Orrin Woodward Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his financial & leadership secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    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 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 Leadership. 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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Archive for February, 2012

AQ: Pass the Mental Fitness Challenge

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 28, 2012

Adversity Quotient is essential for success. A person will never rise to the mental fitness challenge until he develops it. The formula for AQ is: AQ = IQ (Intelligence) + EQ (Emotional) + WQ (Will).  When a person combines these three factors, he has an unbeatable AQ. Indeed, I have never met a champion in any field that hasn’t mastered the concept of AQ.

When I wrote RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I attempted to place the concepts of AQ in another resolution. However, AQ refused to stay out! In fact, as I wrote the book, I realized that without AQ, all the other resolutions are not enough. For many times, a person will do many things right, but just won’t stick around long enough for the success recipe to gel. This is where AQ delivers the secret sauce for success. :)

Are you rising mentally to the challenge of AQ in your life? Here is a short video to help you on the journey. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Chris and Terri Brady: LIFE Founders – Part II

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 26, 2012

Chris and Terri Brady Mediterranean pictureFinally, 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: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Chris & Terri Brady – LIFE Founders Part I

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 24, 2012

Chris and Terri Brady imageWhen I met Chris Brady in the AC Spark Plug lobby, we were 18 years old – kids fresh out of high school. Both of us had dreams, ambitions, and a willingness to work. After a brief introductory meeting with our student advisor, all of the students was sent off to various facilities for their specific assignments. Who could have predicted then what God had in store for two young men in that meeting? Even so, Chris and I met for the first time on that summer day in 1985, eventually leading to a business partnership that would launch a leadership revolution to change the world.

My second recollection of Chris was in our first semester of GMI-EMI, when I sat in front of him in our history class. I heard a young man behind me speaking boldly about the steps he had planned to climb the corporate ladder and achieve his goals and dreams. My first thought was: What 18-year-old already has his life plans laid out in that detail? Curiosity got the best of me, however, so I turned around to see who was speaking. Looking at Chris, I knew I had seen him before, but couldn’t recall where. One things was for sure. I knew then that Chris, at 18 years of age, was focused on moving ahead in life and leadership.

In truth, Chris Brady has been a dreamer and doer for as long as I have known him. For example, when I was working a full 12 week assignment in Wichita Falls, Texas, I lived in an apartment provided by the AC Rochester plant (one of the reasons I agreed to go to Texas, since I was dead broke.) :) Chris was assigned to Wichita Falls for a six-week term to help launch a new product. Since the plant was already paying for an apartment, Chris crashed with me and several other students during his time in Texas. It was my six weeks with him in Texas that solidified by belief that Chris was different from the rest of us students. Specifically, when comparing his purpose and vision to the rest of ours. Simply put, I had never met anyone so young who was as driven to break free from mediocrity as Chris Brady. His determination and confidence was scary for a low self-esteem person like I was at the time.

However, with that said, his boldness and direction intrigued me as much as it intimidated me. Why did this guy believe so strongly in his purpose? How did he achieve this magical elixir so young? Whatever it was, Chris’s drive led to massive achievements throughout college. In fact, he finished second in his 1990 graduating class at GMI-EMI (not too shabby considering it is a school filled with brains.) :) More impressively, after graduation, he qualified for the coveted GM scholarship program. GM selects only a few of the elite graduates for an all-expenses-paid masters program. Chris chose the prestigious Carnegie-Mellon Institute and graduated with a masters in manufacturing systems. Little did Chris know, however, that beyond his degree, he would gain something much more valuable – the love of his life, Terri (Estes) Brady, whom he met at Carnegie-Mellon.

Chris and I went our separate ways after graduating from GMI-EMI. Basically, it wasn’t until after I began seeking another career path to success that we were reacquainted. In truth, I was not planning on contacting Chris for my community – not because I didn’t think he could do it, but rather, knowing his drive and mission, I believed he already had his path to his dreams. Providence, however, intervened. Thankfully, when I began community building with another engineer, he strongly recommended we share our plan with Chris. He said he could line up lunch together for the three of us.

When Chris and I met for lunch, it didn’t take five minutes for Chris to begin dream building me on the possibilities of getting out of corporate America. Hold on a minute, I thought! I am supposed to be dream building Chris on our options, and instead, he has me imagining flying around the Caribbean, talking about owning a local island business, and living the high life. What gives? I was so discombobulated, that I never showed him anything. Only later did I realize that Chris had recently returned from his honeymoon, and no longer wanted to sell the best 50 years of his life working for someone else. Corporate America’s rose-colored glasses, in other words, had been cracked for both of us. Eventually, Chris and I had another lunch appointment that formed the foundation for a life-long business partnership.

Even though our businesses didn’t grow that fast, our friendship and trust for one another did. To be sure, we worked hard, but we never seemed to get the growth we expected from working so hard. Indeed, after nearly five years of tireless effort, both of us combined could barely gather 200 people within our community. Those were less than overwhelming results, to say the least – especially compared to our business today, since we recently had a brand new couple accomplish more in fifteen months than the Brady’s and Woodward’s did in five years! This couple went from zero to over 300 people in their personal community, achieving the RT level in just fifteen months. In Chris’s and my defense, however, it was a different era. We had to deal with overpriced products, an under-rewarding compensation plan, and a meddling myopic management team.

Our businesses may not have grown, but we did, both personally and professionally. We both came to faith in Jesus Christ during our five-year desert experience. It is immeasurable the impact this has had on both of us in all areas of life. Actually, looking back, I am thankful our businesses didn’t grow during this time, because if they had, we might have been inclined to take the credit. Instead, we struggled for years, building and replacing groups repeatedly. The lessons we learned about ourselves and others, realizing not all people follow through on what they say, were essential for our future success. In reality, many people start in community building with selfish motives, but over time, if they stick around, we see them change and grow into servant leaders. Chris and Terri chose the change and growth route, becoming top servant leaders.

Stay tuned for Part II. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , , | 11 Comments »

Oliver DeMille – 1913

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 23, 2012

Oliver DeMille pictureMy good friend and scholar Oliver DeMille, author of the bestseller Thomas Jefferson Education, is finishing up a fascinating book on the force shifts of 1913. Few people understand and explain the movements toward and away from freedom like DeMille. Simply put, he is humble enough to continue learning and intelligent enough to be a veritable genius. This is a potent combination for simplifying the concepts of freedom. Here is a portion of the introduction I wrote for DeMille’s instant classic.

Oliver DeMille’s soon to be released book gives the background story of the founders intentions and the fatal force shifts that hinder our freedoms. In truth, the four force shifts described in DeMille’s new book are painful enough on their own, but disastrous when combined:

1. The general welfare clause
2. The Federal Reserve bill
3. The income tax amendment
4. The democratic election of senators

America must turn back from the precipice and return to the path of freedom. DeMille’s book is a torch to carry on freedom’s path. Western Civilization needs more leaders like DeMille who are willing to learn, live, and share their stories of freedom. This book is essential reading, a primer of freedom or anyone desiring to live free. Let me close with one final thought from President Woodrow  in his 1913 book The New Freedom:

Who have been consulted when important measures of government, like tariff acts, and currency acts, and railroad acts, were under consideration? The people whom the tariff chiefly affects, the people for whom the currency is supposed to exist, the people who pay the duties and ride on the railroads? Oh, no! What do they know about such matters! The gentlemen whose ideas have been sought are the big manufacturers, the bankers, and the heads of the great railroad combinations. The masters of the government of the United States are the combined capitalists and manufacturers of the United States. . . The government of the United States at present is a foster-child of the special interests. It is not allowed to have a will of its own.

Is this as disconcerting to you as it is to me? Is it really safe for our government to be an orphan in the hands of Big Business and Big Banks? DeMille’s new book will share a path out of the maze. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , | 15 Comments »

Fiat Money, Income Taxes, & Freedom

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 21, 2012

Permitting government to produce fiat money is like giving a compulsive gambler unlimited poker chips. In neither case should we be shocked when runaway debt and excuses are all that ensue. Indeed, Alexander Hamilton, in a 1790 paper to the House, wrote, “The emitting of paper money by the authority of Government is wisely prohibited by the individual States, by the national constitution; and the spirit of that prohibition ought not to be disregarded by the Government of the United States.” Thomas Jefferson, furthermore, concurred, saying, “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks…will deprive the people of  all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” Even the founder of Keynesian Economics, John Maynard Keynes, opined on the dangers of fiat money, writing, “Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of Society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

Nonetheless, despite the many warnings on the dangers of fiat money, in 1913, the Federal Reserve was created. The name “Federal Reserve” is a misnomer, since this privately held company isn’t federal and doesn’t have reserves. In truth, because the Federal Reserve is a private company, it, unlike our government, is designed to make money. It accomplishes this by loaning money to our federal government for fees plus interest. However, in order to ensure the interest debt was serviced promptly, the income tax amendment, not coincidentally, was passed in 1913 also. By permitting direct taxation on a citizen’s income, the income tax amendment erased one of the last checks (proportional taxation of states) remaining upon government’s nearly unlimited avarice. The founders, by regulating the taxation with the State populations, tied the federal government’s hands, ensuring the individual citizen’s wealth was free from government expropriation. Sadly, with the passage of the income tax amendment, this federal constraint was removed. Since 1913, individual citizens, instead of the respective citizen’s state, have had the unequal task of squaring off against the federal government (IRS) whenever a tax dispute arises. This was not the intention of the founders.

It’s time to educate ourselves on our history, or we are doomed to lose our birthrights. Leaders must arise and educate communities around the world. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 18 Comments »

Leaders are LIFE-Time Learners

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 20, 2012

Every leader must be a learner. Why? Because no leader has all the answers. Therefore, a leader must constantly be learning to improve and grow. In fact, if a person refuses to learn, he has effectively limited his ability to lead. This is the reason hunger is so essential for leadership because only a hungry person will keep striving to learn more.

Are you a hungry leader? Are you humble enough to know that you don’t know everything? Are you willing to read, listen, and associate with other leaders in a community in order to improve yourself? The LIFE community is what makes LIFE’s leadership better than any other leadership company. LIFE’s leadership materials supply people with topnotch leadership teachings, but even more importantly, it’s the LIFE community that provides the environment in which to apply the leadership principles daily.

LIFE, by having a compensated community, has a competitive advantage on the rest of the leadership companies. Here is a short video describing the importance of learning for leaders. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Leaders Learn From Failure

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 16, 2012

What distinguishes the few from the many in leadership? Simply put, leaders learn from failures while most others avoid them. Sadly, when a person avoids failure, he also misses the “teachable moments” needed in order to grow. Chris Brady’s and my #1 Wall Street Journal Best Seller Launching a Leadership Revolution covers the principles of the learning through the Five Levels of Influence.

Surprisingly, the biggest success is typically the one who has been willing to fail the most. For the faster a person can go from principle understood to principle applied, the faster he or she becomes a leader. Indeed, what makes the LIFE community so valuable is the fact that people can learn leadership principles and then apply them within the community for immediate feedback. In other words, the greatest principles of leadership are practically worthless unless a person has a community in which to apply them.

LIFE provides both the leadership principles and a community in which people can practice application.  If a person does his best and fails, it isn’t an issue, since everyone is failing and learning continuously. Do you have a community that provides a grace-filled environment in which to apply your leadership principles?

LIFE provides a safe environment to listen, apply, and fail, so a person can ultimately learn how to succeed. What are you waiting for? Aren’t you ready to stop avoiding failures and start learning from them. Here is a video segment describing the process.  Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

George and Jill Guzzardo – LIFE Founders

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 10, 2012

George and Jill Guzzardo photoGeorge 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 Leadership/Personal Development, Life Training | Tagged: , , , | 32 Comments »

LIFE’s Meritocracy – How to End the Middle Class Squeeze

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 7, 2012

“Let us in education dream of an aristocracy of achievement arising out of a democracy of opportunity” – Thomas Jefferson

A simple definition of meritocracy would be the democracy of opportunity, providing everyone with an equal opportunity to advance based upon, paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr., “the content of one’s character, not the color of one’s skin.”

However, as I noted in the first two articles (Middle Class Squeeze and the Idle Rich & Idle Poor), Jefferson’s dream is certainly not today’s reality. When a person is confronted with this sobering truth, he can respond in one of three ways. His character is revealed by the path chosen.

Three Responses to the Middle Class Squeeze
The first option is to deny the bitter reality. The person continues to keep his head down, refusing to question the increasing financial and opportunity squeeze suffered by the middle class. This choice reminds me of the Matrix movie, where people live in a coma-of-complacency. Sadly, unlike the movie, the brutal reality will eventually jolt people awake, typically through a business failure or job loss.

The second option is when a person recognizes the reality of the middle class squeeze and plays the victim card. These perpetual victims run around crying to anyone who will listen (fewer and fewer do) until they have swallowed enough poison to poison everyone around them. Every person who associates with these embittered victims hears a monotonous refrain about what could have been, or who is to blame, or what a heavy burden they have to carry. What a waste of potential! No matter what has happened, why surrender the future to the past? If a person is still breathing, then he has hope!

The third option is to turn injustice into education. Since bitterness isn’t a viable option for leaders, this, in truth, is the proper response. Every person suffers injustices at some point in life. However, leaders turn injustices into education for growth, while losers turn them into justification for failure. This group perceives the challenges, but instead of whining about them, they begin working on solutions to win. Winners, in other words, choose to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Why the “Idle Rich” Dislike Leaders
The “Idle Rich” fear effective middle class leadership. Why? Because leaders challenge the status quo, generating change that can threaten the “Idle Rich” and their special deals. The wealthy elites train the middle class to be followers, not educated and effective leaders. Indeed, the middle class are like sheared sheep, tirelessly working to support the lifestyles of both idle groups. If the middle class were to get a true education, not just training, they may ask too many questions and catch on to the real game.

In fact, if the “Idle Rich” had to choose, they would rather have a middle class person fall further down the food chain (this is happening more and more), ending up as part of the “Idle Poor,” versus become a leader and get free. Serfs won’t cause trouble for the elites, but leaders can and do. The Founding Fathers were a middle class group of leaders that broke open the special deal mercantilism of the British Empire. If America hadn’t had leaders like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Henry, Hamilton, Madison, etc, there simply wouldn’t have been a revolution.

Where are the Middle Class Leaders Today?
Middle class leaders are Missing In Action (MIA) or more accurately, (MII) Missing in Inaction. The elites have worn down the middle class through excessive taxation and regulations, making the temptation to surrender to handouts look more appealing daily. One of the most shocking facts about the rigged game is the “Idle Rich” want and need the “Idle Poor.” For without them, the “Idle Rich” could not put the squeeze on the working middle class.

Before I go further, let me explain who the “Idle Poor” are and who they are not. They aren’t those without a job, but are still looking. They aren’t people who receive unemployment, while still searching for ways to support themselves. No, the “Idle Poor” are different. They have totally given up on the idea of self-responsibility, expecting others to provide for their lifestyles. Since there are no free lunches, the government must burden the working middle class even further to now support the “Idle Poor.”

If only people understood that this plays right into the hands of the “Idle Rich.” The “Idle Poor,” in other words, are stooges for the “Idle Rich.” Indeed, without the “Idle Poor,” who swallow their pride, decency, and self-respect for endless handouts, the Big Business/Big Government partnership could not maintain the squeeze play on the middle class. Why? Simply because the “Idle Rich” don’t have enough votes by themselves to continue charade parade. They must recruit people into the “Idle Poor” class, building the democratic majorities to maintain the middle class squeeze.

How Can LIFE Help?
The LIFE Community is a group of men and women who have freely chosen the third option. We are a group who of men and women who are sick and tired of being squeezed by Big Banks, Big Business, and Big Government. We refuse to bury our heads in the sand; we refuse to become embittered; and lastly, we refuse to sit back and do nothing! What if we created communities across North America, teaching personal development, leadership, and teamwork, that people refused to join the “Idle Poor?” This fact alone would create a revolution, ending the middle class squeeze!

We must raise up leaders across North America similar to the founding generation. LIFE has formed leadership communities throughout North America to do just that. Our goal is to educate hard working people on the crucial leadership principles necessary to lead their own lives, rather than be led by the “Idle Rich.” A tough assignment? Of course, but leaders don’t ask for easy, they ask for worth it. This is a worthy endeavor, one that brings out the best in leaders.

Because LIFE is a meritocracy, we expect to receive criticism from the victims within middle class society. What else could leaders expect from a group who demands perpetual handouts from others? Even so, we will never surrender the leadership principles involving character, task, and relationship in a meritocratic community. Only leaders and learners, who love a pay for performance community, will be excited about the LIFE opportunity. Therefore, not coincidentally, that’s exactly who we desire to partner with.

Leadership is a luxury in short supply in Western Society. We are not looking nor expecting everyone to be interested in LIFE. A person doesn’t have to be a leader to join the LIFE community; however, he must desire to improve himself through associating with other hungry leaders. I believe its time to Launch a Leadership Revolution. No matter how bleak it looks, there is always hope. Truthfully, there are no hopeless situations, only hopeless people in situations.

We can and do play a part in the future of our country. Remember, America was formed on the efforts of millions of small farmers, farmers who owned their own land and were rewarded based upon their own efforts. Aren’t our families worthy of having a dream for? Aren’t they worthy of going through some struggles for? Finally, aren’t our future generations worthy of persisting onward to victory for freedom’s sake?

I vote yes on all three questions above. The Founders of the LIFE have created a plan to restore Western Culture. Instead of just having a business with a purpose, we went one better. We are building our purpose on business. By combining the foundational principles of leadership, community and meritocracy, we believe we have the right mix to achieve this audacious assignment.

Other companies may play politics, make special deals, and pay based upon seniority, but in LIFE, a person’s pay raise becomes effective only when he does. LIFE doesn’t pay based upon your family name, your past background, or your past results. Instead, LIFE pays monthly based upon one’s monthly performance. Leaders love the LIFE business while posers hate it. Why? Because communities grow only when true leaders are present. In other words, this business exposes the posers.

The game of LIFE has started, are you on the playing field? Or, are you allowing past defeats to prevent your future victories? The choice is yours. All we promise is a level playing field and an aristocracy of leadership based upon achievements as Jefferson envisioned. We have combined all the ingredients necessary for success into the business of LIFE. All, that is, except one – your work ethic. This is what you must add to join the aristocracy of achievement.

Read and watch the LIFE Testimonials for yourself. You will discover that LIFE is a group of average men and women who have chosen to be un-average. LIFE is a community that has chosen to get better, not bitter, when faced with the middle class squeeze. Finally, we have launched the leadership revolution to fulfill our LIFE’s purpose.

What will you do? Remember, destiny favors the bold! Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Idle Rich, Idle Poor, & the Burdened Middle Class

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 4, 2012

In 2011, reporter Stephen Marche pinpointed the painful paradigm of today’s static classes:

There are some truths so hard to face, so ugly and so at odds with how we imagine the world should be, that nobody can accept them. Here’s one: It is obvious that a class system has arrived in America — a recent study of the thirty-four countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that only Italy and Great Britain have less social mobility. But nobody wants to admit: If your daddy was rich, you’re gonna stay rich, and if your daddy was poor, you’re gonna stay poor. Every instinct in the American gut, every institution, every national symbol, runs on the idea that anybody can make it; the only limits are your own limits. Which is an amazing idea, a gift to the world — just no longer true. Culturally, and in their daily lives, Americans continue to glide through a ghostly land of opportunity they can’t bear to tell themselves isn’t real. It’s the most dangerous lie the country tells itself.

Everywhere I looked, I was exposed to this bitter reality. The middle-class is in the big squeeze. This isn’t my opinion the data is available to all and is irrefutable. On one side of the squeeze is the aristocrats. They have their special deal monopolies (which raise the prices on all consumers), courtesy of our government. The “idle rich” enjoy non-competitive life of leisure because they are “too big to fail.” (How much money do you put in your gas tank weekly?) Since there aren’t any free rides in life, the perks are provided by the government at the expense of the middle class.

However, in order to maintain the special deal for the “idle rich” the government must find another segment of the population that benefits from the current state of affairs. This they achieved through creating a new class – the “idle poor”. Our government created and funds the “idle poor” as an insurance policy to protect the “idle rich”. Do you really think the elites care about the poor when we can see how they treat the middle? Could an alternative explanation be that this group is necessary to maintain their special deals in the rigged game? The poor are treated like they are “too small to win,” but it’s a lie. The poor, in a free enterprise, nonstatic-class environment, can win in the game of life. Sadly, it’s easy to get people to volunteer for a “something for nothing” program, even though these people end up losing the most – their own self-respect.

The politicians (of the left and right persuasion) promise handouts to enough groups until they have their precious majorities for re-election and can continue the squeeze on the middle class. On one side, the wealthy elites squeeze the middle class with monopoly positions promised by government politicians elected with elites excess cash. On the other side, the poor squeeze the middle, receiving hand outs courtesy of our government taken from the middle class. Only the idle on both sides win in this scam. The rich through monopolies and the poor through handouts, both with little to no effort. All the while, the middle class runs faster on the gerbil wheel wondering why they never seem to get ahead.

Please don’t misread my point. I love free enterprise and competition, but that isn’t what is occurring in the USA or Canada. Sadly, our government has created a class system more diabolical than Thomas Jefferson’s worst imaginations. I want our countries to be free and to have all people everywhere have the ability to win through their willingness to work and grow. But this demands an end to the hypocrisy of class system built on top of the American Dream ethos. In order to fix this mess, it must be called what it is – an aristocracy in our midst. Stephen Marche elaborates:

In the United States, the emerging aristocracy remains staunchly convinced that it is not an aristocracy, that it’s the result of hard work and talent. The permanent working poor refuse to accept that their poverty is permanent. The class system is clandestine.

Perhaps if enough of the working class unite together, we can end the middle class squeeze. Call me a dreamer, and idealist, or even a nut case. I don’t care. A man with experience (success over time) is never at the mercy of a man with an opinion (and no results.) I know the middle class squeeze to be true in several ways. First, I have witnessed the workings of the “idle rich” class, watching second generation wealth attempt to secure it through special deals. Second, I have thousands of people joining LIFE who have been squeezed by these very forces at work. I will not sit by idly and watch my country fall without doing something. The West needs a resurgence of freedom and an end to the class system protecting the “idle” on both ends of the spectrum.

I (and my fellow founders) formed the LIFE business as a dream for meritocracy, developing merit based leadership communities around the world. LIFE is a level playing field where a person is rewarded based upon his contributions within the community. Do a little, receive a little; do a lot, receive a lot –  just like my experience in competitive sports. May the best man or woman or team win based upon performance. No class system, no special deals, just an opportunity to win based upon one’s results.

When discussing meritocracy there are two main reactions. On one hand is the group who gets excited and thankful, realizing that they finally have an opportunity to win based upon their own efforts and results. On the other hand is the group who gets upset and bitter, realizing they will no longer be able to hide from the scoreboard of life, since they have been exposed by their lack of effort and results. I was involved in community building for 5 1/2 years with little to show for it, but I never blamed anyone else. In fact, you only become a loser when you blame someone else. Don’t fall into pity parties or you will never experience the victory parties.

Regardless of the rhetoric of either side, meritocracy is simply just. For meritocracy ensures that everyone is given an equal opportunity and playing field. Imagine playing a game of King of the Mountain where everyone has a right to enter the game and battle their way to the mountaintop. New participants join the game with the goal of running to the top and knocking off the current King of the Mountain. This is an analogy of a true free enterprise system. Anyone can enter and compete, but if you don’t perform, don’t come crying to mommy. People can enter as individuals or teams, but no group gets a special deal. The King today may be knocked off tomorrow by better ideas, strategy, and people. The referee (government) is supposed to be neutral (justice), ensuring everyone plays the games by the rules.

Imagine the travesty if the current King of the Mountain buys off the referees, forcing all new participants to carry a 50 pound bag on their back (extra regulations.) Even if the King has to carry the bag also, it’s much easier to be on top with the 50 pounds than run up a mountain side with it. The more government rigs the game, the less free enterprise it becomes and the more a class society results. Western Civilization is at a crossroads because Big Banks and Big Business do not like to lose and believe they are “too big to fail.” They have rigged the game, ensuring “idle rich” stay on top, while the rest of us run around wondering why no one seems to knock off the Kings of the Mountain anymore. Government must stop playing the paid off referee and go back to the neutral umpire it’s supposed to be. Either this changes or the West, as we know it, will die.

One might be wondering how Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc made it to the top of the mountain. In truth, nearly all of the new big league entrepreneurs made it to the top of a new mountain with no established hierarchy of entrepreneurs at the mountaintop. In other words, since the old mountains are closed by the unethical partnership of Big Business and Big Government, the only opportunities for hungry entrepreneurs is to innovate into the new fields where the mountaintop is still vacant. Innovation and competition is fantastic on the new mountains, but imagine how much more innovation would occur if Western Society opened up all its mountaintops, like a true free enterprise system should and competitive sports does?

For example, can one see how perturbed the established energy companies would be if some crazy innovator developed a way to convert water into workable energy? Does a person think the established order would support the new innovator or attempt to quash his (or her) ideas because trillions of dollars are on the line? Regretfully, squashing the new entrepreneur is the modus operandi in Western economics. Everyone, except the few with the special deals, are hurt here. For without innovation an economy stagnates and declines.

Here is a quick video describing the economic malaise damaging the West.

What if leadership communities, groups who educated themselves and others on historic leadership and liberty principles, joined together and formed free communities for real change? In my book, RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I talk about Arnold Toynbee and his thesis of “Challenge and Response.” We are going through one of these critical periods where the West has serious challenges to respond to and it takes leaders to respond. Throughout the West history, citizen leaders have stood up to tyranny whenever the need arose to right the wrongs. Today’s issues demand courageous leaders who will respond similarly, standing up and fixing them, doing what is right because it is right. Do you see the challenge? Are you ready to respond? I am and that’s why I committed to LIFE for life. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , | 24 Comments »