Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

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

Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Know why you believe what you believe.

The Meaning of Liberty

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 17, 2012

Liberty is nearly a sacred principle for most North American citizens. With that said, however, I have a sneaking suspicion that most of us do not understand all of its implications. For example, liberty doesn’t mean license, since a person isn’t free to do anything he likes as robbing and pillaging violate others rights. Furthermore, liberty doesn’t demand society to live according to a person’s preferences enforced by coercive means. Rather, liberty implies a respect for the God-given rights of others, refusing to use violence against others, unless in self-defense.

This confusion over the meaning of liberty seems to be at the forefront of today’s culture wars. Humanists want to force everyone in school to be fed their world-view; while on the other hand, many Christian leaders want to use the public schools to force-feed a Christian world-view. One example I have read, from many, is a 1980’s article from the Humanist magazine:

I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool, daycare, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of “love thy neighbor” will finally be achieved.

I disagree with this philosophy for numerous reasons, one being it’s totalitarian implications. Indeed, in a free society, both the Humanist and the Christian agendas for our State school systems are improper, because they surrender liberty of thought to a monolithic mindset of one size fits all. The liberty philosophy, on the other hand, would step back from the problem further and ask: why have a public school system at all? Why not privatize the educational system so that humanist, Christians, Jews, etc, can teach the principles that they believe to their children. Isn’t freedom in education foundational to freedom in society? It seems peculiar that America values freedom so greatly, yet surrenders the freedom to educate their children to the State.

Why battle it out in public schools when liberty demands freedom for all world-views to compete in the marketplace of ideas? School vouchers would bring freedom and competition back to the woefully struggling American educational system. This isn’t a knock on the many hard-working teachers attempting to make a difference in a poorly designed system; rather, I am simply stating the “the Educational Emperor has no clothes on,” so to speak. 🙂 America will fall further and further behind if we continue to use our schools as indoctrination and socialization facilities, instead of its intended roles as learning, thinking, and doing educational centers. By giving parents the power of the purse, schools would quickly start serving the customers, not their own agendas. This is what the FREE in Free-Enterprise is all about.

America was the bastion of free enterprise and freedom for the individual, but now fights totalitarian style battles with the next-generation’s minds. America as a whole is the loser as our kids are quickly falling further and further behind in education as compared to other countries. Despite the fact that America spends more money per child than all the rest, we struggle to place in the Top 50 nations in education. This is a national embarrassment! The Mental Fitness Challenge is a program to restore some of the lost principles of a proper education back into the marketplace. Early results indicate the need is massive and the hunger is present within the populace.

Here is an article on Thomas Jefferson’s views to start the discussion on how we can free education from the powers-that-be. Even though I disagree with the humanist positions, I would fight for their right to liberty in the education of their children. Similarly, I would hope there are enough liberty loving people left in all philosophies to do the same for my family.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Freedom/Liberty, Orrin Woodward | 46 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 »

Lindsay Lohan – Vanity of Fame, Fortune, & Power

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 5, 2012

It was another typical morning; I wrapped up my Bible studies and sat down to briefly (all the news in five minutes or less) review today’s current events. However, today’s news really got me thinking. Yahoo had posted a video of child-star to troubled-teen to drugged-up-diva Lindsay Lohan. Watch the video and then let’s talk.


I don’t know her background. I don’t know her movies. But I couldn’t help but feel her pain. How many people must go through the same storyline before the world wakes up? All that glitters is not gold! Solomon said it most succinctly when he proclaimed, “All is vanity.” Do not be fooled by the world’s definitions of success; fame, fortune, and power do not satisfy. Examine the lives of Marilyn Monroe (fame), J. Paul Getty (fortune), and L.B. Johnson (power); they each had what others crave, yet they died alone, unhappy, and practically friendless. I could go on; anyone ever hear of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, or Whitney Houston?

History is full of the vanity of fame, fortune, and power, and yet each year millions more chase the illusion. In my personal life, I have experienced my share of each of these “false gods” and I can speak from first-hand experience that all is vanity. Does this mean we shouldn’t strive for excellence, or that we should settle for mediocrity? Of course, it doesn’t. However, it does mean we should begin with the end in mind, and fame, fortune, and power are terrible ends with which to start.

