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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The Ugly Duckling

Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 25, 2012

My youngest son, Jeremy, loves soccer. He watches, plays, and talks about it daily. For many years he was just an average player, but over the last six month he has blossomed. He average nearly three goals per game during his spring league and is making even more rapid gains since being in Michigan. Yesterday afternoon, Rob Hallstrand and I took on Jeremy and Rob’s son, Austin, in a soccer match in our indoor gym. We got killed! The boys took a tied 10-10 game at half and won 20-14. One of the best explanations of watching Jeremy and Austin change is in Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling story, where the goose mis-labeled himself and needed time to realize how special he was.

In the same way, many people in the world have special talents and skills, but no avenue in which to reveal them. This is where LIFE enters the picture, giving people the opportunity to display their special gifts to the greater community. Read the Ugly Duckling story and share how this story relates in your life.


Orrin Woodward

The Ugly Duckling

Once upon a time down on an old farm, lived a duck family, and Mother Duck had been sitting on a clutch of new eggs. One nice morning, the eggs hatched and out popped six chirpy ducklings. But one egg was bigger than the rest, and it didn’t hatch. Mother Duck couldn’t recall laying that seventh egg. How did it get there? TOCK! TOCK! The little prisoner was pecking inside his shell.

“Did I count the eggs wrongly?” Mother Duck wondered. But before she had time to think about it, the last egg finally hatched. A strange looking duckling with gray feathers that should have been yellow gazed at a worried mother. The ducklings grew quickly, but Mother Duck had a secret worry.

“I can’t understand how this ugly duckling can be one of mine!” she said to herself, shaking her head as she looked at her last born. Well, the gray duckling certainly wasn’t pretty, and since he ate far more than his brothers, he was outgrowing them. As the days went by, the poor ugly duckling became more and more unhappy. His brothers didn’t want to play with him, he was so
clumsy, and all the farmyard folks simply laughed at him. He felt sad and lonely, while Mother Duck did her best to console him.

“Poor little ugly duckling!” she would say. “Why are you so different from the others?” And the ugly duckling felt worse than ever. He secretly wept at night. He felt nobody wanted him.

“Nobody loves me, they all tease me! Why am I different from my brothers?”

Then one day, at sunrise, he ran away from the farmyard. He stopped at a pond and began to question all the other birds. “Do you know of any ducklings with gray feathers like mine?” But everyone shook their heads in scorn.

“We don’t know anyone as ugly as you.” The ugly duckling did not lose heart, however, and kept on making inquiries. He went to another pond, where a pair of large geese gave him the same answer to his question. What’s more, they warned him: “Don’t stay here! Go away! It’s dangerous. There are men with guns around here!” The duckling was sorry he had ever left the farmyard.

Then one day, his travels took him near an old countrywoman’s cottage. Thinking he was a stray goose, she caught him.

“I’ll put this in a hutch. I hope it’s a female and lays plenty of eggs!” said the old woman, whose eyesight was poor. But the ugly duckling laid not a single egg. The hen kept frightening him.

“Just wait! If you don’t lay eggs, the old woman will wring your neck and pop you into the pot!” And the cat chipped in: “Hee! Hee! I hope the woman cooks you, then I can gnaw at your bones!” The poor ugly duckling was so scared that he lost his appetite, though the old woman kept stuffing him with food and grumbling: “If you won’t lay eggs, at least hurry up and  get plump!”

“Oh, dear me!” moaned the now terrified duckling. “I’ll die of fright first! And I did so hope someone would love me!”

Then one night, finding the hutch door ajar, he escaped. Once again he was all alone. He fled as far away as he could, and at dawn, he found himself in a thick bed of reeds. “If nobody wants me, I’ll hid here forever.” There was plenty a food, and the duckling began to feel a little happier, though he was lonely. One day at sunrise, he saw a flight of beautiful birds wing overhead. White, with long slender necks, yellow beaks and large wings, they were migrating south.

“If only I could look like them, just for a day!” said the duckling, admiringly. Winter came and the water in the reed bed froze. The poor duckling left home to seek food in the snow. He dropped exhausted to the ground, but a farmer found him and put him in his big jacket pocket.

“I’ll take him home to my children. They’ll look after him. Poor thing, he’s frozen!” The duckling was showered with kindly care at the farmer’s house. In this way, the ugly duckling was able to survive the bitterly cold winter.

However, by springtime, he had grown so big that the farmer decided: “I’ll set him free by the pond!” That was when the duckling saw himself mirrored in the water.

“Goodness! How I’ve changed! I hardly recognize myself!” The flight of swans winged north again and glided on to the pond. When the duckling saw them, he realized he was one of their kind, and soon made friends.

“We’re swans like you!” they said, warmly. “Where have you been hiding?”

“It’s a long story,” replied the young swan, still astounded. Now, he swam majestically with his fellow swans. One day, he heard children on the river bank exclaim: “Look at that young swan! He’s the finest of them all!”

And he almost burst with happiness.

90 Responses to “The Ugly Duckling”

  1. Adriano trol said

    Great analogy,Orrin! Thanks for sharing

  2. Andrea Baxter said

    Great Jeremy! Miss you and can’t wait to see your improvements. I thought you were good before, now you must be outstanding! Putting in those 10,000 hours to greatness!!!

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Andrea, You are not only understanding but apply the 13 Resolutions in your life. GREAT job! thanks, Orrin

  3. Mark Pruitt said

    Thank you Orrin,
    You always seem to know what I need to read. My fear is how many “Swans” I have missed over the years. Yet another reminder to pray for eyes to see.
    Mark Pruitt

  4. Carlene said

    Thank you Orrin for this message. We all need a reminder of the amazing qualities that are within us. With time, rewarding information and sometimes just a little kick in the pants; we all will blossom. To all those reading this, You are AMAZING! Allow your heart and soul to shine bright!

  5. Jeremy Weiss said

    Awesome annalogy Orin. I have found my swans and it is time to fly!

  6. Jeanette said

    Wow Orrin, that was great! Pretty much in a nutshell, on many levels, you just described my story! Thank you for all you, Laurie and the whole LIFE Team do! By Gods grace, I think it’s time to fly:). God Bless!

  7. Joyce Brooks said

    Thanks, Orrin. What a great reminder to us of our own worth and setting goals to continually improve. Further, it reminds me to look for the best in each person I meet, and help that person discover his/her greatness.

  8. Wes Smith said


    It’s been a long time since I read this story. It reminds me so much of most of my life. I’ve tried to fit into crowds and hide in the background. I’ve had people try to make me into something I’m not and judge me when I didn’t meet their expectations. It wasn’t until I found a home on the Team that I was accepted for who I was and encouraged to shine in my own way. Thanks Orrin for the opportunity! It’s a wonderful LIFE!

  9. Deb Symons said

    I can relate to this story so much! Prior to Team I was tossed around from relationship to relationship, which soured my look at myself. Then I met Dean Clouse, who showed me to this new adventure that has over the past 6 years been shedding the layers of self-doubt, etc off of me. It’s such a Blessing to be Associated with a group of Godly men & women that accept, approve, appreciate you just where you’re at. The MFC, has just been a Bonus!
    God Bless you, for keeping this Vision going! As we’re on our way to One Million + of changed lives. Here’s to going from Ugly ducklings to Beautiful Swans!

  10. Rob Robson said

    I so relate to this story. In high school, I got into trouble constantly. After barely graduating, I decided to got to college but shortly found out that I just didn’t fit the mold. I didn’t want the cubicle life for 45 years, with someone else setting my schedule and my income. With no clear path for the life I wanted, I decided to temporarily take a job selling cars until I figured it out. By my 21st birthday I was working 70 hours a week and even though I was making more money than any of my friends, I could see that unless something changed, I would e a slave to my job the rest of my life.
    It was at this time that I came across some audios by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady that changed my life. These audio’s outlined a specific system for creating a home based business and even more importantly a system for developing myself into a leader that others would follow. For the first time, when i looked in the mirror, instead of seeing a loser, I began to see a leader (in training) looking back. Within 6 months of working part time on my business and full time on my thinking, I was making enough money that I didn’t need a job ever again! A few years later, my wife Kenyon and I were making a a six figure income and living the life that we always dreamed.
    I’m am so grateful to Orrin Woodward, Life, and the Team system, for creating the mirror that allowed me to see through the scam of my “ugly duckling” image, by exposing me to a community of eagles and convincing me that I belonged.

