Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former 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.

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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.


Orrin Woodward

Walker Cay picture

75 Responses to “LIFE Island: Family & Friends”

  1. Ken Hendon said

    Let’s get in line now!

  2. Where did you get your pick from?

    Already have my boat picked out. The MIG675 http://luxury-sea.com/

    Could we build it like a separate country, get UN voting rights etc?

    Maybe do some jaque fresco ish floating cities? We’ll just have to see huh?

    So how many new PC will it take b/f this is a reality?

  3. jackiefrey said

    I have 100% certainty that there WILL be a LIFE Island. If Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady are involved, there will be a LIFE Island. Life without DREAMS is hopeless.

  4. Tim Marks said

    Orrin, I am in !!!!! I will have a 72S Azimut red with a flybridge. I will bring sirloin burgers and corn on the cob, if someone else can bring plates and buns ( whole wheat please).

  5. Rykel said

    Maybe we can adopt Singapore Island, my precious country. There is enough land and infrastructure for what you have described plus much more. I will be an elected President and my people and her posterity will live in great prosperity because we bring LIFE to the nations around us. 🙂 Regards, Rykel Lim

  6. I am in.. I have not been a yacht guy or a big car fanatic either. But there was something about that photo and what it signifies got me FIRED UP! Yes, Tim I will learn swimming! 🙂

  7. Siera Pinocci said

    I cant wait it gives me chills every time FIRED UP one day it will be its own nation

    • jjcapps said

      Siera, My dear friend. This too gives Josh and I great hopes and Destined dreams. The chills and wonderful Memories that we are going to create as a TEAM will get us there. Start Picking out our chairs for the beach side. FIRED UP!!!!

  8. Toni said

    Orrin, my husband and I would like to thank you for that “craziness” that made you hang in there when everyone was laughing. By doing so, you have brought hope back into our lives.

    The last decade have brought many struggles for us, however, throughout those struggles, we always maintained hope that God had something great in store for us. But, in the several months preceding this past February, I began to get worn down. I became depressed and I felt hopeless. And then in February it all changed! That’s when we were introduced to the Life business and we are so excited to be on board.

    I understand now that God wanted more for us. More than what we could ever have imagined for ourselves. He wanted us to grow and become all that He has in store for us. While I know we have more “grinding” to go on that potter’s wheel, we are on our way. We may just be starting out, but we are working every day to overcome our limiting beliefs and we’re hungry to learn and grow. Oh and you can rest assured that we’re walking that island!!

  9. Michelle Hamilton said

    I am so in Orrin! There is no way to dream but CRAZY!! I’m with Tim on the whole wheat buns! By the way I make them from scratch! Oh You think maybe we could have some exotic animals?

  10. Maria Silva said

    In a way it was my late father’s dream. Like a Robinson Crusoe. I hope I can see it soon.

  11. Tom Bauman said

    Oooooooh man!!!!
    A certain “negative beverage” slogan comes to mind right now.. 🙂

    “HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!”

    I can smell the salty sea air already! With you all the way sir!! Onward to a million! BHAG’s in tow!!

    Tom Bauman

  12. Eric Niciporek & Elise Brown said

    Orrin, This is amazing.. We ALL Must be willing to Dream bigger dreams than we can even believe.. I Cant wait to be on the Team/LIFE Island enjoying Life with my family and friends.. Thanks Orrin for the opportunity to Dream again !!

  13. Gary Zimmerman said

    Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve! Dream on….
    Thanks for dreaming the BHAG!

  14. kirk said

    Been looking for an island for years, http://www.privateislandsonline.com/bahamas-by-price.htm

  15. We gotta be there with ya!!!! That fires me up! I believe Orrin!!! I believe!

    • I will be doing BBQ ribs with our own dry rub, slow roasted for 8 hours, then grilled to perfection with a BBQ SAUCE basted like heaven. Mushroom and butter rice, and sounds like Tim has the corn on the cob!! Wahoo!!

  16. Barbara Priest said

    Just wanted to say I love your BHAG. I’m just
    starting to learn to dream again. Two phrases come to mind. “if you’re gonna go, you might as well go big” and “if you’re gonna run with the big dogs, you gotta get off the porch”.
    I hope I learn enough to overcome my fears and run with the big dogs of LIFE.

  17. Those who are willing to do what others will not today will be able to do what others cannot do tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to the work that it’ll take to make this happen. And I’m thinking a treehouse in the canopy…just a nice little place to get away to with a big ol’ reading room. 😉

  18. Hey Tim! I know this awesome bakery in northern Wisconsin that has the most awesome whole wheat buns, We’ll make sure to pack some to share 🙂

  19. I know I got in line in Oct. 2011. If the PC says it will be, it will be. Hey Orrin, don’t forget the airstrip for us pilots!

