This past week Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who is the winningest coach in Division I men’s basketball history and has led the Blue Devils to five national championships in his 41 seasons,
will retire after the 2021-22 season.
“My family and I view today as a celebration,” Krzyzewski said in a statement. “Our time at both West Point and Duke has been beyond amazing and we are thankful and honored to have led two college programs at world-class institutions for more than four decades. That, coupled with 11 unforgettable years as the United States National Team coach, has resulted in a remarkable journey. Certainly, I have been blessed to coach some of the finest young men and greatest players in basketball history as a direct result of these unique opportunities. For us, there is no
greater joy than being part of our players’ respective endeavors through basketball, and more importantly, their lives off the court.”
Significant life events influence our emotions, happiness, and our life satisfaction. Retirement can be one of those events. They often prompt us to reflect on our own lives and careers.
When I think about the retirement of a legend like Coach K, or my friends, co-workers, or myself the word that comes to mind when I think about retirement and the impact of a career is the word Legacy.
As you begin your journey or continue to grow and develop, take on new challenges or simply move into a new phase of your life, you will be faced with complications and adversity that may
set you back. Honesty, perseverance, and trustworthiness will become major factors in overcoming these obstacles and creating your personal brand and your legacy. Along the way, you come to a decision point or stage gate. Your choice is simple but profound in each instance – but a decision must be made. Your choices are LEAD, FOLLOW, or GET OUT OF THE WAY.
If you choose to lead you will need to be an honest and trusted leader to establish your vision, mission, and values so that those in your care or supervision will trust you enough to follow. As a
lifelong learner, you are constantly forging a path to transform yourself into a high-character, high-performance leader. You will never be without challenges, both in life and business. But if you are focused and ready to face these complex business challenges and personal changes with discipline, determination, honesty of purpose, and in an ethical manner, you will be successful.
Whether we realize it or not, we are all here to determine what our real intent is in life. For each of us it may be different – for some being a great spouse, parent, leader, and mentor; to have a
legacy or to leave the place a little better than they we found it. Purpose-driven people put their morals, character, and honesty first. Without purpose, we drift. With purpose, we steer. You have
a responsibility to yourself and to others to use your best judgment, weigh your options carefully, and make the right decisions—even if they are not the most favorable or popular, even when no
one is watching! When you do that, you honor yourself and your values.
Wherever your path takes you, know that your trustworthiness is your highest honor. For if you are a trusted leader, others will believe in your vision, mission, and values and will trust in you
enough to follow you. That will be your legacy. As a person your core beliefs are not what you would like them to be, but rather what lives and breathes in you as a person. The good news is
that you will have many opportunities in a career and in life to demonstrate these values and beliefs, but only one chance to get it right each time.
Live your word. Leave a Legacy.
Congratulations Coach K
For more on this topic, pick up your copy of TIGHTEN THE LUG NUTS where many of
these thoughts and concepts are built out further, and visit our website at
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” As you move through difficult periods on your way to success, do the ‘right thing’, take
care of your customers, treat others with dignity and respect, celebrate successes and
your reward will be, “The Leader of Choice.” You will create a place where your people
will thank you for not letting them stray or compromise their values and ethics. They will
be excited about other ways they can participate in successfully reaching their goals and
those of the organization.”
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