Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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

  • Orrin Woodward

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    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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Dream Big and Long

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 28, 2016

Many people dream, a few dream big, but only a select few dream big and long. These select few, not coincidentally, also happen to be the ones who achieve the most in any field. Dreaming big, in other words, although a necessary ingredient to success is not sufficient in itself, for without the ability to endure the predictable ups and downs on the success journey, a person’s poor thinking will disqualify him from continuing the journey.

Indeed, this is why one of the resolutions in my Top 100 All-Time Leadership book RESOLVED is Adversity Quotient (AQ) , the ability to handle setbacks without quitting. Perseverance is a combination of knowing why one began the journey, reframing failures into teachable moments, and holding onto the success rope when everything in you wants to let go. This is what makes a champion a champion, the relentless pursuit of perfection regardless of the time and effort needed to create the desired results.

Perseverance

Perseverance

If I had a dime for every person who had what it takes to win who quit on himself, I’d double my net worth. 🙂 Talent, in other words, is rarely the problem; instead, perseverance is what separates the haves from the have-nots. No matter what the field, the resolutions of Purpose, Attitude, and AQ are all part of building the level of perseverance necessary to achieve success at the highest levels. Does the reader know why he does what he does? Has he developed the ability to reframe his setbacks into teachable moments? Can he persevere no matter how great the pain of temporary denial and frustration?

If the reader answered yes to these questions then his success clock is ticking and its only a matter of time before his internal victories are revealed externally. Yes, get a big dream, but also back it up with the AQ to dream long. Success rarely goes to the most talented, but it always goes to the one who refuses to quit until he wins! Perhaps it’s time for the readers to pick up RESOLVED again and begin building the resolutions on the inside to reveal them on the outside.

Furthermore, for advanced study, the Mental Fitness Challenge can help burn the resolutions into one’s thinking to make living them part of one’s DNA. Needless to say, the resolutions are the most predictable formula for success that I know, but they only work when the person does.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC), Orrin Woodward | 6 Comments »

Here in the Real World

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 30, 2016

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a song playing in my head, a song from country music singer, Alan Jackson, I hadn’t heard in years. Curious, I went up to my office and searched the words and realized this song fit perfectly with my studies on the Financial Matrix.  I believe more than ever that the greatest impediment to world freedom is the current money system that enslaves everyone who is tempted into debt.

My life’s purpose and the LIFE company are so closely intertwined because I want to help people live their dreams while being debt-free. Naturally, this will it take a longterm focus, disciplined effort,  and the support of a community, but the results are worth the time invested. After a few hours of playing with the lyrics, I changed the words to fit the story of the current money system. George Guzzardo’s fascinating new book The Torch of Freedom shares the story of freedom in an engaging style. To live a life of liberty, however, a person must free himself from the Financial Matrix debt system.

Play the song and read the new lyrics below to sing the new song. For that matter, if one is in a creative mood, feel free to suggest more verses that fit into the song. 🙂

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

“Here In The Real World”

Cowboys don’t cry, and heroes don’t die
Good conquers evil, again and again
Freedom, the sweet dream, that always comes true
Oh if life were like the movies, I’d never be blue

But here in the real world, it’s not and justice for all
Big Banks and inflation, cause real dreams to stall
The system is sad but true, making money indebting you
It’s why the people don’t ever get debt-free, here in the real world

I gave you my labor, but that wasn’t enough
To hold my income, when booms turned to busts
And tonight on that silver screen, it’ll end like it should
Light will cast out darkness, like we hoped it would

But here in the real world, it’s not that easy at all
With banks too big to fail, its real jobs that fall
And although it’s sad but true, there’s still one thing that we could do
Put an end to the Financial Matrix fraud, here in the real world

 

Posted in Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Orrin Woodward | 28 Comments »

Casa della Vita & Dream Builder Yacht

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 28, 2016

Casa della Vita is one of the ways that LIFE lives its motto of Have Fun, Make Money, and Make a Difference. Top performers qualify to enjoy three days and three nights on nearly nine acres at Casa della Vita with a private chef, access to two fishing boats and the Dream Builder Yacht. Nothing expands the vision of what is possible like an all-expenses paid vacation to Casa della Vita. From the moment an achiever arrives, he will be treated to first class accommodations and service by the Casa della Vita staff.

Before I started building communities, I used to spend Saturday mornings watching fishing on TV, dreaming about catching the big ones in the ocean. Now, through the Casa della Vita rewards program, business builders can experience it first hand. Some of the best fishing in the world is minutes from Casa della Vita resort in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Further, a private chef can prepare your catch as an appetizer for your next meal. LIFE doesn’t ask where a person started in life, only if he is willing to grow and change to become all that God intended him to be.

