Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

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Archive for the ‘Community/Friends’ Category

True friends bring immeasurable joy.

Challenge Groups & Community

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 16, 2012

The Challenge Groups kicked off around the country this week, and the feedback has been amazing. Communities are essential to the health of individuals, families, and society. The LIFE business builds communities and bonds them together through the Mental Fitness Challenge. If you attended a Challenge Group last night, please share your thoughts and highlights.

Here is one of several articles I have written on community.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

The Desire for Community

The more I read, the more I realize the true secret to success in business and life is related to the strength of relationships within a person’s community. The myth of rugged isolated individualism, although enduring, is, in truth, only a myth. Economic, educational, even political effectiveness are all improved when people work together. Please don’t misunderstand me; I haven’t turned to economic communism; however, I do comprehend better than I previously did how so many people have been drawn into this evil illogical doctrine. Specifically, most people, if given the choice between being alone or in community, will choose community, even if the association is Biblically wrong, thus communism’s growth. In fact, a cursory look at organizations as diverse as communism, the mafia, and gangs will exhibit the enduring need for community.

If community is essential to human beings, then the question is: How do we incorporate community into a society without sacrificing life, liberty, and property? Since liberty cannot exist where the State dictates, the idea of community and freedom precludes State control. Therefore, free communities are misnomers unless they are voluntary organizations. However, although the non-involvement of the State is essential, it isn’t sufficient to create community. The other side of the equation is for people to learn how to work within a community setting. Consequently, the atomistic rugged individualism of American myth must be replaced by men and women who work within a Biblical framework of ordered liberty and love. In other words, the greedy, self-centered capitalist is not a true picture of a free-enterprise Biblical community. In fact, this caricature of American freedoms pinpoints what is plaguing America – the loss of community roots and liberty (Social Power), instead, replaced by today’s (State Power) crony capitalism.

State Power vs. Social Power

Murray Rothbard, the late dean of Austrian Economists, wrote in Conceived in Liberty:

My own basic perspective on the history of man, and a fortiori on the history of the United States, is to place central importance on the great conflict which is eternally waged between Liberty and Power, a conflict, by the way, which was seen with crystal clarity by the American revolutionaries of the eighteenth century. I see the liberty of the individual not only as a great moral good in itself (or, with Lord Acton, as the highest political good), but also as the necessary condition for the flowering of all other goods that mankind cherishes: moral virtue, civilization, the arts and sciences, economic prosperity. Out of liberty, then, stem the glories of civilized life. But liberty has always been threatened by the encroachments of power, power which seeks to suppress, control, cripple, tax, and exploit the fruits of liberty and production. Power, then, the enemy of liberty, is consequently the enemy of all the other goods and fruits of civilization that mankind holds dear. And power is almost always centered in and focused on the central repository of power and violence: the state. With Albert Jay Nock, the twentieth-century American political philosopher, I see history as centrally a race and conflict between “social power” — the productive consequence of voluntary interactions among men — and state power. In those eras of history when liberty — social power — has managed to race ahead of state power and control, the country and even mankind have flourished. In those eras when state power has managed to catch up with or surpass social power, mankind suffers and declines.

In sum, wherever State Power flourishes, Social Power declines. Thankfully, however, the reverse is true as well. By standing on the intellectual shoulders of both Nock and Rothbard, we see that societies can be organized around two competing philosophical choices:

1. State Power: Top down external discipline and the subsequent loss of liberty endured.
2. Social Power: Bottom up internal discipline and the subsequent ordered liberty enjoyed.

Restoring Social Power – Volunteer Communities

The first option (State Power) is the real-life history of America since around the Civil War, with State Power moving ahead and Social Power in subsequent decline. Since 1913, however, the battle has become a full-fledged drubbing, with State Powers triumphing in the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Income Tax amendment, and the democratic election of Senators. In truth, it’s hard to fathom a worse mix of legislation (as related to Social Power) in one year, in one country, than what occurred in America in that disastrous year of 1913. In other words, 1913 wasn’t just (to use Oliver DeMille’s term) a freedom shift, it was a freedom rout. DeMille’s soon-to-be-released book 1913 will elaborate further on these fateful events.

The second option (Social Power) is America’s (and the West’s) best hope for freedom. America needs a community restoration, starting, not from the top down (State Power), but rather, from the bottom up (Social Power), in order to revitalize America. Social Power is fueled by social capital – a sociological concept which refers to the value of social relations and the role of cooperation and confidence to get collective results in any endeavor – to paraphrase Robert Putnam, in is classic Bowling Alone. Putnam explains the key role of social capital, “A society characterized by generalized reciprocity is more efficient than a distrustful society, for the same reason that money is more efficient than barter. If we don’t have to balance every exchange instantly, we can get a lot more accomplished. Trustworthiness lubricates life. Frequent interaction among a diverse set of people tends to produce a norm of generalized reciprocity.” Furthermore, Putnam argues, “Does social capital have salutary effects on individuals, communities, or even entire nations? Yes, an impressive and growing body of research suggests that civic connections help make us healthy, wealthy, and wise. Living without social capital is not easy, whether one is a villager in southern Italy or a poor person in the American inner city or a well-heeled entrepreneur in a high-tech district.” Social capital matters, in other words, both personally, professionally, and politically.

Converting Dreams into Realities through Communities

Putnam goes on to list five specific areas where the trust and understanding inured by social capital helps translate aspirations into realities:

1. Social capital allows citizens to resolve collective problems more easily through improved teamwork.
2. Social capital greases the wheels that allow communities to advance smoothly through improved trust.
3. Social capital helps widen the awareness of fellow citizens that their fates are intertwined through improved understanding.
4. Social capital serves as conduits for the flow of helpful information and resources to accomplish community and individual goals.
5. Social capital improves individual lives through psychological and biological processes. In fact, numerous studies suggest lives that are rich in social capital cope with trauma and illnesses significantly more effectively.

Despite social capital’s overwhelming advantages, Putnam acknowledges its decline, writing, “Americans have had a growing sense at some visceral level of disintegrating social bonds.” Furthermore, he writes, “More than 80% of Americans said there should be more emphasis on community, even if it puts more demands on individuals.” In sum, social capital isn’t just the fuel for Social Power – a necessary check on State Power – but it also enhances individual lives through the sense of belonging engendered within communities. Strikingly, then, the decline of social capital, not only attacks society’s freedoms, but also attacks an individual’s well-being. Simply put, America cannot remain free without a revival of Social Power through building social capital in voluntary communities. With so much at stake, why aren’t more people focused on restoring voluntary communities throughout America and the West? That question will be answered in further articles on Social Power and communities. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Community/Friends, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: | 73 Comments »

Tim Marks: Voyage of a Viking Review

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 17, 2012

Here is a fantastic review of Tim Marks’s book from my friend Oliver DeMille. Oliver describes what many have felt when reading Tim’s book. Rarely, if ever, has a book combined the strengths of autobiography with success thinking as well as Voyage of a Viking has. I am proud of Tim and Amy Marks for their accomplishments and thankful for this powerful book released within the LIFE business. Enjoy the review.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

A Review of Voyage of a Viking by Tim Marks 
Reviewed by Oliver DeMille

Years ago I gave a speech at a business convention. I’ve done a lot of these, so I don’t remember every detail or venue, but several really stand out as memorable. On this occasion, the big arena had many thousands of people, but due to construction there was only one way to the stage and we had to get there early and sit on the wing of the temporary stadium stage with all the speakers for that session. A construction boss walked us all through together to ensure that we were safe and avoided the danger areas.

This turned out to be a real blessing to me, because the speaker who shared the session with me changed my life. He spoke just after me, and because of the special construction circumstances I had to stay after I spoke and listen to what he had to say. I think if I had been scheduled after him I would have been busy thinking about my own speech and not listened closely to his message.

Thankfully, I was highly motivated after my speech, and I listened carefully to every word he said.

He started by saying that nearly all his important lessons in life had come from his struggles, failures, mistakes or losses. He was a fan of golf, and talked about how every golf mistake he made taught him how to be a better golfer. He related this to life and business losses, and discussed at length how he was taught in school to avoid mistakes and focus on the lessons of success—but how real life had taught him exactly the opposite.

It was a moving speech. He had us all pencil out our 5 biggest losses and mistakes in life, and then helped us brainstorm at least three major lessons we should have learned from each. That’s fifteen top lessons, and he assured us that these lessons were some of the things we most need to achieve our goals in life. I was mesmerized, instructed, and moved. The speaker was right: my fifteen lessons have been invaluable to me.

I went away deeply touched by this speech. I have seldom listened to a speech or read a book that was so genuine, so real, so deep, and so powerful. Until today.

Today I read a book that struck me the same way this speech did. Voyage of a Viking by Tim Marks is a must read for anyone who cares about success and leadership. It will apply to moms, dads, mentors, professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and everyone else. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I read the book straight through from the beginning to the end.

I was touched, moved, motivated, instructed. I cried. I read quotes to my wife, and later to two of my kids. I found myself taking notes about my own life, and making plans to be better. This book is incredibly real, genuine, and powerful.
Marks admits that not everything in Viking history should be emulated, but he emphasizes how much we can learn from the positive Viking traits, including such things as yearning for freedom, being courageous explorers and connecting communities. He teaches how the name for the modern Bluetooth comes from the Viking king “Bluetooth” Gormsson of AD 958, a great builder of bridges (literally and figuratively) between communities. This concept of bridge-building is still much needed in all facets of modern leadership.

Marks shows how another Viking trait worthy of emulation is bullheadedness, which combines initiative and innovation with tenacity and ingenuity. Together these form the base of the great entrepreneurial values—they are also the de facto values of the great free societies in history.