Each of these “false gods” turns a person inward, making him focus more on himself, his needs, and his desires – a sure recipe for unhappiness. The saddest day in a star’s life is when he has accomplished everything he aimed for only to discover it is all vanity. The endless displays, divorces, and drugs are all attempts to mask the emptiness of the accomplishments. For most superstars, the results were not worth the investment; for in order to achieve the prize, the stars had to sacrifice themselves.

Fortunately, there is a path out of the dilemma. Jesus Christ stated the two greatest commandments were to:

1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
2. Love others as yourself.

In truth, a person finds his life when he loses it in a worthy cause. What, in other words, are you willing to sacrifice your life for? Every single day, you pay for the twenty-four hours provided to you by sacrificing another day of your life. In your life, has the investment been truly worth the sacrifice? If not, why do you continue in that direction?

The greatest return on investment is when a person fulfills God’s plan for his life. Serving God and others is the only path to true fulfillment. In RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I share the principles that helped me stop chasing an illusion and start living my destiny.

In this Easter season, Lindsay Lohan’s video reminded me how thankful I am that God saved a ruined sinner like me through the finished work of Jesus Christ. I pray that someone close to Lindsay Lohan can share the same message of grace, hope, and mercy with her.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | 21 Comments »

Truth & Tact: The Art of Loving People & Truth

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 1, 2012

Truth and tact are two concepts that rarely mix; however, when they do, one knows that he is in the presence of leadership greatness. On one side, the world is filled with blowhards who will bluntly state truth while influencing no one, and honestly, even annoying those who agree with them. On the other side, are the people who refuse to share the truth for fear of causing offense. These people would rather see someone run a car off a cliff than offend him by urging him to slow down. Both extremes are wrong but, unfortunately, ubiquitous.

Imagine the leadership revolution that would be possible if we learned to speak truth in love. I know this may only be a dream, but it’s one I am willing to pursue. My life through twenty-five years of age was moving from one disastrous incident of lack of tact to the next. I’m not exaggerating here; I was clueless when it came to tact and truth. Sadly, my cluelessness hurt those closest to me. Although I have certainly improved in this area, not a day passes without catching myself lacking tact in some conversation. Indeed, I would say tact, next to character, has been the biggest stumbling block for many potential leaders.

Chris Brady states, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and it wasn’t until I started reading, listening, and associating with leaders that I realized how tactless I truly was. Where do you fall in the truth-tact continuum? Anyone can change, but he must first begin with a clear perspective on the truth of his current condition. Read the following excellent essay from the 19th-century writer J. R. Miller and honestly confront your current level of tact. Would to God that more people would confront reality on their current level of tact and choose to change.

I guess what I am saying is: Imagine if more people applied the unvarnished truth (while committing to change, grow, and win) upon themselves and loving tact upon others, instead of the current method of applying loving tact upon themselves and unvarnished truth upon others. Now that would be a LIFE revolution worth participating in! 🙂

Sincerely,
Orrin Woodward

“Evil is wrought by lack of thought—as well as lack of heart.”

True tact—is sanctified common sense. It is Christian love doing its proper and legitimate work. It is that wisdom which our Lord commended so heartily to the disciples as they went out among enemies and into a hostile world. It is at the same time as harmless as a dove. No one can read the New Testament thoughtfully, without seeing how love moves everywhere as the queen of all the graces. Truth is everywhere clothed in the warm and radiant beauty of charity. Positive, strong and mighty, it is ever gentle as the touch of a child’s finger. Someone has said that whoever makes truth unpleasant, commits high treason against virtue. The remark needs a qualification. There are unpleasant truths that must cause pain when faithfully spoken. Yet truth itself is always lovely, and we are not loyal to it when we present it in any way that will make it appear repulsive.

Christian tact is wise and loving thoughtfulness. It is that charity which is wisely gentle to all, which bears all things, which seeks not her own, which thinks no evil. It has an instinctive desire to avoid giving pain. It seeks to please all men for their good. It knows very well, that the surest way not to do men good, is to antagonize them and excite their opposition and enmity; therefore, as far as possible, it avoids all direct attack upon the life and opinions of others. It shows respect for the views of those who differ in sentiment or belief.