Laurie and I dreamed of creating a retreat to reward top performers for their impressive results. Thanks to the excellent estate management of Mike Oppenheiser, the amazing interior design work of Anna Huber, and the experienced fishing skills of Captain Bill Howard, the dream has come true for all with the courage to act. Up to nine couples per team can spends three days of fellowship together while enjoying separate bedrooms and bathrooms at night. All of the above, of course, is paid for by LIFE as a reward for business achievement. LIFE provides the vehicle for a person to live the life he’s always wanted by eliminating the debt he’s never needed, through learning the defense, offense, and playing field of finances.

In addition, when Laurie and I are in town, our goal is to crash Casa della Vita on Surf and Turf night! Our hope is our generous and relaxed neighbors will be so kind as to share their private chef with their hungry neighbors. 🙂 We have had several groups down so far and the night with our neighbors has been nothing less than amazing. What a great way to get to know the teams better in an island-time atmosphere. Case della Vita is another dream come true where Laurie and I can bless others with the many blessings God has given to us. Come join the dream by setting your goal to be here next year. Get with your support team to determine how you can qualify and we will see you on surf and turf night! 

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Chairman of the Board

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Fun, LIFE Leadership | 10 Comments »

Frontline Community Leadership

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 24, 2016

“Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

Having practiced leadership for nearly twenty-five years, I don’t believe anyone has captured the essential difference between effective leadership and ineffective management in community building any better than Eisenhower did in his pithy statement above.  Building communities requires three steps: 1) Learn, 2) Do, and 3) Teach. For some unknown reason, managers believe they can skip the vital second step and move directly into teaching what they have never done. Predictably, the managers fail miserably in this endeavor, but then, even more bizarrely, some then blame the lack of results on the community building model versus their lack of leadership. 

For instance, I don’t care what community building business one is in, if a potential leader desires to build a big community he must do more than simply recommend the proper teaching CDs on contacting and showing the plan. He must also master contacting personally before he can effectively teach it to his community in business launches. Further, if he desires to teach how to show the plan and share the products with others, he must be doing it himself at least 15 times per month. Indeed, before he can run successful house plans, he must know his message inside and out and have encouraged through his example how others can do one on one’s as well to ensure new people are at his house plans. In other words, the leader learns before he does, and does before he teaches. If this process gets out of order, the person is managing, not leading, and his business flounders.

Successful house plans revolve around new people seeing a bigger vision for the company’s products and vision than the new member is capable of providing. As a result, if no new people are at the house plan, then the leader has most likely fallen into management mode. First, learn the skills of contacting by doing it over and over before presuming to teach it others. Second, learn how to show the plan and share the products by attending opens and then show it over and over again before presuming to teach others how to do so. Successful house plans only occur after the community is confident in showing the plan and sharing the product with others through numerous one on ones. The people who showed interest from the one on ones are then fed into house plans or open meeting to see a bigger picture. Top leaders will promote the next seminar to help the new people see the community in action that will help them get financially free. Miss any of these steps and the potential leader is competing for manager of the year, not leader of the year. 🙂

What are you waiting for? A person can dream all day long while listening to all the CDs, reading all the books, and attending all the seminars, but until he starts DOING the work, he is not qualified to teach. The future has never been bright for those who will act towards their dreams. Learn, Do, Teach works, the only question is will you work. 🙂 True education, in short, leads to ACTION! Quit pushing others strings. Instead, tie the communities strings to your leadership and move in the direction of financial freedom. Your team is sure to follow a person who leads. Plug into LIFE and start the process of learning by doing so one can eventually teach what one has learned to others. In the process, not only will you change your life, but the lives of many others who had no other way out of the Financial Matrix.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Chairman of the Board

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Life Training | 7 Comments »

SailFish: Persistence in PDCA

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 28, 2016

The longer I live, the more I realize the importance of a concept seemingly forgotten in today’s post-modern age, namely, experiences are many but principles are few. Persistence, for instance, is a principle that winners apply to many different experiences. After all, it takes time to master the thinking and skills necessary to produce excellence in any area. To use one example, true love is rare because it is not a wild flower blossoming overnight; instead its the fruit produced after years of cultivation through serving and encouraging another human being. Unfortunately, the principle-centered perspective, to put it mildly, has fallen on hard times.

