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.

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

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Great Mentoring Requires Great Students

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 3, 2013

Here is an introduction to a book coming out on mentoring. Mentoring is so important to the growth of any organization and LIFE would not be creating the LeaderShift if it wasn’t for great mentors and mentees throughout the community. Yesterday, I learned that LeaderShift cracked the top 10 on the NY Times bestseller list and making the list for the second consecutive week. Onward and upward.


Orrin Woodward

NY Times Bestselling Books

NY Times Bestselling Books

Great Mentoring

Great leaders are first great students. Indeed, if if a person is too big to follow then he is too small to lead. Good mentoring wisdom lives on in the students long after the mentor is gone. For instance, Socrates mentored Plato who then mentored Aristotle who then mentored Alexander the Great! Clearly, the wisdom, belief, and encouragement from a mentor to a mentee can literally change world history.

A good mentor is someone who has successfully journeyed down a similar trail as his mentee. In fact, it is the mentor’s experience and wisdom from his journey that makes his time so valuable to the student. Newton once said, “If I have seen further, it’s because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” In essence, everyone, in his or her field, stands upon the shoulders of giants because there is no such thing as a self-made person. The only real question is whose shoulders will a person stand upon? In other words, what results do they have in the readers area of interest? Bestselling author Tim Marks elaborated on this thought, stating, “Define what you want, learn from someone who has gone before you, and then do it for the glory of God.”

However, once a person finds a mentor, he must prove himself worthy of the mentor’s investment. In my opinion, the best leadership line from any movie is when William Wallace spoke to his calvary leader, saying, “Do it and let them see you do it.” Likewise, mentees should listen, learn, and apply any advice offered by proven mentors. Mentoring isn’t psychological counseling, where people talk for hours about their past. Rather, it’s a plan of action in the present to change one’s future. A good mentor helps develop a plan for the mentee to implement. Then, when the mentee has completed the task or at least did everything humanly possible while failing on the battlefield, they gather again to PDCA (see resolutions 5 & 6 in my RESOLVED book) the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Interestingly, without the mentee’s application, the mentoring process is practically worthless. The sobering statement, “When all is said and done, much more is said than is ever done,” drives the mentee to apply the mentor’s advice before meeting again. Personally, I imagine how much it would cost to buy a top leader’s time and then ensure that my efforts go above and beyond his expectations to validate the investment of his non-renewable resource – his time. Mentees must do what they know and in the process they will gain more time from mentors and learn even more to do even more.

The best mentors refuse to give away this precious resource; therefore, when before agreeing to mentor, they ensure the student is hungry and driven. Probably the best way to explain this is through sharing a personal experience. When I was a young man, my siblings and I would spend a month at my grandfathers farm in northern Michigan. One of the task my grandpa taught me was how to milk a cow. Although not particularly excited about this assignment, I did what I was told. After filling up a bucket of milk and setting it to the side, I noticed that the cream consistently coagulated on the surface. In fact, I noticed the same phenomena repeated everyday I milked the cow.

Similarly, leaders, like cream, rise in any organization. A mentors role is to ensure he has enough buckets of milk so he can choose from many worthy cream candidates for mentoring. In truth, I am not nearly as good a mentor as my good students makes me look; conversely, I am not nearly as bad a mentor as my bad students make me look either. It is the students hunger and drive that makes all the difference, mainly because, since the mentor has already applied the advice he is giving the mentee in his own life, it is now up to the mentee to apply it in his life to gain the same results. The only remaining question is: will the mentee apply the advice he has been given?

29 Responses to “Great Mentoring Requires Great Students”

  1. Mario Vega said

    Thank you Orrin for the great mentor ship we receive. All I have become has been because of Jim Martin my mentor and friend.

  2. Turhan berne said

    Thanks Orrin!! Always appreciate the time you spend writing quality information.

  3. Chad Waters said

    Great Blog Orrin!

    I loved this blog as it goes right along ide John Maxwells book 15 Invaluables of Growth I read last month and am working on implying. The mentee / mentor is probly the key relationship in our whole business with learning from both sides about each others pesonalities. (Sometimes being 40/40 choleric is painful!) Ok more often then not! Lol

    Orrin I love haow every blog just gives another piece of the puzzel to our journey and mentoring or being mentored is likely the biggest one!

    Thanks as always!
    God Bless

  4. Kevin Hamm said

    Personal responsibility. On a side note, great adjustment to put sales commissions at the disposal of new members in the LIFE organization. I don’t know of any company that gives a new person the chance for 25% commission. If an individual is cash crunched, they can take personal responsibility and move the product. Frank Bettger has some good advice to get that done. Thanks Orrin, that will help incentify the 10%.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Kevin, you got it. We want to leave no stone unturned to help the new person win by gaining customers and members on his journey to success. We can build the best success process, but it still takes hungry student to implement! 🙂 thanks, Orrin

  5. JeanetteP said

    Great article Orrin! Thank you!

  6. Tim marks said

    Great post! It’s awesome to see Leadershift above Obamacare Survival Guide!

  7. Scott Staley said

    Great blog Orrin. Thank you for setting a worthy example, and letting us see it.

  8. Adam Rossman said

    Thanks, Orrin, for the tips on becoming a great protege!! Its great to have access to those who have learned to get to the destinations in life that we want to go to. I really value this advice.

    Also, congrats again on the book!!

  9. Wow, I am so thankful for your brain. I am sure one day mine will stop contorting at your genius. I mean that as a compliment! I am constantly challenged to become better by this group. I LOVE it. I just want to send a shout out to Tim Marks too…”Define what you want, learn from someone who has gone before you, and then do it for the glory of God.” that just gives me goose bumps every time! Thanks Tim Marks. I strive every day to be worthy. I did not have hope of that being possible until I met this group. Thank you!!!!

  10. Rob Robson said

    Orrin, I am so grateful for the regular mentorship I recieve from Chris Brady and the few times that I have been able to be mentored by you. I can’t wait to get this book!

  11. What a great article. Thanks!

  12. J & P Harteis said

    We will continue to hold ourselves accountable, Orrin, to have the privledge of mentoring with you & Laurie, giants in our culture! We will prove worthy! Thanks for all you continue to do for all of us……

  13. Orrin
    Thanks for your best effort & skills

  14. Keith B. Steward said

    Wow, some great advice, I am still a student of the System, & still learning, thank you Orrin.

  15. Elizabeth Sieracki said

    “The only real question is whose shoulders will a person stand upon”…we are incredibly thankful to be standing on Orrin and Laurie’s.
    We are putting our leaders plan into action. We respectfully thank our amazing leaders and strive to make them proud.

  16. Keith C. Lauver said

    Once again thanks Orrin for practical, implementable, and helpful advice for those of us who are striving to to develop better LIFE leadership skills.

  17. Sharon Lalor said

    Thank you Orrin for the post I am working on becoming a hungry student. I amazed at how blind I have been for so long. It is amazing to me that such simple truths can be so life changing. It is such a great opportunity to be surrounded by such a great group of mentors.

  18. As always a thoughtful, provocative, and challenging post on the “how to” behind becoming a better leader and a better student. Makes me curious as to who your mentors are. Thanks for your leadership!

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Rachel, I actually have almost a dozen mentors, depending upon the category. Several of my top mentors are very accomplished names, but I promised them when we started mentoring that I would never name-drop and I have kept that promise. Needless to say, I didn’t start mentoring with them, for the name, but for the information that led them to become a name. 🙂 God Bless, Orrin

  19. Brian Sommers said

    Thanks Orrin. That was short and too the point. That really hit home. I truly appreciate your leadership.

    Brian Sommers

  20. Larry Pahl said

    Leadershift should rise quite quickly. I can’t see anything else on that list that interests me, maybe one. Excellent thoughts on mentoring and being mentored. I pray I can be more coachable in the future. My biggest concern is how to instill hunger in someone you see starving. They’ve got cream but can’t seem to find “hunger”. Thanks for your leadership.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Larry, the answer to your last question is – Be the example. If your example of success doesn’t inspire them, nothing else will. thanks, Orrin

  21. CJ Calvert said

    You are a prolific writer, Orrin! I look forward to seeing this book released!

  22. Micah Kramer said

    Orrin, Thank you for LeaderShift and for this important article.

    As we’ve learned, it’s better to be reminded than taught, and this article is an amazing reminder of how important it is for each of us to apply and implement the principles we’re learning along the journey. Humility and hunger are SO important here. If it’s all about our EGO, we’re only delaying our own growth (& the growth of our community).

    This passage is powerful….

    “Mentoring isn’t psychological counseling, where people talk for hours about their past. Rather, it’s a plan of action in the present to change one’s future. A good mentor helps develop a plan for the mentee to implement. Then, when the mentee has completed the task or at least did everything humanly possible while failing on the battlefield, they gather again to PDCA (see resolutions 5 & 6 in my RESOLVED book) the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

    Forever grateful for the opportunity to plug into a system that sharpens me into what God created me to be –
    M. Kramer
    Team Braveheart

  23. Tony Hoffman said

    Thanks for your mentorship! We fight everyday to give honor to the trade of your valuable time, wisdom, love and encouragement! Problem identified to Problem solved! Love you and Laurie!!!
    Sharon Hoffman

  24. Kim Decker said

    i am learning to understand as I need to prove myself loyal and faithful and get the respect of not only my mentor but my soon to be followers as well… Diversity and integrity as we are taught and learned in our challenges in this LIFE. Great post and thank you

  25. Kirk Birtles said

    Orrin… To ensure you’ve got the ‘cream’ and that your not held hostage by the ‘cream look-a-like’ always be pouring more gallons of milk! Got it!! Thanks for always being a leader worth following!!!


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