A wise writer has said, “When we would show anyone that he is mistaken, our best course is to observe on what side he considers the subject—for his view of it is generally right, on his side—and admit to him that he is right so far. He will be satisfied with this acknowledgment that he was not wrong in his judgment, though inadvertent in not looking at the whole of the case.” How much wiser and more effective this method, than that of violently assaulting the position of one who differs from us, as if we were infallible—and he and his opinions, were worthy only of our contempt! We can accomplish by indirection, what we could never do by direct methods.

In no class of work is this wise tact so much needed, as in trying to lead men to Christ. There is somewhere a ‘key to every heart’, and yet there are good and earnest men, to whom no heart opens. They have zeal without knowledge. Sanctified tact shows its skill in a thousand little ways, which no rules can mark out—but which win hearts and find acceptance for the living truth, and for the wondrous love of Christ. I believe it will be seen in the end, that many lives which might have been saved by the gentle methods which love teaches—have drifted away from Christ and been lost, through the unwisdom of workers.

Tact has a wonderful power in smoothing out tangled affairs. A pastor, with it, will harmonize a church composed of most discordant elements, and prevent a thousand strifes and quarrels, by saying the right word at the right time—and by quietly and wisely setting other influences to work to neutralize the discordant tendencies. A teacher possessed of this gift, can control the most unruly pupils and disarm mischief of its power to annoy and disturb the peace. In the home it is a most indispensable oil.

Quiet tact will always have the soft word, ready to speak in time to turn away anger. It knows how to avoid unsafe ground. It can put all parties into a good humor, when there is danger of difference or clashing. It is silent—when silence is better than speech.

Nothing else has so much to do with the success or failure of men in usefulness, as the possession or non-possession of tact. A man with great gifts and learning accomplishes nothing; while another, with not one-half of his natural powers or acquirements, far outstrips him in practical life. The difference lies in tact—in knowing the art of doing things. We need more than brains, and erudition. The talent of all which tells most effectively in life—is that which teaches us how to use the power we have. One person will do more good without learning—than another with his brain full of the knowledge of the ages.

Tact is no doubt largely a natural endowment—but it is also partly an art, and can be cultivated. The awkward man who is always swinging himself against someone, or treading down some tender flower—may acquire something of the grace of easy carriage. The harsh, brusque man may get a softer heart, and with it a softer manner. The man who is always saying the wrong word and paining someone, may at least learn to be silent on doubtful occasions. There is no better way to acquire this wonder-working tact—than by becoming filled with the spirit of Christ. Warm love in the heart for all men, unselfish, thoughtful, kind—will always find some beautiful way to perform its beneficent ministries.

A delicate kindness moves us—more than the sublimest exhibition of power. Gentleness is mightier than noise or force. The tiny flower growing high up on the cold, rugged mountain, amid ice and snow, impresses the beholder more than the great piles of granite that tower to the clouds. The soft shining of the sun can do more than the rude wintry blast—to make men unfasten their heavy garments and open their hearts to the influences of good.

Posted in Faith, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Bodin Defeats Althusius in America?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 27, 2012

Althusius versus Bodin

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely – Lord Acton

Power reveals; absolute power reveals absolutely – Orrin Woodward

Government and People

James Madison once wrote, “If men were angels there would be no need for government.” Since men aren’t angels, however, governments are formed to protect mankind’s life, liberty, and property. There are two overriding question are: Who is the ultimate sovereign? And how do the people protect themselves against the government’s “monopoly of force” if the sovereign disregards its intended function and begins to abuse the very people it should be protecting? These questions date back to the fall of Adam and Eve.

Absolute and Divided Sovereignty

There are two radically conflicting views pertaining to government and sovereignty. The first philosophy is portrayed in the writings of the 16th century writer, Jean Bodin. In his Six Books of the Commonweale, he wrote: “For as the great sovraigne God, cannot make another God equall unto himselfe, considering that he is of infinit power and greatness, and that there cannot bee two infinit things, as is by naturall demonstrations manifest: so also may wee say, that the prince whom we have set down as the image of God, cannot make a subject equall unto himselfe.” Charles Loyseau summarized Bodin’s political thoughts when he wrote, “Sovereignty is inseparable from the state, because sovereignty is what brings the state into being; in concreto, state and sovereignty are synonymous.” The second philosophy is best exemplified in the 16th century writings of Johannes Althusius.  His political thoughts combined the medieval and modern, birthing the main ideas of the later federalism of America’s founding fathers. Althusius perceived the State as a “coalescence” of provinces and regions confederated together. He rejected absolute sovereignty; instead, he advocated selected sovereignty over individual provinces and regions that freely combine for the benefit of all.

