Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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    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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Ice Adidas: The Power of Belief

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 15, 2014

It was a warm summer day in 1992 and I was shooting baskets in Columbiaville, Michigan. While practicing three pointers, I noticed three middle-school age boys start practicing on the other side of the court. After a few minutes, I assessed the boys playing capabilities – two of the boys could play fairly well for middle-schoolers, but the third one looked like he hadn’t played basketball at all. Nonetheless, rather than continue to shoot by myself, I invited them to play a fun game of 2-on-2.

I chose the inexperienced basketball player as my teammate and called “Ice Adidas” since he was wearing an Adidas hat and one of my favorite players back in the day was George “Ice Man” Gervin. Remember, this was 1992, before I was into leadership development at all. I didn’t listen to positive CDs, didn’t read leadership books, and had no idea what a limiting belief was. Nevertheless, I was about to learn a great lesson on leadership that I want to share.

Because it wasn’t a competitive game, I decided not to shoot unless I was given a layup. Thus, “Ice Adidas” had to carry the main load for scoring our points if we planned on winning. Of course, I had watched “Ice Adidas” practice and I don’t think he was making more than one out of ten. I realized this might not be much of a game, but decided to roll with it and, to entertain myself, I decided to do a play-by-play of the game. The two competent players quickly jumped out to the lead and with me refusing to shoot, it looked like it was going to be a blowout.

Although at first the other two boys laughed at my incessant build up of their friend, “Ice Adidas,” I kept speaking it into existence.  Empowering words like – the player who is smooth as silk; the one who has ice in his veins; and the star who can carry his team – were spoken over and over as I drove to the basket and popped it back out to Ice. He was getting closer to the basket but he was still missing.

Then everything changed. “Ice Adidas” made on of his shots! I poured it on just like the TV broadcasters did stating, “Ice Man” is hot! Watch out! When he gets in a groove he is unstoppable! “Ice Adidas” is on the loose and now the game is now up for grabs. We were playing buckets, which meant if you make a basket, then you get the ball back again. This permits a team that gets behind to come back quickly if they get on a roll and that is exactly what the “Ice Man” did.

I would drive to the hole and pop it back to “Ice Adidas” and he started hitting EVERYTHING! The smile on his face seemed permanent as he proceeded to live up to everything I was saying. I had no idea the power words had to change lives, but I experienced it first-hand that day. His two friends started bickering about who was supposed to cover Ice and said to each other that you can’t leave him open or he will score.

I am not exaggerating, this same kid could barely hit the backboard, not he was hitting layups, jumpers, and anything else he shot up. To make a long story short we won three straight games and when the boys left, they treated “Ice Adidas” with deference. One of the kids asked him where he learned to shoot like that. I was wondering the same myself, but he had told me he had only played a couple of times. I am convinced “Ice Adidas” left that court a changed person. His friends treated him with deference and were amazed at his shooting prowess.

What happened on the basketball court that day? That’s a good question. Especially when one considers that I had practically forgotten about the whole incident until I started studying leadership. After countless CDs, books, and events, I realized that my words to “Ice Adidas” had helped change his beliefs. Although I had not idea what I was doing, my words of encouragement to the young man transformed him from a inexperienced player and into “Ice Adidas”. My belief in George “Ice Man” Gervin abilities became his belief in his abilities. “Ice Adidas” lived up to the words I spoke and played way above his former capabilities.

In fact, this is one of the leader’s main roles – help people see themselves the way the leader sees them. I invest my time seeing the greatness in my leaders and then sharing that greatness back to them. Over time, they replace their limiting views of themselves with a more accurate assessment of their leadership abilities. When this happens, everything changes just like it did for “Ice Adidas.” Information is important, but not until they have been provided the inspiration. The leader provides the inspiration for the people to seek the right information needed to win.

In sum, treat a person as he is and he will act accordingly, but treat a person as he can be and he will move heaven and earth to act accordingly. This is the power of belief. Have you ever experienced the power of changed beliefs in your life? Please share.


Orrin Woodward: LIFE Leadership Chairman of the Board

16 Responses to “Ice Adidas: The Power of Belief”

  1. Chad Waters said

    Hi Orrin!

    Belief is key in anything we do! Let’s all believe in others until they can believe in themselves.

    God Bless

  2. Josh Barnes said


    I love this story! It makes me think about my limiting beliefs and how insignificant they are.