Indeed, one of the greatest insights on my leadership journey was learning to view particular experiences through the lens of the underlying general principle. That is to say, although a person has a myriad of particular experiences throughout life, he would be surprised how few underlying principles are involved in all of the experiences. In fact, the reason I wrote RESOLVED, was to reveal how 13 Resolutions can apply to practically any experience a person has in life. Once understood, the thousands of issues a person faces in life can be boiled down to principles to be applied consistently. This is revolutionary for mastery of 13 resolutions (and the few principles behind the resolutions) is much easier than memorizing the proper course of action in the thousands of individual experiences without the master code.

Not surprisingly, these concepts are not new, for over 2,000 years ago Plato explained in his cave example how most people merely look at shadows reflected upon the wall rather than turnaround to see the actual objects. Plato, in short, taught a person to look for the underlying principles within reality to stop merely living a life of shadows. I explain all of this as background information to one of the greatest fishing experiences that occurred in my life last week.

On a sunny Saturday morning, Captain Bill Howard was readying the DreamBuilder II for our fishing expedition while my beautiful daughter, Christina, and I discussed our plan for the day. She had taken the day off to go fishing with her dad, hoping to finally catch a Sailfish, a fish that had eluded us for over ten years. Of course, even if we didn’t catch one, we would still settle for some big Mahi-Mahi like I had caught the week before. Still, the dream was centered on catching a Sailfish, the fish that built the reputation of Stuart, FL, as the Sailfish capital of the world. What makes the Sailfish so special? For one thing, Sailfish are the fastest fish in the ocean reaching speeds in excess of 70mph. For another, Sailfish have incredible aerial acrobatics and will fight with everything in them to escape. The typical south Florida Sailfish averages 7ft in length and weighs between 35-40lbs; however, the big boys can surpass 8 feet and weigh over 50 pounds. 

Clearly, the odds were against us. Despite fishing on average five times per year during the Sailfish season, I had NEVER caught a Sailfish, not even one. A cynical person would suggest I had no business taking my daughter out fishing for the dream fish since I had no results, but I knew the underlying principles in the quest. For past failures are not defeats but merely repeats with better information. Over the ten years of failure, Captain Bill and I had practiced the process I teach in RESOLVED of Plan, Do, Check, and Adjust, making every failed attempt a teachable moment on our way to victory. Between a better dredge line (fake fish that stir up the water while trolling), better bait, improved knowledge of drag settings, proper trolling speeds, and the best equipment money can buy, we had PDCA’d nearly every step of the process in the over ten years of failure.

Still, the facts were that after nearly fifty attempts, thousands of dollars of gas, and hundreds of hours, we had zero results. This is where another underlying principle of success comes in, namely, God’s delays are not God’s denials. Many times in life, the best things take time and God delays results until the principles are mastered. Because I understood this, I did not feel defeated nor dejected. If anything, I was more excited than ever, because I knew we had the best process yet to catch Sailfish. After catching a King Fish, a Blue Runner, a Sea Bass, and a baby shark, Christina and I asked to go trolling for the big ones. Early on, I knew something was different because we ran into a school of some mysterious fish that destroyed thee of our five baits. I say mysterious fish because I had caught plenty of Mahi-Mahi and had never seen us go through a school without a hooking up at least one.

8'2" Sailfish

8’2″ Sailfish

Undaunted, we reset the baits and speculated on what type of fish we had run into. I asked Cap if he thought maybe it was a school of Sailfish. In his mid-sentence reply, we received our answer. One of our lines was hit with such violence that I though we would lose the pole. Line ripped out of the spool as I grabbed the pole, realizing this was something special. The speed and force of this beast sped away from the boat is indescribable! However, I still wasn’t sure if I had a Sailfish or a massive Wahoo, but my answer was not long in coming. After spooling out over 400 yards of line, an 8’ 2” Sailfish proceeded to leap out of the water, its majestic sail fin stretched to the max as it arched though the sky. Pandemonium is the only word I can say to describe the next 35 minutes as the Sailfish repeatedly  jumped out of the water (seven times in total), rocketing itself into the air and dancing on its tail to escape the hook.

Thankfully, the drag was set properly, the correct hook was used, and the best pole was employed to help me bow the pole when the Sailfish launched himself into the air. The only problem was my left forearm exploded to twice its normal size as I sought to maintain the grip on the pole during the fracas. Fortunately, Cap gave me a ten minute breather in the middle so he could also experience the completion of a ten year plus dream. Finally, I was able to bring it up to the boat and Christina took several stunning pictures before we released him back into the water. The dream fish swam off and my  thoughts drifted back to the underlying principles behind this amazing experience.