Althusius divided sovereignty to protect the people’s freedoms. Alain de Benoist, an Althusian scholar, writes:

By posing the question of shared jurisdictions, and by arguing that on all levels of public life the state should take care only of tasks that lower levels cannot accomplish, Althusius established himself as the first post-medieval defender of the principle of subsidiary authority. The word “subsidiarity,” which Althusius used often, is derived from the Latin subsidium, which was used to refer to troops or reserves called up to reinforce regular armies when needed. Politically, the principle of subsidiarity signifies that higher levels must always be limited in the sense that they do not intervene unless and until a lower level is unable to carry out a required task. This is a principle of equilibrium and regulation that aims to keep initiatives at the lower level, and to protect them from being subsumed by those above.

The Abysmal Twentieth Century

The question of sovereignty hinges upon man’s ability to check himself if given absolute power. Historically, the answer to this question is abysmally clear. Man, unlike God, cannot handle absolute sovereignty due to his inherently sinful nature. As Martin Luther said, “Let God be God and ruined sinner be ruined sinner.” Absolute sovereignty has always eventually fell into tyranny against the people allegedly being served. In fact, in many ways, the history of the twentieth century is simply an extended case study on the inability of absolute sovereigns to check their urge to plunder the people. From Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, etc, the historical evidence points overwhelmingly to the need for divided sovereignty. Regretfully, however, one of the few lessons learned from history is that no one learns lessons from history. 🙂  If anyone needs further evidence on how ideas have consequences, think upon Bodin’s 16th century writing. Ponder how many lives have been lost because of the adoption of Bodin’s teachings.  Quoting Alain de Benoist again:

This absolute concept of sovereignty is what triumphed in Jean Bodin’s Six Books of the Commonweale, first published in 1576, when Europe’s stability was upset by religious wars. Bodin writes: “If there be two princes equall in power, one of them hath not the power to command the other. . . . The laws of the prince are not dependant because they are pure and frankly voluntary.” The Latin word Bodin uses to define sovereignty is majestas, and his book opens with the following words: “Commonweale is a lawfull government of many families, and of that which unto them in common belongeth, with a puissant soveraigntie.” Extending the thought of French legists, Jean Bodin’s political doctrine is founded on the concept of indivisible sovereignty and on legislative power as a dominant principle. Given the state’s centrality, it is the source of all other authority. Yet, Bodin recognizes the importance of intermediary bodies, of families and “partial” societies. But he claims that they should not infringe on the powers of the prince, who is sovereign by divine law and is the pinnacle of a society conceived as a pyramid. Thus, sovereignty is defined as the “absolute and perpetual power of a republic,” i.e., as unlimited power: having no rival in the political and social order; in reality, power is exercised by the prince, who is the sole interpreter of divine right and natural law. Of course, he must respect jus gentium and the constitutional laws of the monarchy, but he is not subject to any human law, since he is accountable only to God, whose political “image” he represents on earth.

Absolute power has brought nothing but absolute horror to mankind. It is time to push sovereignty back to the people and localize its use. The federal government was intended to protect life, liberty, and property – nothing more. The founding fathers separated sovereignty between the local, state, and federal governments; however, since 1913, the federal government has usurped the sovereignty and rules absolutely over the people. Bodin, in other words, has conquered Althusius in the battle of ideas. Unless the people awaken themselves, America’s freedoms will fall as predictably as the Greek, Roman, and English freedoms fell before ours.

Sincerely,
Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | 6 Comments »

Leadership, Life, & Liberty

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 20, 2012

When I was 26 years old, I joined community building for one of the strangest of reasons – to get my baseball cards back. Although inexplicable to me, since I typically didn’t join anything, I realize now that God was opening up the door to my destiny. Through community building, my leadership inabilities were quickly revealed, forcing me to undergo nearly 12 years of intensive hands-on experience before finally mastering the fundamentals of leadership. The culmination of this leadership journey occurred on a private-island retreat when Chris Brady and I began a long conversation on the principles of leadership that led to our #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller Launching a Leadership Revolution.