    It would be interesting to know how this affected ‘Ice’ later on in life.

  3. Maura Galliani said

    Right on, Orrin! I’ve been on both sides of what you just described, and it is true. Belief is such a part of the equation. I’d also like to say I’ve learned much from your words on “limiting beliefs” and how to get past them. Thanks as always for your servant leadership and God bless you! 🙂

  4. Kevin Conover said

    I love the Ice story, Orrin, because I can see myself as that little kid with low confidence and not much ability, but because I surround myself with positive people that build and lift me up, we are accomplishing more than I believe I could do on my own. I am so grateful for great leaders and mentors and I aspire to be a great leader and mentor to others!

  5. Jim Wilson said

    Thanks Orrin,
    I am struggling with a limiting belief at the present. I’m working on myself talk. Scott R is coaching me. Now, I just have to get into action. I know I can. I have done it in the past and I can do it again. Thanks for the reminder.
    Thank you,

  6. Orrin, this is one of my favorite stories and examples you share on limiting beliefs.
    Belief before talent seems to be an accurate order in almost all things we do. Thank you for being the master at conquering limiting beliefs and inspiring others to do the same!

  7. Ken Hendon said

    Now, this was FUN!

  8. Elizabeth Sieracki said

    This story just makes me smile!! I am reading The Power of a Woman’s Words (not just a female read) presently. Such great reminders that I need everyday!

  9. CJ Calvert said

    Great story on encouragement Orrin, thanks for sharing!

  10. Chrissy Fleury said

    This is such a great story! And I love how it didn’t take years for his performance to change- just a little bit of edification can make a huge difference! My amazing husband, Abraham has given me a personal testimony of the power to help someone change their limited beliefs. Like many women, I grew up feeling very insecure about my looks. Well-meaning family members often told me “you’d be so pretty if you did your hair like this… Dressed like she does… Etc”. All it did was reinforce the feeling that being pretty enough was always just beyond my reach. So I lived out that image and didn’t take very good care of myself. From day one of meeting my husband, he has always told me how beautiful he thinks I am. Make up/no make up, scrubby clothes, hair done or all over the place… He genuinely saw me as beautiful, and started to live it out. Since being with him I have gotten more compliments on my looks then my entire life before that. He brought out the beauty in me by seeing it even when I didn’t. As Terri Brady has said “The sexiest/most beautiful woman in the world is a woman who feels sexy/beautiful.” Thank you Abraham for helping me change my limiting belief, and thank you Life Leadership for doing the same in so many ways. What an amazing life-changing group to be a part of!

  11. Erwin Villanueva said

    I remember when you shared this on stage on my first leadership convention in Visalia. So many times in our corporate culture it’s the opposite. This story brings so much truth and life into people who aren’t appreciated. What an awesome story Orrin!

  12. Tina Abernathy said


    I learn something every time I hear or read this story. It reminds of the book The Power of a Woman’s words. In it Sharonville Jaynes speaks about the power in our words.

    I love Life Leadership


  13. Shaun Bushey said

    I love hearing that story from your past!
    I know there is more positive one from my life, but when you talk about the power of belief this one keeps coming to mind. It was my senior year of high school and I placed in state shot-put which qualified me for internationals. I was in several other events and “knew” I didn’t stand a chance against those guys nearly 1 1/2 – 2 times my size so I focused on my other events and didn’t practice the shot. When the time came for the event I took my turn and thought nothing of it. A few days later at the awards ceremony I was floored when I heard I took 7th place, just one away from getting a metal! I knew I had no one to blame but myself and for years wondered what would have happened had I believed I could and gave it my all. Now, associating with LIFE and learning to quiet the negative voice in my head, I’ve learned to turn that regret into a sounding board for belief from the sense that you don’t know how far it is to success, and that’s a good thing! Just give it all you got and you’ve all ready won. Thanks Orrin!

  14. Amy said

    I had just listened to this story yesterday on a cd and after watching George Gervin in the video I was reminded of a youth girls softball team that applied the same principle. Their coach had T-shirts specially made with “BELIEVE” printed on them for each member and supporting family. Each player was required to play EVERY game that year with that shirt on. That was the only year they won the most games and took home the championship title in their age group. They didn’t know about Life Leadership but they certainly applied the principle of Belief. Thank you, Orrin, for the reminder!

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