  11. John Oliva said

    Small changes, everyday make a huge difference. This story reminds me of the metamorphosis that occurs in the life of a butterfly. The caterpillar cocoons then transforms. The new butterfly is unable to free himself from the cocoon until he endures the struggle and hard work of developing his strength. Our struggles help us become who we are supposed to be.

  12. and birds of a feather flock together!

    “Hang around thinkers, you’ll be a better thinker; hang around winners, you’ll be a better winner; hang around a bunch of complaining, griping boneheads, and you’ll become a better complaining, griping bonehead,’ –Charlie T. Jones

  13. Amy Clark said

    This is a great analogy. Life has become that farmer’s family, accepting me right where I was at, and helping me blossom into what I am to become. I pray to become more like the farmer to everyone that has been placed before me. Thank you Orrin for changing the current in our collapsing culture’s pool.

  14. Orrin,

    Wow, haven’t read this story in years and how fitting it is to read it now! Thank you for posting this. Jeremy is a great example for all of us!

    All my life I felt as though I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I never felt good enough, never felt I could fit in. I would sometimes have to change who I was so I could fit in the round hole and all that did was create disaster. Just as the goose felt alone and afraid, I think we all go through points in our life feeling the same way, especially before we discover Christ. And from that point on He reveals ‘us’ to ourselves. But now instead of feeling like we have to fit into a round hole that just doesn’t fit, He introduces us to a bunch of other square pegs that are just like us – all of us unique but ‘swimming majestically’ in the same direction.

    • Bill Eder said

      Kristen: You indeed have become a swan. I have seen you grow so much in the past couple years too become one of the top leaders in TEAM/LIFE. It is a great witness how this system helps people who want a better lot in their life to become the best version of themselves. We all have the potential to be what the Creator designed us to be. His “grace is enough we just have to have the courage to open the gifts he gives us every day. You have done well, keep keeping on. We have amazing leaders like Orrin & Laurie Woodward to show us the way.

    • matthew mooney said

      just keep stroking Kristen! we are with you!

    • Kristen,

      I have only known you as a Swan and see the grace in your leadership heart.

    • Joanne Brandtjen said

      Kristen- you are certainly a swan for us. I’m glad Orrin shared this story- it’s a good reminder to think about the ‘ugliness’ we have to battle to find the swan God has placed in us! God bless!

  15. Soupie Shaw said

    Wow!! Thank you !! Thank GOD for LIFE !!

  16. Chris Harvey said

    Incredible analogy Orrin. It really puts growth into perspective! Thank you!


  17. Randy Donais said

    Good story! Like Kristan said it has been MANY years since I
    either heard or read that story. To me, its another one of those little leadership stories that pinches you to see if you’re awake!

    Randy Donais

    • Randy, you have found your group of swans and it’s a blessing to have you part of the community! Look forward to helping you in the journey! Keep leading!

  18. Brandon Perry said

    Great story to keep on hand. Thank you for posting this.

  19. Orrin,

    Great article! Even more affirmation that not only am I not as bad as I once thought I was, but I also see the greatness within that’s bound to emerge eventually! Thanks for all you do my man!

    Larry Allswede

  20. Great Post! Congrats Jeremy! What a great example of what happens when principles and practice collide.


  21. WAY TO GO JEREMY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome to hear how you are excelling in soccer!

  22. Jose a zaragoza said

    Loved it thanks Orrin for the great analogy

  23. jimmy varghese said

    great article. so many people including myself have been made to feel like they dont fit in to the cookie cutter mold of mediocrity that society has laid out for us. why i love the LIFE team so much and my mentors keith and elizabeth seiracki is they never made me feel like that, if anything they embraced me and provided me fertile soil to grow. and for that i will always be indebted to the LIFE TEAM and my Lord, Jesus.