With this initial success, my perspective changed from leadership success to life success. I started studying the principles of holistic success in a purpose-filled life, rather than just effective professional leadership. Eventually, this led me to write RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, which shares my personal philosophies on living a life that matters. In truth, without the leadership principles learned and applied that led to my personal freedom from a 9-to-5 job, I would never have found the time to invest in the reading of thousands of books needed to write RESOLVED. Professional leadership success, in other words, allowed me the free time to learn, apply, and share the 13 resolutions.  God’s blessings in one area ought to be used as blessings to others when possible. In this case, my leadership blessing led to the free time needed to capture and share the resolutions for enhancing people’s lives.

While writing RESOLVED, however, I realized that without liberty, a resolved leadership life is nearly impossible. For what good is a road map to success if a person isn’t free to drive? This led me to my third great quest for knowledge and understanding, seeking the principles underlying spiritual, economic, and political liberty. Many questions have been asked and answered during this quest. Who were the greatest “apostles of liberty” in the history of mankind? What did they teach and why? What can we learn from these men and women today? Why is liberty so important? If any of these questions are of concern to you, then stay tuned to this blog as we discuss the story of liberty and its importance in today’s society.

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Finances, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Enter to Worship; Exit to Serve

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 18, 2012

Since it’s Sunday morning, I felt this message would be perfect for the many people gathering to worship around the world. The following video is a powerful reminder to serve those around you, rather than expecting to be served. Imagine if every church community focused on serving others with the same mercy that they freely received from Jesus Christ? This simple, although certainly not easy, step would change the world. I could go on, but the video is speaks louder than words. Enjoy your Sunday and don’t forget those around you in need. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 26 Comments »

Coming Apart or Community Together?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 15, 2012

In the course of answering emails, I noticed that my friend Greg Johnson had sent me a link to a blog discussing Charles Murray’s new book Coming Apart. After reading the blog article several times, I realized I had to go buy the book immediately. I’m thankful I did!

Although many believe that the complex challenges facing us today cannot be solved through the lens of the American founder’s virtues, Murray writes:

I take another view: The founders were right. The success of America depended on virtue in the people when the country began and it still does in the twenty-first century. America will remain exceptional only to the extent that its people embody the same qualities that made it work for the first two centuries of its existence. The founding virtues are central to that that kind of citizenry.

I wrote RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE to bring back character-based ethics into society and the marketplace. In truth, Murray’s and my philosophies align closely, not a shocker since Murray gathered his views from studying numerous sociological studies, while I gathered mine from over 15 years in the living rooms of America. Both methods resulted in the same conclusions: that people with satisfying work, a happy marriage, a high social trust community, and a strong religious foundation are more likely to be happy than people without these four attributes. Of the four, in fact, a happy marriage is the factor that generates the biggest improvement in someone’s happiness score. I can speak on marriage and happiness both personally, experiencing first-hand the increase in happiness when Laurie and I improved our own marriage, and professionally, witnessing many couples improve their marriages and, subsequently, their happiness levels.

Coming Apart reveals that only 10% of respondents who are unmarried, unhappy in jobs, profess no religion, and have low social trust describe themselves as genuinely happy. When a good job is added, the number of respondents stating they were happy increased to 20%. A happy marriage, however, raised the total to 60% declaring they were happy. The final two attributes – high social trust communities and strong religious faith – increased the respondents’ scores an additional 10% each. Thus, from a baseline of 10% of respondents being happy, over 80% of the people who had all four attributes stated they were sincerely happy. In other words, when someone adds these four attributes, his possibilities for a happy life increase by eight times! This is a significant increase and enough to make even the most skeptical of people pause and ponder.

Is there a reciprocal community (high social trust), where people can thrive in compensated communities (high rewards and recognition), learning proper principles for faithful marriages (marriage pack) and the development of a Biblical faith (All Grace Outreach)? There has been since November 1, 2011. Indeed, the reason the LIFE business has grown over 50% in four months is simple: it meets the needs of its community members. No matter how many fearful competitors attack our game-changing strategy, we grow because we satisfy our customers’ innate desire to be happy. People join and stay in LIFE because we focus on the big four (and other) attributes described in countless books on community, like Charles Murray’s Coming Apart. Simply put, we help people grow personally and professionally which leads to increased joy and happiness. I am not just a founder, but I am also a satisfied customer of the growth process materials.