To achieve this dream, Cap and I applied several principles of success. First, anything great, anything truly worth accomplishing, demands persistence. Quitting is not an option for winners. Second, since Cap and I were not going to quit, we might as well improve from our failures. The PDCA process is the most honest process because it admits failure is a necessary for all success. In fact, show me someone who is not willing to fail and I will show you one of the biggest failures. In contrast, if a person refuses to quit and constantly changes to improve, then he is a walking success bomb, eventually exploding onto the scene even though it actually took years to do so. Learn the PDCA process and persist in life’s worthwhile goals and the reader will meet with a level of success few can even imagine.

How did a kid from Columbiaville, Mi, with no money, no connections, and no confidence escape the Financial Matrix and live the life of his dreams? Simply stated, I learned and applied great principles by studying great people. Coach John Wooden, for example, taught me persistence when I learned he coached for over twenty-five years before he won his first NCAA tournament. Sure, he won 10 NCAA championships in his last 12 years, but do you realize it took 27 years to win his first one? Everyone seems to remember the last twelve years, but few realize his first quarter century of failure made him who he was. The same is true for the reader. Do you have a dream and are getting hit with failure after failure? GREAT! You are right on track compared to my Sailfish experiences and Wooden’s coaching experiences.

The question is: are you getting bitter or better? Winners get better and losers get bitter. Losers, in other words, aren’t people who lose, but people who react wrong to losing. If you are losing and getting better, then your victory is nearer today than ever before. Because I learned the underlying principles involved, no matter how many failed Sailfish attempts I experienced, I knew I was closer to victory than ever before when I took my daughter out for a Saturday morning fishing excursion. The results speak for themselves.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Chairman of Board

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Orrin Woodward | 21 Comments »

Shining Light into a Dark World

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 21, 2016

Historically, Christians have been the “Salt and Light” within society, tempering the process of decay (salt), while renewing the world with the gospel of Christ (Light). Over the last fifty years, however, a radical change has occurred. Christians today, instead of living “Salt and Light,” practice a peculiar “halt and hide” methodology. Fearful of standing out from the crowd, desiring instead to “fit in” with non-believers, Christians “halt” any efforts to share truth to a lost world, hiding their light as if ashamed. Dismally, rather than seeking to make a difference in the world by being different than the world, most Christians today outdo one other in silly attempts to be relevant to a world rotting away in darkness.

I know this sounds strong, but this isn’t just my opinion. The data backs up the bold statements and then some. According to the United States Census Bureau Records and various denominational reports:

1. Every year more than 4000 churches close their doors compared to just over 1000 new church starts.

2. Every year, 2.7 million church members fall into inactivity.

3. From 1990 to 2000, the combined membership of all Protestant denominations in the USA declined by almost 5 million members (9.5 percent), while the US population increased by 24 million (11 percent).

4. At the start of the twentieth century (1900), there was a ratio of 27 churches per 10,000 people, as compared to the close of this century (2000) where we have 11 churches per 10,000 people in America.

5. Given the declining numbers and closures of Churches as compared to new church starts, there should have been over 38,000 new churches commissioned to keep up with the population growth.

6. The United States now ranks third (3rd) following China and India in the number of people who are not professing Christians; in other words, the U.S. is becoming an ever increasing “un-reached people group.”

7. And the worst one of all, half of all churches in the US did not add any new members to their ranks in the last two years.

If over half of existing churches in the USA have not brought one new member into its congregation in over two years, then “Houston” we have a problem. Without being “Salt and Light” in the world, the Church, simply stated, is not relevant. The Church is supposed to be a rescue mission where saved “ruined sinners” go into the dark world and reflect the Light of Christ onto others’ lives so they can be transformed by the Light. Christians are to be “in the world, but not of the world.” Instead most are hiding out in Christian ghettos, sniping at each other and anyone who dares to leave the ghetto behind to fulfill our calling. Imagine how much better our world would be if Christians shined more Light and shot less messengers!?! Having mentored fifty plus pastors over the years, I know the challenges they face first-hand and respect greatly those who seek to confront them Biblically. Still, Christianity is about service to God and others; thus, any church that cannot grow one member in two years has, to put it bluntly, descended into darkness. How is it possible for a team of rescue workers to not rescue even one new person in over two years time in the locality they allegedly serve? Furthermore, how can even one church be that ineffective, let alone over half of them?  A shameful lack of Christ-centered leadership is the only possible answer. 

