make each day your masterpiece.
  • Help others achieve their dreams.
  • Drink deeply from good books, especially books about dream achievement.
  • Make friendships and support the group like a fine piece of art.
  • Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  • Meditate for guidance to help you with your dream, and give thanks for your blessings every day.

If you are interested in hearing John Wooden theories first hand, he was interviewed by Charlie Rose in 2000 –

On THAT note, I’ll leave you with one final Wooden quote –

The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.

Like the women of 8 Women Dream, along with our significant others, children and the greatest generation to guide us.

And you will be a dream success.


  • Marie

    I adored John!

  • Allan Gerand

    Excellent blog post; Nice site; interesting idea for a blog . . .

  • This tech chick

    My husband would appreciate this blog post. We were just talking about him.

  • Catherine

    Ah Wendy – you are always too kind!

  • Wendy

    Hi Catherine,
    I probably will not remember the pyramid, but I do like the seven point creed. Thanks again for leading this group. You are inspiring!

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Thank you ladies for being kind enough to read this post – laugh- John Wooden is amazing and he deserves recognition for all he has done to inspire people to live a successful life.

  • Cath, I love your 8womendream version of the pyramid and the 8womendream creed your wrote!

    I’m just amazed that you can *still* find new material to inspire us all after being up all night making sure the Website is intact…. You’re a total rockstar!

    Great to see you Friday night… Henry and I had a great time talking with you and it was wonderful to finally meet the whole crew!

    Excited for what is coming for all of us – here’s to living all our dreams in 2010 and beyond!


  • But thank you Kim – you must have been writing your kind thoughts while I was berating my post.

    Thank you for being the one person who is going to read this post ;-)!

  • BLAH!

  • Wow, ever write a post that turns out bad? Yep, this is one for me which goes to show that I should never write a post when i am tired – you sort of look at it the next day and say HUH?

    This is where I want to scrap it and start over, but then I should leave it as an example that anyone can have a bad posting day – even when they like to write.

    But I am definitely going to have to edit this when I get a chance!!

  • Kim, the traveler

    Thanks for inspiring us as usual!!