One of the greatest secrets to be learned about life is that happiness cannot be approached directly; rather, it is captured when it’s not being sought. Happiness, in other words, is a by-product of a series of internal victories, which are eventually revealed in the external world. Perhaps you are looking for a community of learners, encouragers, and leaders? Maybe you are resolved to change? As people gather together within the LIFE communities, the world can and will be changed. One million people, here we come!

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Self-Talk of a Winner

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 9, 2012

Imagine if it was possible to play back your last twenty-four hours of self-talk on this blog.  How many would be horrified in the contemplation? Unfortunately, I have found that most people are more concerned with revealing their rampant negativity than the truth of the pessimistic spirit nurtured within them.

The Bible clearly teaches that people will battle against the fiery darts of the evil one; however, that doesn’t mean they have to start a bonfire of cynicism. Personally, when a negative thought passes through my brain, I immediately respond by replacing it with an empowering perspective on the situation. This isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes the answer is to surrender to God’s will, letting God be God and (paraphrasing Martin Luther) the ruined sinner be a ruined sinner.

When potential leaders allow improper thoughts to become book-length mental maladies, they arrest their own personal development. Simply put, winners cannot afford pity parties. Nor do they allow themselves the luxury of self-appointed victimhood status.  I cover this in-depth in Chapter Three of RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE.

Leaders set goals, and the goals ensure that the leaders reject pity parties of negativity. J. C. Penney opined, “Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals, and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” I believe similarly: Give me a broke person with a great attitude, and I will show you a future leader who will make history. Give me a leader who initiates a pity party, and I will show you a future broke person who will go nowhere.”

Success is in mind before it’s in matter. Have you experienced this crucial victory yet? I love this little girl’s self-talk. Simply put, if she continues with this thinking, she is on her way to success!

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 13 Comments »

Chris and Terri Brady: LIFE Founders – Part II

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 26, 2012

Finally, with the creation of Team Approach – a systematic way to build organizations, used across numerous companies today – Chris and I exploded our businesses. Team Approach and our focus on leadership communities changed everything. In fact, we went from 200 people to over 1,200 people at events in the next twelve months! We have never looked back. Chris and Terri achieved their dreams and goals, mainly because they refused to quit when the going got tough. They, along with Laurie and I, committed to overcome any obstacles, addressing all issues in order to fix the broken business model to which we were originally introduced.

After fixing the business building portion with Team Approach, Chris and I next addressed the unjust reward system for community training. Some recognized the injustice and wanted to throw out the baby with the bath water. Chris and I, instead, just changed the bathwater. Training is essential for growing large communities; however, the training rewards must be based upon who builds the numbers, not who was there first. In other words, in the Team, it doesn’t matter if you started ten years ago or ten months ago. Rather, what matters is whether you are serving your community with character and what numbers you have across your organizations. People follow leaders, and when a leader builds a following, he should be rewarded based upon numbers, not hierarchy.

Accordingly, the equitable way in which the Team compensates those who carry the heavy training load is one of the Team differences because leaders know that it’s based upon service and meritocracy, not politics or position. The Team teaches people how to build pipelines, rewarding trainers based upon their results in training others. Team, in other words, isn’t a passive income for leaders, but a working income earned through service to other community members. LIFE, in contrast, has an MLM component and therefore rewards people even after they stop actively building. This is similar to someone being paid for the water flowing through a pipeline even after he has stopped working on the pipes. Since Team isn’t an MLM, one must train if he expects a training income; otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair. In a typical training system, the person at the top gives himself and a few cronies a special deal – not so with Team. Because Chris and I dreamed of building millions of people into our communities, we knew the “good old boys” club wasn’t only wrong, but it simply wouldn’t work to that scale. Instead, we used our technical backgrounds to reengineer the entire process, making it an equal playing field for all. Today, the Team is the recognized industry leader for fair and equitable training compensation for leaders who do teaching and training.

