Do you need help tying your shoes?

This is a task that many of us have mastered for many years. It is so routine we can bend down to do this without looking or breaking a conversation with a friend. Tying our shoes is one of the most common daily tasks. So, imagine that your first day on your new college campus begins with a lesson on tying your shoes. How would you feel at the moment? Would you be offended that during one of your first experiences as an adult, you are being treated like a child?

Well, this was the experience of some of the greatest basketball players in the country when they arrived at their first basketball practice at UCLA. Before they hit the court to practice the plays they ran to win 7 consecutive NCAA championship, Coach John Wooden directed them to remove their socks and shoes before guiding them through the careful process of putting on socks and tying their shoes properly. To Coach Wooden, the foundation mattered. If the feet were not right, it impacted the whole body.

It was more than a basketball lesson, it was a life-lesson. It was the foundation for what Coach Wooden called the Pyramid of Success. His pyramid was laid on five foundational characteristics: Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, and Enthusiasm.

Building a Strong Foundation

These five foundational qualities extend beyond the basketball court to create a foundation of success in your education, career, and life.



This may not be a word that we use often, but it is essential to your success on any path. We talk to business owners regularly about their expectations of new employees – show up when expected a mind to work and an eagerness to learn. With that attitude, they will teach you the skills to be successful. This is industriousness at its core.



You often hear about choosing friends wisely, however, this characteristic is about you. Are you a good friend? Does your presence make your team better no matter what your contribution is?



Coach Wooden described loyalty this way, “Be true to yourself. Be true to others.”



Since we have two ears and one mouth, it has been said that we need to listen twice as much as we speak. This is essential as you enter a career. Your education and training will equip you for your career, however, it will take time to develop a reputation. Be observant, ask questions, listen well and your opportunity to share your voice will come.



Whatever task you are asked to complete, your energy and curiosity will not only impact your attitude, but it will be contagious. Whether you are on your first day of the job or a seasoned veteran, your enthusiasm can raise the performance of your team.

So, as you begin each day by putting on your shoes, take time to consider the type of foundation that is crafting for your day. What will you do practice the five foundational qualities in your life today?