This is an excerpt from Finding Mastery #099 with USA Women’s Water Polo head coach Adam Krikorian in which he explains why being humble and confident are words that cut to the center of what he understands most.


Michael Gervais: Is there one word or a phrase that cuts to the center of what you understand the most?

Adam Krikorian: One word or phrase. Well I think there’s a few phrases that are in my mind right now.

We were talking about Coach Wooden. He always used to say, “No written word, no spoken plea, could teach the students what they must be, nor all the books on the shelves, it’s what the teachers are themselves.”

I think that’s unique in this day and age. Everyone’s speaking and everyone’s saying a lot but it’s what you do, it’s who you are to the core.

That’s most important in terms of being a leader.

The other phrase that we use a lot as a team is being humble enough to prepare, but confident enough to perform . That was something I always talked about with the group. I love the word enough because again we’re not straying too far one way or the other.

If you’re not humble, if you’re full of yourself and arrogant, you’re not going to take the time to prepare, to do all the little things and details that it takes to be successful. At the same time you need to be confident when you’re out there and performing.

Michael Gervais: Those two statements seem like your philosophy for growth and your philosophy for being.

Adam Krikorian: Yes.

Michael Gervais: Right.

Adam Krikorian: 100%

Michael Gervais: Yes so a philosophy is a fancy word for the filter that you push decisions and actions through. And so for you, for becoming, it’s got to be let’s be humble and let’s also be able to be confident.

Adam Krikorian: Yeah

Michael Gervais: Right. And so in that arc we’re going to progressively grow.

Adam Krikorian: Right.

Michael Gervais: And then the first one was a John Wooden quote which was about be about it.

Adam Krikorian: Right.

Michael Gervais: It’s not in the books, it’s the experience.


Listen to full podcast here.


Adam Krikorian is an American water polo coach and the head coach of the United States women's national water polo team. He coached the team to gold medals at both the 2012 Olympic Games and 2016 Olympic Games.