When we finally realized, after years of effort, that our former product supplier had no intentions of fixing its business model, we knew we had to leave. Without getting into all the details (that would fill a book), we survived nearly three years of legal haggling before finally settling all disputes. In that period of time, tens of millions of dollars were exhausted in a futile attempt to keep people in a company against their will. Even this seemingly negative endeavor, however, was extremely fruitful. We learned our communities grew the fastest when our only products were leadership materials. Simply by teaching leadership and focusing on community, the Team thrived. This was such a paradigm shift that I don’t think either of us understood all of the ramifications at that time. Instead, only with time and reflection did Chris and I realize that our leadership materials and a compensated community were the organizations core competencies.

During the legal morass, Chris and Terri Brady had one of life’s defining moments. Terri was diagnosed with a fast-growing brain tumor. The doctors were extremely concerned and needed to operate quickly. Can you imagine the additional stress on the already heavy load on the Brady family? Most people would have broken under the strain; however, the Brady’s are not most people. Terri displayed a true faith, living with a peace that could only be divinely inspired. Her spirit regarding the surgery and its potential consequences – death, paralysis through nerve damage, and loss of hearing, to name just a few – was simply amazing. How Terri, just days before her surgery, spoke on stage with such thankfulness and grace is beyond natural comprehension. Meanwhile, Chris’s quiet faith in God’s sovereignty spoke more than hundreds of theological volumes. Buoyed by the example of these two courageous champions, the rest of the community remained strong through their own challenges. By God’s grace, Terri’s surgery and recovery were an answer to thousands of prayers. The outpouring of love displayed by the community was indescribable, with thousands of cards, calls, and prayers. Additionally, a community of ladies volunteered to cook meals and nurse Terri back to health. What powerful testaments to God’s grace and Christian love within a community!

Thanks to the invaluable lessons learned during the struggles, we were led to our next major breakthrough – LIFE. LIFE is a culmination of nearly twenty years of learning, leading, and living. It combines the best attributes of four industries – Home Based Businesses, Leadership, Community Building, and Life Coaching. LIFE is a leadership/personal growth company designed to improve people’s lives. Launched in November, 2011, it already has over 2,000 customers. (This is multiple times better in several months than was previously achieved in over a decade.) People are raving about the LIFE products, which include CDs, books, and meetings. Thankfully for LIFE, Chris Brady is a marketing genius. In fact, I view him as one of the best marketers of this generation. What he has done to the look and feel of the LIFE and Team materials is without a doubt the best in the leadership field. This isn’t just my opinion, as Chris just won several Addy awards for his marketing expertise.

Along the journey, Chris has received numerous leadership awards. From being a NY Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and a top 15 Leadership Guru to having an internationally recognized leadership blog, Chris’s leadership thoughts are some of the best. Despite all of the leadership recognition, one of Chris’s best attributes is his disarming humility. You would never guess how much he has accomplished unless you pried it out of him. Both Chris and Terri, in other words, let their actions and results do their talking. If anything, their recognition understates the caliber of leaders they truly are. How many leadership gurus routinely speak in front of tens of thousands of people in a community built with their own leadership materials? Few, if any, do.

The Bradys have built a huge community, leading groups across the US and Canada. They are currently Quad-PCs and accelerating quickly. They are two of the best speakers on the professional circuit. Their mix of humor, stories, and heart, impacts people’s lives internally and eternally. If you have not heard them speak live, you are missing out on one of the most profound experiences of your life. Laurie and I have enjoyed countless hours of learning as we have watched this couple grow into one of the best of the best communicators.

Beyond business, Chris and Terri have also become some of our best friends. With so many years of experiences together, it’s not unusual for us to get together and laugh for hours at a time as we recall humorous stories from our lives together. This, in my opinion, is the greatest joy of community building – lifelong friendships with people of character, integrity, and wisdom. This next statement may surprise people. In truth, it shocks me. For in nearly twenty years together, Chris and I have never raised our voices against each other in anger. We have addressed issues, sought to understand, and resolved conflict, but we never did so in a disrespectful way. We value each other’s friendship and partnership enough to courageously speak the truth in love.

Congratulations to Chris and Terri Brady – LIFE Founders and friends. Laurie and I cannot imagine building LIFE without you. Thank you, Chris and Terri, for giving your personal best night after night, year after year, and using your gifts to impact others. Your integrity, honor, and courage have been displayed before the watching world. Now it’s time to finish what we started and complete our mission. When LIFE reaches 1 million people, the Bradys will have played a huge part in making it happen. Here is to the future together! Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: