John Wooden: Character over Reputation

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Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

This is post #18 in a series of posts in a book I read on my Philippines trip and en route home. It contains leadership insights from the most victorious team in sports history (winning percentage = 86% as of the writing of the book): The All Blacks, The New Zealand National Rugby Union Team.

“John Wooden said, ‘Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what you think you are.’ Character is forged by the way we respond to the challenges of life and business, by the way we lead our life and teams. If we value life, life values us. If we devalue it, we dishonor ourselves and our one chance at living. This is our time.”

John Wooden as cited by James Kerr in Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About The Business of Life (London: Constable, 2013) 180.

The Generosity Consultation is going great in Ecuador. The header photo of the volcano in the Andes Mountains near the seminary gives you a glimpse of the beauty of this place. It’s been a peaceful and powerful week.

But it does not always go this way. Sometimes, our lives are filled with challenges. God allows them to make us into people of great character and hope. I’ve got a way to go on this one. Perhaps you do too?

To join the club and learn the secret of responding rightly to challenges of life or business, we must follow the Apostle Paul’s advice. We must glory in our sufferings.

What does that mean and what does it have to do with generosity? To glory in them is to warmly welcome them as constructive and for your good, rather than freaking out or getting bitter and angry.

This positions us for growth and for facing new challenges. As stewards, we have a limited window to make an impact for God. Don’t waste a moment worrying about things you can’t sort. Trust God and lead boldly.

This is your time. The best part about this way forward is twofold. There is no shame, and the love of God poured out on our hearts when we live, give, serve and love generously.