One of the most moving things in this book is Marks’ view of what it means to be an adult, a leader, and a man. In many ways this reminds me of one of my favorite authors—Louis L’Amour. Some prestigious universities were criticized a few years back when they began using L’Amour texts in great literature courses, but this didn’t surprise me. Some of his works are, in fact, truly great.
As a youth, one of my favorite pastimes was reading L’Amour. My dad was a school teacher by trade, and my mom was an English teacher for both high school and college, but our family ran a farm with croplands as well as cattle, sheep, horses and other animals, and a lot of my non-school time was spent working with my dad and brothers on the farm.

In later years, after I became an author, my brothers made it a standing joke to laugh about how often they’d be in the middle of a farm project (hauling hay, moving wheat into bins, building fences, shearing sheep, exercising the horses, etc.) only to notice that somehow I’d slipped away from the work and was nowhere to be found—I was nearly always high on a haystack in one of the barns reading books by L’Amour or some other author. Marks’ Voyage of a Viking book would have fit right in.

This is a book about life, what it means to live a good one, and how all of us have to overcome our challenges if we want to make a positive difference in the world. In my book The Student Whisperer, which I wrote with Tiffany Earl, I wrote about the “desert” or “wilderness” that all leaders must pass through on the path to any success, but I have never seen it more effectively described than in Voyage of a Viking. This alone is worth the price of the book.

But there is so much more. Marks’ thesis sums up what this book, and in fact all success in life, is all about: “Define what you want, learn from someone who has gone before you, and then do it for the glory of God.” Right on. It is full of profound gems. For example: “Being humble doesn’t mean you think less of yourself—it means you think of yourself less,” and “We can judge how good we are as students by how fast we implement our mentor’s advice.”

Perhaps the most powerful thing about this excellent book, as I mentioned earlier, is that it is one of those rare contributions to success literature that shows how our losses, struggles, setbacks, mistakes, and challenges are some of our most important teachers and mentors. A lot of books tell us to make lemonade out of lemons or see the silver lining in things, but this book shows us how this works—in real life, in the face of real obstacles, in our own experiences. As such, it is literally a must read.

Leadership is about wisdom, and Voyage of a Viking is a profoundly wise book. There a few wisdom books every leader simply must read, like Corrie Ten Boom’s Tramp for the Lord, Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, or L’Amour’s The Last of the Breed. And, of course, there are a few truly wise business books, such as The Radical Leap by Steve Farber, Good to Great by Jim Collins, Organizing Genius by Warren Bennis, Johnson’s and Blanchard’s Who Moved My Cheese?, among others.  And who can forget Goleman’s Primal Leadership, or The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey? Tim Marks’ Voyage of a Viking fits right in to this list.

As Marks himself says about this book: “This is a no-holds-barred discussion on the speed of the leader determining the speed of the group.” This book is fun. It is about finding yourself as a leader by dedicating your life to serving others, and it is about the adage, as articulated in the foreword by Orrin Woodward, that example in leadership isn’t the main thing; it’s everything.
I’m still applying those 15 lessons I penciled out years ago as I listened just off stage, and I know that many years in the future I’ll still be re-reading and applying the things I learned today in Voyage of a Viking. It’s a truly great book. So do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on this great contribution to leadership!

Oliver DeMille is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education, Leadership Education, The Student Whisperer, The Coming Aristocracy, FreedomShift, and other books on freedom and leadership.

Posted in Community/Friends, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

LIFE Island: Family & Friends

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 6, 2012

In 1998, I got this crazy dream. I had had many dreams that others thought were crazy at the time, but I had always believed they were fairly reasonable. Yet even I knew this particular dream was crazy! However, an important point about life is that if you’re not willing to dream crazy dreams, then crazy dreams will never come true for you.

Anyway, as an engineer at Delphi, a division of General Motors, I placed pictures on my cubicle wall of an in-house movie theater, houses on the lakes, properties with forests, and yachts, to name just a few. Each of the pictures was courageously pinned on the wall. I say courageously because when new engineers joined the Delphi division, they were given a tour of the facility. Without fail, one of the last stops was my cubicle to show them the crazy pictures I had on the wall. Sure they laughed at me while the tour guide explained again why engineers don’t live like this. I didn’t like it, but it only steeled my resolve. I figured that it was better for them to laugh at me while I kept my dreams than for them to stop laughing because I had surrendered my dreams.

As I reflect back, every single picture pinned on that wall came true. In fact, many of the PC members have accomplished the pictures today. Ok, there is one picture that still hasn’t been accomplished. It’s not that it hasn’t come true; it’s still just a work-in-progress. 🙂 Some of you may have already guessed what that dream is: LIFE Island. I remember hesitating when I placed the island picture on the wall; I didn’t take placing a picture lightly because I knew it was a commitment made to myself to follow through, and this island picture was a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG (as Jim Collins calls it). Many times, I stared at that island dreaming of the day when a fleet of yachts would travel from Florida (yes, I had a Florida property on the wall) to the island.

There are two types of people reading this article. The first group will think I am crazy to dream a BHAG of this magnitude, believing there’s no way the LIFE community can achieve that. The ones in the second group, in contrast, will study the picture and feed their elephant minds. This group understands Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s proclamation, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” This article won’t teach a person how to build a LIFE business; instead, it is an expression of fourteen years of longing for an island to enjoy with my family and friends.

