Own My Growth

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The Road Ahead Or The Road Behind

The Road Ahead

Coach John Wooden is one of my favorite leadership thinkers. I have a collection of some of his old recordings that I keep going back to whenever I feel like giving myself a dose of inspiration. There is an old video of his that has been curated by Ted Talks where he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quoting poetry and remembering his father’s wisdom.

I am reproducing below one of the poems that John Wooden shares with the audience in this video . The poem was composed by his friend George Moriarty who was himself a Major League Baseball player, umpire and manager, and it captures the essence of what success is – giving our best. Enjoy reading it.

Sometimes I think the Fates must
Grin as we denounce them and insist
The only reason we can’t win
Is the Fates themselves have missed.

Yet there lives on an ancient claim
We win or lose within ourselves
The shining trophies on our shelves
Can never win tomorrow’s game
You and I know deeper down
There’s always a chance to win the crown

But when we fail to give our best
We simply haven’t met the test
Of giving all, and saving none
Until the game is really won

Of showing what is meant by grit
Of fighting on when others quit
Of playing through, not letting up
It’s bearing down that wins the cup
Of taking it and taking more
Until we gain the winning score

Of dreaming there’s a goal ahead
Of hoping when our dreams are dead
Of praying when our hopes have fled
Yet losing, not afraid to fall
If bravely, we have given all

For who can ask more of a man
Than giving all within his span
Giving all, it seems to me
Is not so far from victory

And so the Fates are seldom wrong
No matter how they twist and wind
It is you and I who make our fates
We open up or close the gates
On the road ahead or the road behind.

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