"Everything you've been told about building
an injury law practice is wrong"

Make Each Day Your Masterpiece

Former UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, arguably the most successful coach in American sports history, taught far more than basketball. Winning was never mentioned by Coach Wooden and he never talked about championships or the score.

Coach Wooden focused on continual improvement of his team and thought out his lesson plan for each day with great precision.  Coach Wooden placed great significance on every single minute of his practices and refused to waste even a single minute.  Coach Wooden is known for saying that he kept track of minutes like a banker kept track of dollars and planned meetings as though his life depended on it.

Coach Wooden never thought he knew everything or that his way was the only way. Coach Wooden was continually absorbed in self-improvement for himself and his team. Each member of the team knew what they were supposed to be doing and when they were going to do it. The end result: 10 national championships in 12 seasons.

Pearls of Wisdom for Lawyers from Coach Wooden

What if you ran your law firm like Coach Wooden ran his basketball teams?  The principles of Coach Wooden’s success apply equally to your law firm. My challenge for you: Write 4-5 of your favorite quotes on a sticky note, post them on a wall or computer screen and use them as a source of inspiration. When you’re having a tough day or doubt what you’re doing, look to Coach Wooden’s timeless advice for help.

Below are my favorite quotes from “Wooden on Leadership” about leadership, success, character/values, failure and mistakes, self-improvement, time management and team play (my favorite quotes are in bold print and italicized).


“The journey to become the best of which you and your team are capable.”

“Leadership itself is largely learned.”

There is no more powerful leadership tool than your own personal example.

“First and foremost, you are their leader, not their buddy.”

“Making friends was not the responsibility or the goal of leadership.”

“A strong leader accepts blame and gives the credit.”

“Control of self is essential for consistency in leadership.”

“The struggle itself, the test, is what gives value to the prize and is something the competitive leader truly revels in.”

“A strong leader inspires teams to relish the competition itself and view the outcome as a by-product.”

“A good leader creates belief—in the leader’s philosophy, in the organization, in the mission.”

A leader who tries to lead without love will turn around one day and find there is nobody following.

“Sharing credit is a surefire way of improving the performance results for any organization.”

“Your ability as leader to set and achieve high standards in the domain of detail—to insist that average will be well above average—is one of the accurate predictors of how effective you will be as a leader.”

A casual approach to executing the details of a job ensures that the job will be done poorly.


“Most of us have a potential far beyond what we think possible.”

“Never cease trying to be the best you can become.”

“Losing is not the end of the world, not does victory put me on top of it.”

“Success is found in the running of the race.”

“Effort is the ultimate measure of your success.”

“Focus on running the race rather than winning it.”

“Fame, fortune and power—measurements of success I rejected long ago.”

When you give your total effort—everything you have—the score can never make you a loser.

“Compete only against yourself.”

“Competitive greatness is not defined by victory nor denied by defeat.”

“Success is yours when you summon the will to put forth everything you have.”

Focus on the process rather than the prize.”

“Winning is the result of process.”

“Little things make the big things happen.”

“When you’ve done your best, you may call yourself a success.”

“I do not judge success by championships; rather, I judge it on how close we came to realizing our potential.”

“Don’t make the mistakes of overemphasizing results.”

“It is impossible to attain perfection, but that should be your goal.”

“Creating a written definition of success was a necessary exercise.”

“Strive always for improvement.”

“Accomplishing important things takes time.”


“Failure is a necessary ingredient of success.”

The team that makes the most mistakes usually wins.

“A basketball team that won’t risk mistakes will not outscore opponents.”

“Don’t live in fear of making a mistake.”

“Do not be afraid of mistakes, even of failure.”

Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.”

“The only thing to fear is your own unwillingness to make the full, 100% effort to prepare and perform at the highest level of your ability.”


“Reputation is what others perceive you as being…character is what you really are and nobody truly knows that but you.”

“Keep your poise at all times.”

Adversity makes us stronger.

“Poise means having a brave heart in all circumstances.”

“That’s what leaders are paid to do, perform under pressure.”

“A team lacking self-control will get out-played and usually out scored.”

“Self control is highly prized.”

“Self control in little things leads to control in bigger things.”

“I viewed self-control as a sixth Bruin out on the court.”

“A team with good discipline is simply a reflection of a self-disciplined leader.”

There is a choice you have to make in everything you do.

Dare to stand alone.”

“Great results come only with great effort.”

The hard struggle is to be welcomed, never feared.

“The struggle itself, the test, is what gives value to the prize and is something the competitive leader truly revels in.”

“Don’t whine. Don’t complain.  Don’t make excuses.”


“Make your values visible to the outside world—potential employees and others—know what you stand for and who you are.”

“Your values must be visible if they are to have an impact on those you lead.”

“Good values are like a magnet—they attract good people.”

“Values create an environment of integrity.”

“A leader with character attracts talent with the same.”


“Don’t worry about being better than someone else, but never cease trying to be the best you can become.”

“Never be satisfied.  Work constantly to improve.”

“Improve a little each day.”

“A good leader never stops learning.”

“The best leaders are lifelong learners.”

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

“To successfully compete at any level requires continuous learning and improvement.”

“A leader must continuously be exploring for ways to improve himself in order that he may improve others.”

“You must never become satisfied with your ability or level of knowledge.”

“I was bold as an adult when it came to seeking ideas, opinions and knowledge.”

A leader who is through with learning is through.

“The best CEOs are often credited with developing learning institutions.”

“Lead by example—let those you lead see their leader continually learning.”

“The path to success lies in the realization that there is always more to learn.”

“Seek improvement constantly…always looking for a better way of doing things.”

Time Management

“Time is tangible, a commodity as touchable as gold.”

“Time, used correctly, is among your most potent assets.”

A good leader understands that without time you are left with virtually nothing.

“Those minutes can go by quickly—evaporate—if you’re careless with them.”

“One rule that never changed: Be on time.”

“I learned how to get the most out of every minute…Each and every minute was accounted for in my practices.”

“Plan every meeting as if your life depends on it.”

“Respect time and it will respect you.”

Lead with the certain knowledge that you don’t have a moment to spare.

Team Players

“Individuals don’t win games, teams do.”

“The start of every successful team is the team.”

“There is only one star that counts: the team.”

Coach Wooden’s Favorite Poem, “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 may 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.

Grantland Rice, “The Great Competitor

photo credit: stickynote via photopin(license)

Leave a comment below telling me what surprised, inspired or taught you the most (I personally respond to every comment). And if you disagree with my take on running a personal injury law firm, or have a specific, actionable tip, I’d love to hear from you.