Can anyone else imagine the evening picnics at the beach park, cookouts, volleyball, horseshoes, and late-night conversation around the firepit all while enjoying the beautiful views and listening to the ocean surf behind us? Community and fellowship are essential for the picture I have envisioned. I can see the fleet of PC yachts making its way into the LIFE Island harbor. Laurie and I greet people as they disembark from their private yachts and ready themselves for several months of R&R on the island. As you step off your yacht, you realize that every plan, every challenge, every year was worth the effort required to achieve this victory.

The aroma of freshly grilled steaks, chicken, and fish permeates the air as you mingle among friends. Freshly squeezed fruit juices tease your taste buds as you recalibrate yourself to the island tempo. Imagine Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Claude Hamilton, George Guzzardo, Bill Lewis, Dan Hawkins, and their lovely brides looking you in the eyes and welcoming you to the dream-come-true LIFE Island. Later, many will walk the island trails for the first time—speechless as they realize that the dream they have yearned for, the dream they have worked for, the dream they have struggled for has finally come true.

I know; I know—I must be crazy. I have been hearing the same thing for years now. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about BHAGs, it’s that if it doesn’t take your breath away, then it’s not a BHAG at all. This dream has always (and still does) taken my breath away! Today, by posting this picture, I am officially launching the quest for LIFE Island. Consider this blog as my new office wall. Go ahead and look at the picture. Now that you have seen it, here is my question: Which group do you belong to? One group will laugh now but live with the pain of sacrificed dreams later; the other group will sacrifice now but live with friends on an island of dreams later.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Community/Friends, Faith, Family, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , | 59 Comments »

George and Jill Guzzardo – LIFE Founders

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 10, 2012

George and Jill Guzzardo are  LIFE Founders and leaders of leaders. When I first met George, he was living as far away from civilization as humanly possible. Indeed, George and Jill moved from the hustle and bustle of Chicago to the backwoods of the Michigan Upper Peninsula, just outside Ironwood. The Guzzardo’s goal was to get away from people and enjoy time together working in the health field and enjoying nature. Man, however, may make his plans, but it’s God who directs his steps. In other words, destiny intervened.

Ed, Jill’s older brother, happened to be my engineering mentor and best friend. Ed and I worked together on multiple engineering projects. When I started listening to CD’s on community building, I realized the potential and shared this with Ed. Ed agreed, driving 10 hours in the same state (that’s how far into the backwoods the Guzzardo’s lived!) to share the idea with George and Jill.

Jill was interested immediately, George however, was another story. 🙂 He ignored Ed,  watching the hockey game as Ed shared the concept with Jill. I remember Ed sharing his thoughts, saying, “Jill is excited, but George is going to take some work.” This is a common response. Inside of everyone is a dream pilot light. Sadly, though, most people’s dreams have been rained on so much, they believe it’s safer to bury their dreams than risk further disappointment.

Thankfully, George loved Jill enough to check it out. After reading his first book, he became a man obsessed with the idea of getting free. True, the odds were stacked against him in so many ways, having isolated himself in the backwoods where there were hundreds of trees for every person. Moreover, George and Jill were already extremely busy between jobs, hobbies, and raising their son. But, when a person wants something bad enough, the obstacles must give way.

The Guzzardo’s are champions today, not because everything was easy for them. On the contrary, if I were to define the Guzzardo’s with just one of my resolutions, I would offer Adversity Quotient because everything was a struggle for them. With that said,  nothing keeps this couple down! Several times, in the early days (before team approach), they would start groups and lose them. On top of this, Jill’s brother, and my best-friend, died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism, blocking oxygen into his lungs. This was a tragic loss of a great man. Most people would have become bitter, instead, George and Jill, became better.

Laurie and I had front row seats watching the transition of this couple into the leaders they are today. When the Guzzardo’s made mistakes, they read more, listened more, and applied the principles to grow. Many will listen to CDs, less will read consistently, but only the few will apply the principles learned. The Guzzardo’s were part of the few. I watched George go from barely reading to reading mighty tomes on history, theology, and government. This is on top of his personal development reading and listening! In fact, the rest of the PC refers to George as the professor for his amazing ability to read and comprehend the classics.

As the Guzzardo’s began to grow personally, they also grew professionally. Despite driving several hours or more to share the opportunity, the Guzzardo’s teams grew. Their teams spread quickly into Wisconsin, eventually across the USA and Canada. Today, the Guzzardo have thousands of people attending events across North America and George and Jill reside in a beautiful house in Tuscon, Arizona. They are living their dreams – the same dreams shared many times to Laurie and I as they were growing on their way to victory.