  24. Alex Obiden said

    I have often in life felt like the black sheep of my family. First to learn the hard way, last to want to change. Hard headed I guess. My father was always there for me though. I can’t say I know exactly what it feels like to be that, “ugly duckling,” but I do know what it feels like to see the light at the end of a dark road. God makes good things come of bad. Just look for them. I’m amazed at how many miracles have happened in my life. Some say, “God left earth,” personally I think that’s not true. I think God had always been here, some people just wear dark glasses. Hard to see the light with your eyes closed. Thanks Orrin.

  25. Georgia Baker said

    Great post !

  26. Orrin,
    Like many of the comments above, its been a while I heard this story. I originally read this in Hindi on of the school text books growing up.
    My story has been like the young swan.
    1) I was supposed to be a girl(after 2 boys for my parents) and that was what my parents were praying( for and my mom jokingly used to say she dressed me up like a girl for one year. Hehe
    2) Grew up in a joint family and come from a lower caste on top of that had a terrible time with school and learning so always picked on. Some of the names I was given still reverberate in my years though its so funny now
    3) Struggled through school doing math and engineering and never felt like I belonged there and it showed in my results. Shame of not being accepted if I was not an engineer or a doctor.( recently 7-11 was added to that list)
    4)Come to US ( a new pond I guess) and was picked on being a ‘traitor’ for always building friendships with Americans and not spending too much time with the Indian crowd. This one was bizzare for me though.
    5)Put down for starting a business along with my job terming ‘I am wasting all my education’
    6) The big one, when I became a Christian, man! it was vicious attacks
    7)Kicked out of the family for 3 years for marrying Lynda.( They love her now)
    8) Raided and criticized for joining TEAM by my previous mentors.

    So how does it end you ask. I have a found a breeding ground for people like me in TEAM and LIFE.

    The ugly ducking, India, USA, blondes, browns, Nirvana, gods , One true God, Jesus, Amway, TEAM, LIFE truly a love affair with life. God bless you and keep you.

    –thank you

  27. matthew mooney said

    Thanks Orrin for using a great old story to point to our lives and what we go through while out on our path. All of us are on a journey and too often we end up where we dont belong or arent wanted or loved; wondering how did I get here. Then we catch a glimpse of that vision that has been in our heart all along. We start to move in that direction still unsure but feeling yes this is the way. Then we find that mentor, who sees in us what we cant, who has traveled the road and they show the way ahead and help us to believe that “yes we can!”

    • Well said Matt! Keep leading from the front! God is aligning your life in such a way that you can do some amazing things! Proud of you!

    • Bill Eder said

      Matt: You also have grown a lot definitely are another great witness as to what this team system is all about.
      I am so proud of you and the way you are using the gifts God has given to you. We are all better to be in this journey. Blessings to you

  28. It feels as though that story was written about so many of us thank God we have all found our own flock of very special people to fly with thanks Orrin this type analogy is always the shot in the arm that gives us all a very needed boost GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS

  29. Jamie Jewer said

    Wow, Orrin what a great story – thanks so much for sharing it!

    This is an example of how very important it is to accept, approve, and appreciate people in the place where they are right now. Those positive words we provide will serve as the warm blankets and food to help those individuals survive the winter of their challenges, enabling them to have the time to blossom during their springtime when their true purpose and character can be revealed.

  30. Alicia Johanning said

    Great story! I feel like that right now because of the LIFE products. I feel it is just amazing at how much these product, consistantly used, change you in a positive way! It is so great because the pressure that the duckling went under was so imparative! He would not have known how great his victory would have felt when he got there. 🙂 It is will not be easy, but it is worth it! To see the transformation is worth it! THANKS LIFE!!!!

    Alicia Johanning RED EAGLES

  31. Windy Stanton said

    I find it interesting that 99% of the comments can relate to this story. We are all looking for acceptance and recognition. We all have that desire to be more than we are at the moment. We all feel like there is greatness in us, but have never tapped into it before. LIFE has become that vehicle for us to find our beautiful swan. Beautiful story. Thank you Orrin.

    • Peggi Kern said

      Great observation Windy! I totally agree with you. It has been fun to sit back and watch your Mississippi group strive for greatness!

  32. Orrin,

    LIFE provides the opportunity for everyone to find their own personal greatness.

    I see LIFE members as those willing to reach inside someone and help them become all they are capable of.

