Andy Hill with Ms Morrison

I was delighted to hear Andy Hill speak at the NAPFA—National Association of Personal Financial Advisors—National Conference in Chicago yesterday.   He played guard for John Wooden’s UCLA Basketball team.  Andy had the courage to call Coach Wooden decades later, to reconnect, and Coach Wooden warmly invited him to visit.  Andy would grow close to Coach Wooden, listening to hours of conversation, and accompanying Coach Wooden on several dozen speaking engagements, such that he regaled us with an hour of Coach Wooden’s principles.

Curious to me, that despite the magnificent winning record during those glory years, Andy said that Coach Wooden didn’t talk about winning.  He focused on EFFORT, not winning; focused on process, not outcomes.

Coach Wooden apparently had an 8 principle mantra:

  • demonstration,
  • imitation,
  • correction and
  •  repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition.

(I think the parallels to creating an effective investment portfolio are similar: I demonstrate that index-like investments have performed admirably over history, we imitate the various “indexes”, we re-balance the proportions as necessary, and effectively continue that process until we achieve our financial and personal goals.)

Coach Wooden admonished athletes, “Be quick, but don’t hurry”.  Again, we women investors can learn from that saying; we need to be in the investing game–save quickly, yet not be in a hurry to reap medium-to-long-term rewards in the short term.  It’s common sense, yet worthy of stating, for sure.  That concept–be quick, but don’t hurry–so intrigued Andy, that he decided to write a book with that title.  He called Coach Wooden asking him if he’d agree to have his name associated with him and the book, and Coach Wooden denied his request twice, before Andy persistently called yet a third time, and was finally granted the request.  Fast forward, Andy wrote the book, and the rest is history.

I, too, think that if we focus on the “right” things, we can win, without being obsessed with winning.  We can then lose and instead of evoking a tirade, we can think hard about what we might have done differently, so the next time we face a similar situation, we can produce a better result.