  20. rjfisher1 said

    Loved this crazy BHAG since we first heard it! We have our island house picked out and do walk throughs of it often with our family. CANNOT WAIT (we will be in charge of the gluten free buns).

    So thankful for your perseverance and excited to see this team-wide dream realized!

    The Fishers

  21. After my father was diagnosed with cancer, he went to see the movie, The Bucket List. Never a reflective man, he advised me to make a bucket list and to do everything that I can to do each and every thing on that list! Six months later he died and only two months afterwards I was introduced to Team and my bucket list was made! Call me crazy but, I think you are one of the most sane people I have ever met! An island you say…count me in!!! What better place to sail the yacht that I will have!

  22. Orrin and Laurie,

    I have come to respect each of you dearly and believe that what you say, you will resolve to do the work to achieve.

    I have further learned to follow folks who have what I want which is why we have chosen to follow your leadership and example.

    Since the PC of LIFE will have a fleet of yachts headed to the island then I am sure the Abernathy’s will have one too. Our colors will be nailed to the mast and we will be there bright and early to form the reception line and shout “welcome” to all who have come to set there elephants on their hind feet!!!

    Tina A

  23. mark matthews said

    Hmm, thanks orrin. Heard of this before but the pic helps. Geting images like I did when listening to Lana H talk about one of her vacations at a major. I am in!!!

  24. Kevin Hamm said


    You didn’t post this but four hours ago and look at the response. Harmonic cords have been struck, and I just read a research article on the dangers of harmonic vibrations colliding within a tree as it is being rigged down, (very relevant to those of us who might find ourselves at the top of such trees…currently). How truly dangerous a band of crazy dreamers might be as all of our dreams collide, I think an Island may just pop into existence much sooner than anyone may think. I’m in!

    Kevin Hamm

  25. I am definitely in! I can’t cook so I will bring the plates and napkins 😉 and some leaders who CAN cook! Gotta love being part of a community!! The dream is alive and well in the LIFE/TEAM!

    • I am so in; I am printing this picture and hanging it on my wall! Having an island means having fresh, tropical fruit, to me this translates to fruit kabobs, fruit smoothies, and of course fruit in its natural state, deliciously sweet and flavorful. My yatch will be the PINK one!

  26. AshtonVision said

    Oh yeah, I see it and I’m ALL in!

  27. Bob said

    We are with you!!! What an awesome spot. Can you see the divers in the water below the jetty?

  28. Sandy said

    To God be all the glory….may His will be done in our lives and our teams lives. I have never believed this strongly, felt more excitement and at peace that He (God) has provided us a way through Orrin & Laurie, Chris & Terri and all the policy council a way to affect people’s lives for His glory than through Team Life. Thank you for leading the charge and being the example for us. Praise God for your love, grace and mercy. In His name! Sandy

  29. Mike Kolp said

    No customs and all the pineapple you can eat! There is a nice spot on the southern tip for the community garden. The west edge has a great cliff for jumping into the ocean and diving just off the coast. Hammocks for all!!!


    • Sue Lohr said

      We are with you, Mike and Angie! Let’s get COURAGEOUS a corner of that island! FIRED UP!

  30. Skip and Kathy Mason said


    Were with you !!! Let them laugh, it wont last long !!! Gotta have a BEHAG and get that elephant buzz !

  31. Oh to dream the impossible dream! I dream the dreams that can only come true to those who dream during the day when still awake. When you can see, touch, smell and feel the beauty of the dream. When you can sense the reality of the dream coming true. When you can feel it in your bones with every depth of breath that you take. Where you can truly know that this impossible dream is not impossible after all. Where you can share this dream with others who have the same understanding of the impossible dreams as you do, they too know these dreams can and will come true. Dare us not to dream like this, for only with such conviction can they come true. I share this dream with you and know it will become reality because you said it, therefore it is a done deal. Welcome to all those who dream this dream to the Island of Destiny. Thank you all for your vision, it inspires us all to move on..

  32. jamie van slembrouck said

    Orrin, We will join you on the 51st state in the freest country in the world!!!!!!!!!!

  33. John Graff said

    This Dream has always been one of my favorites. First to have a Yacht ( written on my first Dreams list) then expanded to actually have a spot on Life/ Team Island. My elephant definitely charges for that. I counted 28 Yachts lined up coming in to dock, we have our name on one of them, and can see Team mates in line with us.
    Thank you and Laurie again for allowing us to come down for new years and get to spend time on your Yacht to really get the vision clear for ours in the future.
    God Bless
    John and Penny

  34. Raymond said


    I can smell the salt water and I feel the cool breeze. I just left a meeting with my architect, giving him final sign off on the design of our beach side villa. Dan Hawkins recently put in the full size basketball court and sand volleyball pit. Orrin designed and coordinated the building of the public square, commons areas and library. Chris Brady has designing the motor-cross course and race track. Bill Lewis has built a world class18 hole golf course, Tim Marks is in charge of the marina and he has identified the best fishing areas. George Gizzardo is developing the roads through the mountains on the west side of the Island. Claude is in charge of the men’s cave, diving, shooting, obstacle course and paintball… I can see it vividly…Charge!

  35. Great morning greetings!

    Loved this post! Unquestionably, I’m in the second group :o)
    I’ve heard you talk about an island on several LIFE/TEAM CDs, Orrin, and every time, I get that feeling transferred ( checkpoint racing’ing it 😉 ) that fires up those four billion neurons.

    Tim Marks recently gave the men who watched Mens’ Leadership a vision of a private jet that could help us get down to the island — http://www.pilatus-aircraft.com/index.php#12 — so whether by yacht ( with Terry & Claude & others in our Kaizen compensated community/tribe ), or by plane, I’ll be there ( bringing more whole wheat buns, organic PB & Jelly, & food with coconut in it )

    Cheers & blessings to all fellow rascals & rascaleenas who dream big and anchor their reality to their vision 🙂

    • An addendum to my blog post reply, Orrin … I have since finished one of the ‘Top 50’ books a few days ago, ‘Visioneering’ by Andy Stanley. Unquestionably, from my studying of those eighteen very solid chapters, Mr. Stanley explains so very well why this dream of LIFE island can & WILL happen! Nehemiah knew he would rebuild the walls of Jerusalem with God’s providence, and all of us in the LIFE tribe/community, with each of our PCs & RT’s leading the charge, and there to mentor with, learn, and grow from, we’ll all set sail to plant a flag of truth in each of the 8 F’s on this island 🙂

  36. Rob Crichlow said

    Dreams are always the first step. The most important step. The intensity of the dream will determine the results. Easy to say … easy to write … hard to actually do. Orrin, your courage to state this dream … build it into peoples hearts … give us an opportunity that will deliver it … and the system to build it shows how great a leader you really are. The more we have a chance to be around you it is clear how you really are who you say you are. You not only say it … but you live it as an example for the rest of us. Thanks for being a leader with a BHAG!

  37. Turhan and Carol Berne said


    Carol and I are definitely in. I know that in order for us to help LIFE reach this goal, Carol and I have to reach and pass our current goal of going turbo 10. Your audacious goal of LIFE island empowers us even more to work harder toward turbo 10 and beyond.

    Turhan and Carol Berne

  38. Dennis Perry said

    Orrin that is an awesome dream. Save a hammock for us.
    You have heard this many times I would imagine. LIFE Island is a great name, also what about tying the name back to our roots?
    Do you like the name: Destiny Island?
    Tying it back to the 90’s of T.O.D.

  39. Orrin, your posting regarding your LIFE Island Dream has prompted me to pass along a recommendation for a book I read recently, which I also previously sent to Chris Brady. It’s called ‘The Queen of Whale Cay’ and is written by Kate Summerscale. Here’s a brief editor’s snippet;

    “Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and a London Times bestseller, The Queen of Whale Cay is a marvelous portrait of one of the twentieth century’s great eccentrics. When Marion “Joe” Carstairs died in 1993 at the age of ninety-three, she was largely forgotten. During the 1920s she held the world record as the fastest female speedboat racer. Supremely self-confident, she inherited a Standard Oil fortune and knew how to spend her money–on fast boats and cars, and on a Caribbean Island, Whale Cay, where she reigned over a colony of Bahamians.”

    She was a world-class ‘motorized adventurer’ (like Chris), and I believe you will find her biography fascinating in that respect alone. However, it’s the aspect about her ‘ruling’ the tiny island of Whale Cay (which is not too far from Walker Cay, the place Team has been contemplating purchase of, I believe? 😉 and her attempt at developing a Leadership Academy/program of sorts, so as to help the locals Islanders achieve autonomy that I think you will be especially intrigued by.. God Bless & Semper Dreams!

  40. Elaine Lacey said

    Orrin, so enjoyed this blog! As I sat with my husband and daughter in our living room and read this blog to them for the first time, I became so emotional I began to choke up and cry. I had no idea this was a BHAG for me until you painted that incredible picture with your words. Words indeed are powerful, even more so than the picture because of the emotions they conjure up of quality time spent with family and friends. Thanks Orrin for expanding my DREAM !

  41. Doug and Trish said

    We just want to thank- you, Laurie, all the PC members, RTs ,and all of my amazing family The Patroit Revolutations!!!! You all have changed our lives so much for the better!!! We love TEAM/L.I.F.E!!! Woooo Whooo Fired Up!!! We will be there with you all. That’s one of our dreams is to live on an island!!! We love being by water; boating, swimming, fishing (that would be Doug) or just vegging out with family and friends!!! We can’t wait!!! We may not be the fastest getting there, but guarantee you will see us there!!! That is an Awesome pic!!! I downloaded it on my phone, so now it can be my screen saver!!!
    Thanks again Orrin you such an AMAZING LEADER!!
    p.s. please tell Tim we will bring the biggest plates we can find and whole buns!!