Reflecting back, one of my proudest George Guzzardo memories was during our costly litigation with our former supplier. I watched the Guzzardo’s propose surrendering their dream property, rather than surrender their involvement with TEAM. This is nothing short of modern-day heroism. In today’s pragmatic world, where nearly everyone does everything for their own perceived advantage, I watched the Guzzardo’s voluntarily sacrifice for the good of the community. This story, thankfully has a happy ending! As it turned out, with the TEAM’s settlement of all disputes, the Guzzardo’s were able to retain their dream property in the mountains overlooking the Tuscon valley.

Laurie and I are proud to have George and Jill Guzzardo as life-long friends and LIFE Founders! Their commitment to growth, change, and leadership is nothing short of inspiring. By setting the example for their team, the Guzzardo’s have attended many job-optional parties across North America. There are many blessings from our business, but in my opinion, by far the greatest rewards are the relationships formed with true leaders like George and Jill Guzzardo.

Thank you George and Jill for having the courage to become better when others became bitter. Thank you for setting the pace and cutting a trail for others to follow. Here is to a blessed future together. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Community/Friends, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , | 31 Comments »

Tribes and Social Capital

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 2, 2012

Tribes are groups of people with common interest, goals, and history together. The longer I build communities, the more I am convinced that the tribes within the community are one of the keys to restore Western Civilization’s culture. LIFE draws people together through shared dreams and goals, providing a sense of belonging and leadership principles to live by. This simple act of community is becoming a revolutionary activity in today’s atomized society. For without a strong sense of community, people cannot fully develop their potential and purpose.

The objective of LIFE is to learn truth in the 8F’s of life and live these principles within the community. The TEAM Community ensures the principles are not merely ivory tower teachings, but applicable to daily life. Can you imagine the benefit of a leadership tribe where you can learn leadership and life principles while developing tight relationships within a community of other like-minded people?

Nearly every thoughtful person agrees the West is in decline. Instead of just watching it decline, why not join a community, having fun, making money, while making a difference in your own life and others. A person will either be part of the problem or part of the solution. I choose to be part of the solution. How about you? Here is a powerful video on the impact LIFE materials are having in people’s lives followed by another segment of Pastor Jon Tyson’s excellent article on Tribes. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Several years after Bowling Alone came out, and several small group programming attempts later, I came across a book that reflected and responded to these ideas in some fresh and insightful ways: Urban Tribes: A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family and Commitment by Ethan Watters. It challenged the assumption that cultural capital would be recovered through official institutions and efforts, and suggested instead, that it may reorganize through unofficial communities he called urban tribes. Watters, a single, never-married San Franciscan observed how this sense of trust, community, and belonging — this social capital — was all around him, but in less formal social networks that were becoming the new superglue of our time.

As Watters surveyed his community and city, he noticed that his was a rich relational world of high social capital, and that his tribe had a deep sense of community. There was a real sense of belonging and desire to help each other in mutually beneficial ways. Although disconnected from the previous generation’s traditional structures and official civic institutions, people were utilizing new technologies, schedules, and freedoms to form organic capital among themselves.

Others are noticing the phenomenon as well. Journalist Howard Fineman highlights the cultural and ethnic dimensions: “As neighborhoods and schools become more diverse, marriages become more mixed, and social hierarchies break down, old lines are getting blurry. Voluntary tribes are a way of re-creating a sense of community.” So what is an urban tribe? And is this a sociological opportunity for the church to consider?

Urban tribes are the social networks of friends we build in and around cities. They often consist of people who are single well into their twenties and thirties and who form a new kind of family unity that functions like traditional families used to, in terms of support and structure. Each tribe builds its own culture over time, through weekly rituals, shared history, language, insider jokes, weekend trips, and relational support. They screen potential mates, loan each other money, provide housing help, and even start businesses together.

These tribes owe their existence to some of the major shifts that in many ways frame this generation.

1. Displacement. People are moving from their places of birth to college, then cities, and then other cities to pursue careers in industry centers and rarely resettling in their places of origin. 


2. Freedom. People are getting married later than any generation in American history and have less family responsibility than either parents or grandparents. Their time and resources are primarily for themselves. 


3. Causes. People are aware and concerned about the needs of their world, and the world, like never before. Fineman notes: “More than ‘associations’. . . these [tribes] are emotionally intense affinity groups based on shared aims, obsessions or political crusades, not on DNA.”

3. Loneliness. This loss of family, displacement, freedom, and need converge to create a hunger for community that is greater than their parents.

Watters explains the intersection of these factors:

“We live further away from our kinship networks. We’re not joining community groups…{We are} a group that is freer than any generation I can imagine. Because freedom is a lack of restraints, we don’t often look at what freedom is. We’re free of parenting responsibilities. That means that we have a lot of free time. We’re also free of parental control. There’s a corollary to that parental role. Other advice givers have stepped away from the plate. There aren’t the mentors, priests, bosses, and other strict advice givers. Now they just encourage us and offer support. They had a tough time, so they don’t have a unified front to give us advice. We’re also free of punishment for the consequences of our actions. We’re no longer disciplined by our elders. We have this notion that we’ve gone to the city once to create ourselves, and that we can always go to another city and try again. We also have more dating and relationship options. There’s also no order in which we’re expected to live our lives. Free from general social strife. There’s no shared sense of our being born for some specific purpose.”

Posted in Community/Friends, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

Claude & Lana Hamilton – LIFE Founders

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 13, 2011

Today’s featured Life Founders are Claude and Lana Hamilton. The Hamilton’s home is one of the largest in their Canadian province, which isn’t shocking to me since they have one of the largest dreams in the province also. Neither Claude nor Lana come from wealth, so how did this young couple achieve so much with so little? Simply put, they joined a leadership community, learned principles that allowed them to rise to their potential, and acted upon it.

Both of them started in the Canadian military. Lana in the Navy and Claude in the Great White North’s equivalent to the Navy Seal program. With little money, no connections, and no plans, the Hamilton’s joined networking where they promptly struggled for years. In fact, the miracle of their first five years in business is that they didn’t quit. With little outward success to show for years of relentless effort, only huge dreamers like the Hamilton’s would have continued to hold out hope. This hope, however, was the key to their future success and was not held onto in vane.

After missing numerous leadership conventions, since they were convened on the other side of Canada and the Hamilton’s had no money, Claude did the unthinkable. With Lana serving at sea, Claude, hungry to learn the proper leadership mindset, hitchhiked across Canada, attending his first-ever conference. This may sound crazy to some, but the Hamilton’s lifestyle today is also crazy. Great achievements come with great sacrifice, period! Indeed, the higher the mountain, the harder the climb. Claude and Lana vowed to climb to the top.

I met Claude when his organization joined forces with TEAM in 2006. He had already accomplished great successes in community building before I met him. In fact, his huge dreams, drive, and determination were evident to me immediately. Later, I would also witness first-hand his character, courage, and convictions. As Claude is a voracious student, we quickly teamed up and his business began to surge ahead even further.

In late 2007, when legal disputes arose with our former supplier, Claude and Lana displayed their true valor. With many choosing to hide out, fearful of drawing attention to themselves and falling into litigation, the Hamilton’s charged to the front, leading their teams to fast growth. Even when the TEAM income and numbers dropped precipitously in 2008, the Hamilton’s never wavered on their core belief in the community’s right to freedom.

In early 2009, the Hamilton’s defining moment arrived. The Hamilton’s were offered peace and an end to all litigation. However, they quickly refused the offer. Why do you ask? Because as part of the settlement offer, Claude and Lana would have to separate permanently from TEAM, choosing peace over their principles. This Faustian bargain was not even considered by the principle-centered couple. They knew that the best opportunity for their team to win involved staying with TEAM, even if it meant increased personal hardships and severed friendships. In other words, they kept themselves in harms way in order to ensure the best opportunity for their community. This type of sacrificial leadership is extremely rare today, making Claude and Lana Hamilton modern-day heroes and admired by all who know their story.

Thankfully, in late 2010, all legal disputes were settled and the TEAM finally was free to pursue its destiny. The Hamilton’s are Founders of LIFE because they are leaders of character who have proven their mettle on the front lines, not hiding out in the foxholes. Anyone can talk about character, but living it when it counts is what matters. Claude and Lana live their principles daily.

On another note, on top of leading one of the fastest growing teams with the TEAM, Claude also volunteered to be the PC leader over the TEAM events department. In this role, he has greatly improved the quality and profitability of the opens, seminars, and major functions. I cannot imagine the TEAM’s turnaround without the endless hours sacrificially invested by Claude for the benefit of us all.

Laurie and I want to personally thank our good friends and LIFE Founders Claude and Lana Hamilton. It’s because you are who you are that makes LIFE what it is and what it’s going to be. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Community/Friends, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , , | 22 Comments »

RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE Reviews

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 22, 2011

With the release of my new book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE, I have been eagerly anticipating the reaction of leaders around the globe. Writing a book is an arduous task, requiring many thankless hours of time alone to think and write a labor of love. However, when it’s released and respected leaders from around the globe share how the book inspired them, it makes all the effort worthwhile. Here are a several examples of the comments I have been hearing from top leaders.

Dana Collins is one of the top leaders in the networking profession. She is a student of leadership and is constantly learning. In fact, she was one of the keynote speakers at Art Jonak’s last MasterMind Event. Tens of thousands of people around the world are part of her community. She sent the Networking Times editorial staff the following email when asked what books she was reading:

Great idea, Josephine. I am reading “Resolved” by Orrin.
This book, I believe, will be a classic.
I bought a copy for each of my key leaders. Each week we have a call to discuss a chapter. It is a playbook for building a foundation in yourself that can build a tremendous culture in your family, team, and community.
Incredible book!
And btw, this is not a paid endorsement!

Best,
Dana

Oliver DeMille is one of the most respected educators in the country, having written the classic book, Thomas Jefferson Education. This book initiated a revolution in the home schooling movement. His talk at the LIFE major impacted thousands of people, being one of the highlights of the entire weekend! I have met few people who read more books than Oliver so when I received his thoughts on my new book, I was honored. When a principle-centered man and friend of his caliber is impacted that lets me know my labor wasn’t in vain.

