George and Jill Guzzardo – LIFE Founders
Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 10, 2012
George and Jill Guzzardo are LIFE Founders and leaders of leaders. When I first met George, he was living as far away from civilization as humanly possible. Indeed, George and Jill moved from the hustle and bustle of Chicago to the backwoods of the Michigan Upper Peninsula, just outside Ironwood. The Guzzardo’s goal was to get away from people and enjoy time together working in the health field and enjoying nature. Man, however, may make his plans, but it’s God who directs his steps. In other words, destiny intervened.
Ed, Jill’s older brother, happened to be my engineering mentor and best friend. Ed and I worked together on multiple engineering projects. When I started listening to CD’s on community building, I realized the potential and shared this with Ed. Ed agreed, driving 10 hours in the same state (that’s how far into the backwoods the Guzzardo’s lived!) to share the idea with George and Jill.
Jill was interested immediately, George however, was another story. He ignored Ed, watching the hockey game as Ed shared the concept with Jill. I remember Ed sharing his thoughts, saying, “Jill is excited, but George is going to take some work.” This is a common response. Inside of everyone is a dream pilot light. Sadly, though, most people’s dreams have been rained on so much, they believe it’s safer to bury their dreams than risk further disappointment.
Thankfully, George loved Jill enough to check it out. After reading his first book, he became a man obsessed with the idea of getting free. True, the odds were stacked against him in so many ways, having isolated himself in the backwoods where there were hundreds of trees for every person. Moreover, George and Jill were already extremely busy between jobs, hobbies, and raising their son. But, when a person wants something bad enough, the obstacles must give way.
The Guzzardo’s are champions today, not because everything was easy for them. On the contrary, if I were to define the Guzzardo’s with just one of my resolutions, I would offer Adversity Quotient because everything was a struggle for them. With that said, nothing keeps this couple down! Several times, in the early days (before team approach), they would start groups and lose them. On top of this, Jill’s brother, and my best-friend, died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism, blocking oxygen into his lungs. This was a tragic loss of a great man. Most people would have become bitter, instead, George and Jill, became better.
Laurie and I had front row seats watching the transition of this couple into the leaders they are today. When the Guzzardo’s made mistakes, they read more, listened more, and applied the principles to grow. Many will listen to CDs, less will read consistently, but only the few will apply the principles learned. The Guzzardo’s were part of the few. I watched George go from barely reading to reading mighty tomes on history, theology, and government. This is on top of his personal development reading and listening! In fact, the rest of the PC refers to George as the professor for his amazing ability to read and comprehend the classics.
As the Guzzardo’s began to grow personally, they also grew professionally. Despite driving several hours or more to share the opportunity, the Guzzardo’s teams grew. Their teams spread quickly into Wisconsin, eventually across the USA and Canada. Today, the Guzzardo have thousands of people attending events across North America and George and Jill reside in a beautiful house in Tuscon, Arizona. They are living their dreams – the same dreams shared many times to Laurie and I as they were growing on their way to victory.
Reflecting back, one of my proudest George Guzzardo memories was during our costly litigation with our former supplier. I watched the Guzzardo’s propose surrendering their dream property, rather than surrender their involvement with TEAM. This is nothing short of modern-day heroism. In today’s pragmatic world, where nearly everyone does everything for their own perceived advantage, I watched the Guzzardo’s voluntarily sacrifice for the good of the community. This story, thankfully has a happy ending! As it turned out, with the TEAM’s settlement of all disputes, the Guzzardo’s were able to retain their dream property in the mountains overlooking the Tuscon valley.
Laurie and I are proud to have George and Jill Guzzardo as life-long friends and LIFE Founders! Their commitment to growth, change, and leadership is nothing short of inspiring. By setting the example for their team, the Guzzardo’s have attended many job-optional parties across North America. There are many blessings from our business, but in my opinion, by far the greatest rewards are the relationships formed with true leaders like George and Jill Guzzardo.
Thank you George and Jill for having the courage to become better when others became bitter. Thank you for setting the pace and cutting a trail for others to follow. Here is to a blessed future together. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward