Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

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    Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

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Leadership Habits – Self Discipline and Success

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 30, 2008

I am researching the habits of leaders.  Self-discipline is critical to
a successful life and it takes self-discipline to develop the right habits.  Like they say, “You make your habits and your habits make you.”   In the spirit of the Wikinomics book, I am going to open up the discussion on habits for all.  Here is an article discussing some important leadership habits, but I think there are others.  Please read this list of leadership habits and add a habit and your thoughts.   All of us are on a leadership journey and I am curious on the habits we feel are essential to leadership.  The readers of this blog are the best! God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Many people are born leaders, yet the ability to lead is actually an art and an amazing collection of skills which can be learned and sharpened. The following top ten daily habits will help you and/or your clients grow as a leader personally, professionally, and spiritually.

Rodin 4 Thinker picture1. Spend 30 minutes each morning looking for “cracks” in the major
areas of your life. 

Your depth of character is key to
determining your success as a leader. It is easy for us to say that we are “in
integrity,” but your actions are the real indicators of strength of character.


Spend 30 minutes each morning looking at the major areas of your life: career, marriage, family, community, and spirituality. Write down any instances where you see “cracks” (you have cut corners, something is inconsistent, you have not kept your word, you have been dishonest, etc.) Do all in your power to repair those cracks by apologizing and dealing with the consequences of your actions. After facing up to past actions, begin a plan that will rebuild you and prevent you from making further mistakes.

2. Show up and be ten minutes early for every appointment.

Great leaders show up for every appointment, and they are always on time. Each day, practice not only showing up but being ten minutes early for each and every appointment. “The early bird gets the worm” has never been so true than when it applies to becoming a great leader that others want to follow.

3. Be dedicated to a high level of learning.

Great leaders are highly competent, because they are dedicated to a high level of learning, growth, and improvement. Spend 15-30 minutes each day devoted to learning something new. Do not settle for knowing “how” to do something. Dig deeper by asking the question “why” and then, go find the answer. Search the internet, interview an expert, or take a day trip to find the answer to a question that is on your mind or the minds of those who follow you. 

4. Be simple and crystal clear in all communication.

As a leader, your communication should be simple, clean, and clear as a bell. Examine both written and verbal communication for simplicity and clarity. Use as few words as possible, and eliminate jargon and “big words” from your vocabulary. Express yourself in a way that your listeners can understand.

5. Surround yourself with great people.

One of the secrets of a great leader is great people. Hire the right staff, surround yourself with a strong inner circle, and spend time daily with people who have a variety of gifts. With the support of a strong circle of men, women and children, you will be ready for anything that comes your way.

6. Develop a sense of commitment and responsibility. 

People do not follow leaders who are not committed and responsible. Commitment and responsibility can be measured by the hours you spend and how you spend them, the money you spend and how you spend it, and by what you do for others. Spend 15 minutes each day analyzing your time, your checkbook, and your volunteer work. Look closely at how much time you spend with family and friends as compared to work, how you spend your money, and how you give back to the community. You may be very surprised at what you find.

7. Develop a positive attitude by altering your mind.

It is very possible to alter your attitude by altering your mind. Saturate yourself daily with motivational literature, positive people, and inspiring music/art. By conditioning your mind to be more positive on a daily basis, you will find that winning will be a daily reward of your life.

8. Accept responsibility.

Great leaders never play the role of a victim. They recognize that part of being a great leader is being ultimately responsible for all successes and failures. On a daily basis, analyze your current projects, and ask yourself “Have I done all that needs to be done? What have I not done that I should?” Once you have analyzed each project, if you find a weakness, go the extra mile by working extra hours, hiring an outside expert, or getting really creative to repair the weakness or to turn it into a success!

9. Make self-discipline a part of your lifestyle.

What do you need to develop self-discipline? Following a better diet or exercise routine? Getting up one hour earlier? Being rigorous with your spending? Learning something new every day? Eliminate excuse-making from your life, and begin to develop habits that will invite self-discipline to become the foundation of your life. Hire a coach to support you during the development of a routine of self-discipline, and remove rewards until the job is done!

10. Develop courage by facing fear.

By a show of courage, you will inspire others to follow and to walk in your footsteps. Spend 15-30 minutes each day doing something simply for the sake of developing courage: speak to an audience, make a difficult phone call, learn a new skill, write an article or a top ten, or visit someone you have always wanted to meet. As Eleanor Roosevelt acknowledged: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

13 Responses to “Leadership Habits – Self Discipline and Success”

  1. […] today.  Read the book and take notes on the key points to focus on now.   I love the readers of this blog, because they represent a group of men and women prepared to make a difference.  […]

  2. […] have been doing research on the difference between self-responsibility and self-centeredness.  On one hand, a person must absolutely accept responsibility for the […]

  3. […] 1. Anything is possible to someone willing to dream. […]

  4. […] is to win today while making the organization better for tomorrow.”  Are you developing as a leader?  As a leader, are you developing other leaders?  The Team is Launching a Leadership […]

  5. […] have been formed.  What habits do you do on a daily basis?  Did you think through these habits to build a successful life or are you aimlessly developing habits with no thought towards the […]

  6. […] Orrin Woodward’s top 10 habits […]

  7. Carla Girard said

    Thanks for reposting this blog. I really needed it this morning. I find it is tough exert self-discipline, and that is exactly what I have to do to be successful in various areas of my life. It is the reason I have some of the issues I have in my life right now! Appreciate all your thoughts – it reinforces what I need to do to live the life I’ve always wanted to live.

  8. Melvinia Ford said

    This is something I posted on my Facebook page, and I got not only got a person who had been saying no to the program, now want to come and check it out, I also have another person who is interested in Kankakee, IL. See my posting below

    I can’t talk because I am too emotional but I tell you this new leadership program I am in, I see things so different. Like I have a new set of eyes. I am so glad I took a chance, made the sacrifice to become a part of something that is making me a better me, helping me to bring my family closer, help my community, give back, humble and die to myself to serve others and love others where they are until they are ready to change for the better or themselves. I have hit some bumps along the way but a man once said that “Successful people expect to fail, they just don’t accept it!!!” (Chris Brady)

    So you can change your life, your family, your community. Are you willing to go through the hurt, to work those things (muscles) that need to be worked until you can’t anymore to achieve what you need to. Or just sit back and wait for some fairy-god somebody to come along and just grant it to you, which in that case you will not be appreciative of it as much if you worked hard at it to gain the self esteem of completion and the lessons learned along the way to achieving your dreams.

    I dare you to try LIFE. I did it, and I am learning from those who have the results so I think I will keep on this path.

  9. Julie Sagnimeni said

    Great article! I think the list would have had a few changes if it was written from studying you. At the top with character would be vision. It’s hard to get people to follow you if you don’t know where you’re going! Another element would be developing leaders. Your vision, from my perspective, to change culture and preserve freedom hangs on leaders developing leaders who develop leaders. (You did write the book on this after all…) Somehow, I felt reading voraciously didn’t even get an honorable mention and I’m reading back through to see if I missed it, but it’s another key skill I am working to develop because of your example, and I believe it’s crucial to leadership.
    Humility also comes to my mind now too. After reading Resolved, and hearing you teach, I’m pretty convinced your own list of top ten leadership habits would whoop all others, but you set an example of learning from others, even inviting our thoughts here.
    Thanks for being someone worth following, Orrin. We sure are grateful for the changes in our own lives.

  10. John HATCHELL said

    This now my mantra when waking up. Thank you, My learning is slow but very fruitfull, You are a wonderful Authentic person, one day we will work out and shark fish.

  11. Robert said

    1, Make every minute count. So, spend every second evaluating and reevaluating all your decisions. 2, Don’t worry about keeping to other people’s schedules make your own and make it respectable to the events and actions that effect 1. 3, Everything thing is changed everyday and every second that passes learn, not just when it is allotted. 4, Communication is not getting your point across it is seeing that it expands in all directions. Be creative and don’t worry if you speel it wrong it may be what is necessary at the time. 5, There are no “great” people, all people are great and seeking this no matter where you go and what time you are arrive allows something significant to happen all the time. 6, Commitment and responsibility are relative, first learn to be decent, generous, and trustworthy, that way even if you follow, you can still be leading. 7, Never trust your thoughts, rather, think as your mind not with your mind, this way you will have access to billions of years of evolving knowledge and not just some HBS content. 8,Never be afraid to come up with your own ideas or be ashamed for having done so. True originality comes from the ability to piece differences together not come up with something new. 9, Don’t ever hire anyone to tell how to be yourself, learn instead what makes you yourself, then, refine it, look after it, defend it then do it again the next day. 10, Lastly, don’t worry about being afraid instead only worry if you are not doing something scary.

  12. […] Orrin Woodward’s top 10 habits […]

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