Orrin,

Sorry I’ve been out of it all week. I got a really bad flu. Anyway, I’m
back. I love your new book. It is fantastic! A true home run! I love the
cover. Wow, that painting is so perfect with your title and message:
Resolved. You nailed it.

I loved each of the 13 resolutions. Perfect. In the perfect order. And it
builds on Benjamin Franklin’s and George Washington’s personal resolutions.
I loved that you included these in the appendices. This book is so
excellent. I really like the way each chapter emphasizes a resolution, a
character trait of leadership, and highlights of a leader who followed it.
It hits the reader on so many levels. This is your best work yet! It’s a
magnum opus. Wow!

I like that you used Lou Holtz. I’m a real fan of his stuff. And I once
again felt so connected to your work when I read the Will Smith chapter.
Will is a really great leader. He and his wife Jada use TJEd with some of
their kids and Rachel and I have been in their home and had dinner and
social events with them. Will had me speak to a group of his friends in his
home, and during the Q&A he talked as much or more than I did. Someone would
ask a question about TJEd and before I could answer it Will would say, “The
answer to that is on page XXX,” and he’d turn to that page in TJEd and read
the answer. He had the whole book underlined, highlighted and marked up in
multiple colors. He knew the page-by-page details of my book better than I
did. Anyway, Rachel and I had a similar experience with Will and Jada as
with you and Laurie—you both read my book and contacted us and eventually we
ended up at your home and speaking to your friends and discussing important
principles of freedom and education. I thought it was really cool that you
had him as your example of programming the elephant.

I really loved that you gave Sam Walton 2 chapters. What a great leader. I
think Steve Jobs bears a similar study—maybe a future writing project for
us. Also, the section on New England fiat money is brilliant! The 5 laws of
decline are wow! This book is just outstanding. As I said, another home run!

Well done!

I’ve only read this once through, so I’ll more to say when I read it
backwards and really try to milk out more detail. But I just had to gush to
you about how good this is! It’s fantastic. I just wish I had read it before
the Ohio speech so I could have it on my top 6 (7) book list. Oh well, next
time!

This book is just plain transformational! Thank for sending it! I’m so
excited to read it again.

Oliver

Have you read RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE yet? My goal in sharing the 13 Resolutions was to have a guide for character based living where one could refer back to the section that needs improvement. If you have already read the book, please comment on what chapters had the biggest impact on you. I would love to hear how the book affected your thinking and actions. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Community/Friends, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , | 25 Comments »

The Circle of LIFE

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 17, 2011

Chris Brady and I flew up to Atlanta for a 6 hour mastermind session on Tuesday. Here is one of many concepts that were generated from brainstorming together. Generating ideas with Chris Brady is like drinking water from a firehose – fast and furious! 🙂 I love our 17 year business partnership! LIFE is something special and I have never felt as good about community building as I do today. Laurie and I started a new leg 10 days ago and it is now over 10 levels in depth! The LIFE Business is good because it helps people become good in their Circle of LIFE. Here is Brady’s article explaining what our products do in a person’s life. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

I had a very engaging conversation with my friend and co-author Orrin Woodward today.  As usual, we kicked around a ton of stimulating ideas and pieced together something that, in our estimation, will immediately convey greater understanding as to the purpose of the LIFE business.  (See the inset diagram).

The CIRCLE of LIFE

In each of the 8 F categories of Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Following, Freedom, Friendship, and Fun, one can imagine a certain grade based upon how one is doing in that category. In the diagram the center represents horrible, as in, you are totally “stinking up the joint” (as my kids say) in a certain category. Working your way out from the center to the outer ring in any of the categories represents a stronger grade.  So someone with a dot near the outer ring is doing well in that category.  By connecting the dots on your subjective personal estimation of your life at this moment in each of the categories you can come up with a shape that roughly represents your life right now in each of the 8Fs.

Quite simply, the LIFE business supplies life-changing information to help you increase your score in each of the 8Fs.  The goal is to take someone from the not-so-good black shape represented toward the center of the diagram to the much improved (and happier, we would think) life represented by the red outline toward the outer ring of the circle.

Who doesn’t have at least a category or two, or three, or eight, in which he or she would like to have a better score? Who wouldn’t want to transform his or her life from the tiny blob (and who among us hasn’t felt like a tiny blob from time to time?) in the center to the big wheel (and who hasn’t wanted to be a big wheel at least once in his or her life?) toward the outer ring?

That’s it.  From little blob to big wheel.

But all kidding aside.  This CIRCLE of LIFE is the snap-shot diagram to which people can easily relate when it comes to understand the goal of LIFE and the life-changing information we offer.  We will help people learn and apply truth in each category and thereby improve their shape.

LIFE: Because leadership is for everyone!

Posted in Community/Friends, Faith, Family, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Fun, Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC) | Tagged: , | 13 Comments »

Tim Marks – The Voyage of a Viking

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 8, 2011

Tim Mark’s new book The Voyage of a Viking, is to be released early next year. I had the honor to read a galley copy and write the foreword. Although expecting excellence, since Tim accepts nothing less from himself, this book surpassed my highest standards. I found myself laughing then crying, inspired emotionally, and finally, thankful that I know such a man and leader. Chris Brady and I routinely remark at Tim’s ability to constantly improve himself and he has done it again! Here is the foreword that I wrote for his upcoming book. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

In today’s age, many people blame others for their non-productive lives, proclaiming themselves victims of society’s mistreatment. Tim Mark’s early life had all the signs of qualifying for victimhood, with one extremely important difference, he refused to go along with society’s labels. Tim’s near legendary success today – tens of thousands of people within his leadership community; keynote speaker in front of tens of thousands of people, loving husband to his beautiful wife Amy and father of four wonderful children – can easily overshadow his humble beginnings; which is why Tim’s new book, The Voyage of a Viking, is part autobiography, personal development, and leadership, all married into one.

In the book, Tim first shared his life story. I found myself pulling for young Tim as he explained some of his struggles with schooling, parent’s divorce, and latch-key childhood. Tim’s inspiring stories of dreams, struggles and victories will move millions of others to action who started out on the “wrong-side of the tracks.”  It’s so easy to see the finished product, but not realize the arduous journey taken in order to achieve it. Few people have overcome as many obstacles in so short a time. So many lessons are taught through his stories that I found myself in awe of Tim’s overcoming spirit and God’s redeeming grace.

Second, Tim shares the key principles of personal development which helped him in his journey from viking to victory. I have had the honor of mentoring hundreds of leaders over the last eighteen years, working with Tim for the last twelve years. No one that I personally mentored moves from problem identified to problem solved as quickly as Tim Marks! In fact, Tim’s ability to confront issues and change is directly related to his humility. Instead of defending his ego and sacrificing excellence, Tim chooses to defend excellence through sacrificing his ego. The lessons he teaches on his viking journey will enhance everyone’s life.

Lastly, Tim captures the essence of leadership – example. Tim lives the 13 principles that I share in my book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE. Remember, example is everything in leadership, it’s the only thing. Tim leads by example in everything that he does, whether it’s through encouraging the downhearted, loving the unloveable, courageously confronting, or celebrating others victories. Tim started out as a student of  leadership but has now graduated as one of the best teachers and examples of leadership in America today. Moreover, I find I learn just as much from Tim as I teach because of the man of grace he has become. Not to mention that he has become one of my best friends and a person whom I trust unconditionally.

Tim and Amy Marks story should be shared around the world. At a time when heroes are nearly an extinct species, their story displays that with courage and the right principles, heroic lives are still possible. Don’t just read this book. Devour it. Choose to live and lead with the principles in this book, becoming another example of what God’s grace can do in a person’s life. What are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to start you start your learning voyage through the Viking’s life and leadership?

Posted in Community/Friends, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , | 25 Comments »

Aristotle’s Three Types of Friendship

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 18, 2011

Here is another snippet from the Friendship chapter of a book that I am currently working on. Enjoy. God Bless, Orrin Woodward

True friends begin as companions, but soon go further, developing a love and respect for one another. Author Fred Smith shares a poignant description of love, “Love is willing the ultimate good for the other person.”  Only deep friendship will build loving bonds of this magnitude. C.S. Lewis shares the process of discovery from companions into friends, “Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one’. . . In this kind of love, as Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth? – Or at least, ‘Do you care about the same truth?’ The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance, can be our Friend. he need not agree with us about the answer.”  There is an indescribable joy in the discovery of, and being discovered by, another human being, providing a brief respite from the loneliness of life. Emerson pinpointed the thought, writing, “The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”  Aristotle distinguishes between genuine friendship and two other counterfeit types – one founded upon utility, the other upon pleasure. Friendship based solely upon utility, like the mailman, survive only as long as both parties receive benefit, while a friendship based only upon pleasure, like golfing buddies, end when one party no longer finds the activity pleasurable.  

Genuine friendship, on the other hand, is based upon something more enduring, according to Aristotle, “It is those who desire the good of their friends for the friends’ sake that are most truly friends, because each loves the other for what he is, and not for any incidental quality.”  Genuine friendship then, will last as long as both parties remain committed to virtue, since virtue desires good for his friends as much as for himself.  But virtue does’t signify lack of fun.  The best of friends laugh often and heartily.  Just as one can tell a man’s character by his ability to laugh at himself, so in a friendship, one can tell the quality of friends by their ability to laugh at each other.  Not a derisive or condescending laughter, but simply one that acknowledges the imperfections inherent in the human condition. Any person or friendship that cannot laugh at itself isn’t real. True friends enjoy one another’s company.  When a person finds someone, who can help him become better while enjoying fellowship, he is on his way to developing a true friend. Each person should be this type of friend and seek a friend of this caliber, in order to fully enjoy life’s experiences during his pilgrimage on earth.  

Posted in Community/Friends | 1 Comment »

 
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