  42. Dawn Morrison said

    What an awesome dream. It doesn’t sound crazy to me. You’ll do it and we are behind you every step of the way. Let’s get to a million people and beyond. You are an inspiration.

  43. Sue Lohr said

    The picture just solidifies the goal. This is the ONE THING that my husband returns to again and again, your dream of an island for the Team. I am posting this picture on our home office wall as well. And Orrin, I noticed that I don’t know many of the names who have replied to your post – just think of all those NEW PC who are coming up!

  44. The Militellos said

    AWESOME! Count me in! I’ll take a lot with an ocean view.

  45. kenreeder said

    I got dibbs on the lot with the cliff that drops into the ocean!

  46. Larry said

    Orrin, this great! I can see the line of yachts coming in and smell the meat on the BBQ! Our feet are barefoot in the sand, and sun is warm on our face.
    Thanks for planting the seed that will grow to a tall Oak, well, in this case a tall Palm!

  47. Bill Eder said

    Orrin: A quote from Jiminy chicket. A dream is a wish your heart makes. I know i’m dating my self The chicket was a charecter in the movie pinnocio a puppet for you younger folks. however the dreams are still from the heart. If anybody can make the island dream happen it will be this awesome group of leaders. Do I hear an AMEN!!!

  48. Maribel Damphousse said

    I printed this picture and will be posting it in my dream board in our room. I’ll dream this crazy dream with you and all the others until it becomes a reality for myself too. LIFE Island is in the horizon! Thank you for sharing this BHAG!

  49. Dan & Erin Gilligan said

    Orrin, we are there with you. I can see sitting around the fire at night, everyone watching the kids playing together on the beach, laughing and splashing in the ocean, the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves, the stories each leader will tell… can’t wait.

  50. I am certainly happy you have this dream, because one day I expect to join you on the LIFE Island. Keep dreaming Orrin!

  51. I’m putting this picture on my desk & building this dream with you!

  52. I’m with you all the way, I’m posting this with the other BHAGs on my wall

  53. Indeed! Imagine what would be absent from our world today were it not for audacious goals!

  54. Wildtarg said

    Here’s an addendum for all the avid dreamers and hard workers out there:

    Carribean Blue by Enya.

    Dream on!

  55. Dude… you have just placed a huge brick in the situation of my own “crazy” dream… thanks for posting this…and my Mentor, Venkat Verada for sending me the link.
    I shall sail there upon a Swan …

  56. Jeremy Pottberg said

    Still one of my favorite ideas for my future, being able to join the PC on LIFE Island.

  57. This is breath taking !, I wake up every morning with my dreams yelling. And if someone goes to bed tonight after reading this blog and has a deep sleep – you might wanna go see a doctor. Wink Wink,
    Orrin this picture will be printed out and put on our living room wall !!!! Dreaming with ya, fired up

  58. You KNOW Abby & I are in!

  59. Kristen schill said

    Chris and I are IN, Orrin! Heck yeah!

  60. Fired up! I’ve never been in the market for a boat before but guess now I will be!i do ride a Harkey though; you OK with Harkeys on the island or is it foot traffic only? 🙂 printing this up and pinning it to my wall sir!

  61. Ok, I ride. Harley- not a Harkey. Excitement got me thinking tied. 😎

  62. Jammie said

    Hi there! This is great, thanks for reposting. LOVE it and I’m even more excited because I see how quickly this could come to reality.

    Thanks for another visual reminder!

  63. Karyn Keyser said

    I’m in! To dream BIG means we have no limits with our ideas! The Lord stated in His Word in I Corinthians 2:9, “9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I claim and proclaim the blessings of the Lord!!! Woo hoo!!! Fired up!!!

  64. Jan Duba said

    Aahhh… What trouble? Since my husband and I joined LIFE just 4 years ago, we were on board with this BHAG!! We’ve dream built on yachts and cats…(asking each other)… “which one will be a good fit to get us to the island?” However, we work through our Lord. Whatever God gives us, we will be a faithful steward of. God is good…all the time. And all the time…God is good. Thanks Orrin and Laurie.




  66. Jay & Angela Smull said

    Ang and I are in Orrin!! Sacrificing now to get our dreams later! FIRED UP!!

  67. Nate Fox said

    As for me and my family, we are in!!

  68. Tedd Clippinger said

    Our boat is on the water! Thank you for painting such a vivid picture of our future.

  69. As long as there is debt, as long as marriages need help, as long as people need Faith, there will be a market for what we do. The island is a foregone conclusion, all it takes to get there is daily action, every single day, in the right direction.

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