    Thanks for giving another perspective to finding the swan inside us all.

  33. Iantha & John Jinks said

    Thanks, this story is just what we needed to hear today… after a very trying not too positive day it is very uplifting and encouraging.

    After only 2 months in the TEAM/LIFE (KAIZEN DYNASTY-Paul & Tara Ferrusi’s team.) There are days that the negative influences of the outside world tend to get you down. We find we can’t wait until the next meeting to have more of the positive person to person interaction to lift us up. We are truly appreciative of all the books, CD & now Blogs that we have to help us in our day to day struggle’s to become a better US.

    Iantha & John Jinks

  34. Debra Mohr said

    Always loved this story. Thanks for sharing it again.

  35. Peggi Kern said

    When my daughter was 3 or 4 years old, I had that story on cassette. She would cry at the end of the story every time. I think about it today with fondness. I think even a small child can feel the sadness of not fitting in and then finally finding your place in the world. I love it! Team and LIFE is a place where ALL can find their place.

  36. Richard Kroll Jr. said

    Orrin… that you for sharing the “Ugly Duckling” story…so many memories are stirring in my mind of how LIFE has helped me through the myriad of mis-labels, the inability to share special gifts and talents, and other issues that come from wrong thinking. I thank God for you, the Policy Council, Marc and Kristine Militello and the life changing materials that you provide!

    • Peggi Kern said

      You mention the inability to share special gifts and talents previous to gaining LIFE information and although I don’t work with you directly in LIFE, I couldn’t agree more that LIFE has given you a platform to use those gifts and talents, because all who watch can see how special you truly are! The life changing materials are amazing! (I know that was a huge sentence! lol)

  37. Micah Kramer said

    Thank you Orrin. Great success story for Jeremy! And how appropriate to leverage this timeless fable to illustrate the principle of believing in one’s God given talents/potential regardless of what the critics say. (Especially when our negative self talk can often be the loudest critic…)

    Each of us has the power to change our thinking, our actions, our habits, our results and ultimately, our legacy.

    The time for timidity has passed. It’s time to be bold, to get in the water (over our heads) and out of the sandbox of mediocrity. It’s time to swim! To embrace the swan in each of us and arrive into people’s lives and help them see that they too, are beautiful swans, created by God to achieve greatness in LIFE.

    What a wonderful journey we’ve been blessed with. It’s humbling and such an honor to be in the battle with this community.


    Micah Kramer

  38. Greg Burkhardt said

    That’s Great stuff, wow what a message.

    Thanks Orrin

    Greg Burkhardt

  39. Imelda Roman said

    So many times I was read this story as a child and I read it to my child as well and most times it became a teachable moment and here it is again but this time the lesson is so much deeper and long lasting in nature. As a child it was about treat others well regardless of appearance, capacity, or status; be kind to strangers and many more, each one a great lesson. Today is about looking inside self and recognizing that no matter what the world throws at me, my Creator made me for a purpose and all I need to do is keep going forward trusting in Him and the “grey feathers” will be gone and the beauty He placed inside will shine for everyone to see! Because as someone once told me “God don’t make ugly!”

    Thank you Mr. Woodward for sharing your son’s accomplishment with us, it is inspiring to read of youth with a desire to grow and be their best they can be and have a positive attitude and outlook in life, it gives us hope of a better tomorrow!

    • Awesome perspective Imelda. Proud of you for your convictions in the truth and following God’s plans for your life! You are a beautiful swan who shines daily!

  40. yancy said

    Congratulations Jeremy!!!

    This blog is great and I really relate to it so much what ablessing to get a glimps and teaching from examples of your life thank you Orrin I at times have felt like the ugly ducklin at times feeling inferior and not fitting in with different types of people but with team and life I am like is said so many times revealing my true self and I am proud in the person I am becoming I am learning to love accept myself.Thank You so much for such great teachings.

  41. Tom Gavin said

    Keep on Swimming!

  42. Harold Henslee said

    Hi Orrin, my son Destin loves to play soccer also, played 10 games in the spring made 27 goals. I’m not braging, but he knows he’s good and it’s sure if that’s what he wants to do. He just turned 9, I think we are going to put him in an advanced league, what do you think?

  43. Geneva said

    This is such a great reminder to all of us. Peer pressure, fear, limiting beliefs, & more hold us back daily. It’s awesome to know there is a community that will accept us for who we are, yet love us enough not to leave us that way! Helping the masses discover their purpose, destiny & how to leave a legacy is what I love most about LIFE.
    Thanks Orrin!

  44. ryan whelpley said

    like bill lewis said life is about taking your label and ripping it off. if the Ugly label hadnt been applyed he would have seen his potential from the begining. and it came from the most well intentioned sources. i will seek to love people as they are. accept aprove apreciate. everyone!

  45. Shannon Whelpley said

    I have always loved that story, and although I always knew it related to life, I never really drew the correlation between my life and the story. Thanks for adding a new dimension for me to think about it more and more.

  46. I read this blogpost on the Ugly Duckling to my kids and here is their response in their own words:

    Aidan – i like the blog . this is a lessen to not bully people.Even when people are bulling you because you are different dont stop trying to stop them tell a parent or a teacher they can help you out.

    McKenzie – I really like this story about the Ugly Duckling because he didn’t give up finding happiness. My favorite part is when he sees himself in the water and realizes he was a swan all along.

    Thanks for a great post Orrin.
    Steve Leurquin

  47. Jerry Harteis said

    Life is truly helping people to discover their true identity in Life. So many in society either steal their own identity thru the lies they tell themselves. Or they lose it by believing the falsehoods others may say about them. One must discover there true identity and then pursue it with passion. Thnx for all you do

  48. Cori Ragan said

    Sounds like the student is becoming the teacher! Great job Jeremy!

    The ugly duckling story really resonantes with me and my kids. My kids are so different from me which can be frustrating at times, but this story is a great reminder that they are all beautiful and they all need lots of love. Same goes for adults too! Anyone who may feel like they don’t belong can blossom in the right place. You just have to be willing to keep moving forward until you find it.

  49. Chuck said

    Like any parable, I believe real depth of meaning can be in placing yourself in each role of the story and so analyze how may have helped or hindered the progress of other ugly ducklings in their own pursuit. Regarding the ugly duckling, aren’t we all one in some area or at some point? Props to this little brave soul for persevering. May we all do so also!

  50. Joanne Brandtjen said

    Orrin- thanks for the great reminder in this story! LIFE can help us develop our swans! I struggled being the odd one out at my high school because I came from a different middle school, but was fortunate to have a good base knowing that God loved me for who I was. It was a rough 4 years and I never really clicked with any of the ‘groups’ I tried to be a part of. I finally have that with LIFE!!

    And Jeremy- how sweet was that victory at Dad’s expense! 🙂 Congrats on your achievements- keep kickin’ it!

  51. Theresa Saigh said

    Wow, this was great. I, too, feel like I am “showered with kindly care” from my incredible upline leadership in Jim and Jenny Salter and Nathan and Sarah Harbottle. Their ever-so-patient and kind leadership gives me a great hope that in my own ‘springtime’ ~ I will say to myself, like that swan, “Goodness! How I’ve changed! I hardly recognize myself!” Thanks to this impactful system of learning, I really believe there will be a springtime for me.

  52. Will Johanning said

    Wow! This story actually reminds me of the story of Joseph in the Bible, who was made fun of in his younger years, for being too much of a “dreamer”, and went through a series of monumental and hopeless trials and tribulations in his life only to emerge triumphant, at the highest attainable position in Egypt, next to actually being the Pharaoh.

    Thanks for sharing this, Orrin. I have had my own share of “ugly duckling” syndrome in my life, and thanks to LIFE, I feel like I am emerging into the “Swan” I was meant to be! It just keeps getting better.

    God bless you, Orrin!

  53. Anthony Nieto said

    I can say Orrin that life before TEAM and LIFE had no meaning. I was just killing time, passing by. I had no real reason to do anything but wake up, go to sleep, and do it again. TEAM is really the best thing that happen to me personally. I believe in myself and actually look forward to living better each day. The principles the TEAM has showed us to apply in life makes life a challenge but fun. This story is a great comparison to look at yourself and evaluate your self worth.

  54. Marlaena said

    Love this story Orrin. Always brings a tear to my eye in a positive way.

  55. Eric Schilling said

    I smell an edge cd coming on! Great analogy.

  56. Tammy Broderick said

    great analogy! I had never really realized how pertinent this story really is to our lives!

  57. titus jumper said

    Man this story inspires me I have heard the story many times before bit never with this mind set. It truely does not matter what others think of you at this moment because they don’t know where you are
    going. Even more importantly it does not matter what you think of yourself bacause some times we get caught up in who we are today. That is why I am so thankful for Curtis Spolar and the Life business because even when I have not had belief in myself someone else saw it differantly.

  58. Yasminah Respes said

    Great story about appreciating the gifts that we’ve all been blessed with. Even though we may not realize it at the time, there is always a plan ahead. Thank you for this, Orrin!

  59. Elaine Mallios said

    OMG that was me! ha ha.

  60. Great post Orrin! Unfortunately, many great people with incredible God-giving talents have been passed over because we pre-judge their current condition, situation, or look. Thanks for the reminder…fired up!

    • Patrick Pflederer said

      Eric, It is amazing the the talents that are revealed in people when they are given the right opportunity, encouragement, and information.

    • Tim Samuels said

      Eric, I used Steve L idea from above and had my kids read the story of the ugly Duck.

      Will (5) said; He found his kind and made friends

      Andrea (10) said; Don’t underestimate yourself time can make big changes.

      I remember one of the early Chris Brady recordings talking about how we are constantly surrounded by life lessons. We just need to take the time to look. This is a great example of looking for the lesson. Thanks Orrin

  61. Jennifer Charles said

    It is so great how you take everyday stories and stories we have grown up with and apply it to our life’s. Thank you so much.

  62. Jim Martin said

    Thanks for sharing Orrin, it doesnt surprise me though when he has a great example to follow like you. Way to go Jeremy!!

  63. Kim Decker said

    This is so true in so many lives…How many of us were never told “You can be anything you set your mind too”. This gives a chance to those “Special” people. I love what we all do and I thank the LORD for you and your grace everyday.

  64. Ken Hendon said

    Glad to hear about your son’s improvement in soccer. Even happier that it led to such a good analogy.
    Thanks, for the great thoughts!

  65. Barbara Jordan said

    Thanks Orrin for another wonderful story. I’m always amazed at how you use poignant stories to drive home leadership concepts. Your story-telling ability is great. As a parent, I’ve learned so many leadership lessons of my own. Some of them were joyful but many were truly painful. Nevertheless, thank God for the pain because most of my growth has come from that pain. I just hope that I can put the same “spin” on my stories that you do. And, I hope I can tell them with the same talent as you do. Keep up the inspiring work!

  66. Debra Mohr said

    I am glad to know that through doing the mental fitness challenge, my duckling view is turning into a swans view. I already know I am flying with the right flock.

  67. Steven Johnson said

    I never read the ugly duckling all the way through before. I can see how many of us born under cover and need help discovering what we were born to be. Thanks for the post.

  68. Laurie Tallio said

    I spent most of my teaching career as an early childhood educator, and my heritage is mostly Danish, so I have long loved Hans Christian Anderson. In the movie where Danny Kaye portrays Hans, there is a delightful seen where he sings the Ugly Duckling song to a young boy who has lost his hair due to illness. It is precious and sends such a message how we can all uplift, encourage and edify those Ugly Ducklings in all of us.

  69. Jeanne Fritch said

    Love your application of this old story from my childhood. Thanks for the “re-visit”, Orrin!

  70. Wildtarg said

    I love the story you recounted Orrin – it is richer in narrative detail than the simple children’s storybook version. The echoing theme of loneliness and longing to be loved stirred aches and aspirations in me: Some have been assuaged, but not forgotten. There is a song called Healing, by Iona that encapsulates a long, difficult period of my life. I found much of their earlier music moving and spiritual, but this song struck a deep harmony in my heart.

    “Do not judge by appearances, but use right judgement.”
    -Rabbi Yeshua

    “Beloved, we are God’s children, and what we shall be has not yet appeared; but when it does appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is.”
    -St. John

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