Be the "Salt and Light" of the world

Be the “Salt and Light” of the world

While I realize the God is sovereign and “works on whom he will” perhaps Christians can begin to work as God’s servants as we are commanded, shining Light rather than cursing darkness. This reminds me of the statement I read daily for years, “Work as if everything depended upon you and pray as if everything depended upon God.” Christians, after all, are God’s hands and feet on earth and its time to get the feet and hands into action by reflecting Light into the darkness. To be sure, the best way for a person to start the process is to model before he messages. The world is filled with people whose message is better than the model, but Christians, while not perfect, should seek to model the love and grace of Christ through their actions. A word of caution here: although the church is woefully ineffective today, if a Christian actually seeks to live Biblical principles, he must be prepared to be shot at, shot at not only by non-believers, but also, depressingly, by hypocritical “halt and hide” Christians. Just as Christ had unjust mud slung at him by non-believers and the religious establishment of his day, so too, not surprisingly, will today’s Light-shining Christians receive unjust abuse from vitriolic unbelievers and the lukewarm religious establishment. For when a person is in darkness, any person who dares to shine Light will either draw him out of the darkness or arouse him to destroy the Light.  Of course, since throwing mud on others is more comfortable than seeing the dirt within, hypocrites always end up throwing mud. Nonetheless, shine your received Light anyway because Christians would rather be criticized by man than disapproved by God.

Personally, I will turn fifty years old next year and I thank God for his many blessings in my life. I no longer am driven to build communities for personal success of financial reasons, but I have a bigger dream than ever before from a spiritual yearning. Through studying the Bible, I realize God has prepared footsteps for me and I intend to walk in them. Regardless of how many Christians have chosen to “halt and hide,” I am on a mission to find the remaining few who will fulfill The Great Commission, becoming the  “Salt and Light” to a lost world groping in darkness. Indeed, the darker the world becomes, the more Light impacts those it reaches. For example, I have had the blessing of seeing my wife (Laurie Woodward) display the Light of Christ into thousands of lives and her example inspires me to do similarly. Quit playing it small; quit fearing rejection, and start serving God and others. Even if everyone else in your church is hiding out, it’s time for you to lift Christ’s Light up. Be the example and start real change in your community.

Christians should understand they are living life before God’s watchful gaze. It doesn’t matter how many approve you in the world if Christ disapproves and it doesn’t matter how disapproved by the world you are if God approves. The following story tugs at my heart every time I read it:

“There was a concert pianist in the last century that longed to play in the great concert hall in Vienna.

When he finished his first concert before thousands, the people gave him a standing ovation.

Afterwards, he was asked, “Was it the greatest moment in your life to receive this long applause?”

The concert pianist replied, “No! I liked it, but it was not the most important thing to me.”

He said, “When the people all sat down, an elderly man who sat in the top corner of the balcony simply nodded his head at me. That was the greatest moment of my life because he is the master who taught me for 30 years. One nod from him was worth much more than the long applause of the masses.”

Needless to say, God is the “Audience of One”. Our life is His gift to us and what we do with it is our gift back to God. One nod from God is worth a thousand boos from the crowd; conversely, one thousand cheers will not be worth God’s disapproval. Therefore, quit seeking man’s approval and start seeking God’s. In a world filled with darkness, the Light of Christ shines brighter than ever before. Despite one of Satan’s biggest insinuations being how little one person can do to make a difference, the fact is that leaders (anyone remember the impact of Joseph, David, or Paul?) make a huge difference when following God’s calling. For instance, imagine a stadium of people filled with 80,000 people in complete darkness. If one more person becomes discouraged and joins them in darkness, nothing much has changed. It was dark before and its still dark now. Darkness and Light, in other words, are not co-equal forces battling it out in some cosmic drama. Rather, darkness is merely the absence of Light, not its opposite. As such, it has no power to do anything, because it’s simply the lack of something. One person, then, who enters the stadium and lifts Light can change everything because 80,001 sets of eyes are now staring at the only thing different in the stadium – the person who had the courage to lift Christ’s Light.

This is the difference a person living his faith can do. Whereas many Church leaders are failing to do what they are called to do, focusing instead on nasty disputes of arcane doctrine and personal vendettas, while the people drown in darkness, perhaps its time for ordinary men and women to do what God commands by showing our love for God by serving people. Maybe its time Christians start meeting non-Christian’s needs, helping serve in their local charities (LIFE on LIFE), helping serve local people by setting them free from the Financial Matrix, and ultimately, helping them see Light in an increasingly dark world. This is a life worth living and a purpose worth pursuing.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Chairman of the Board

Posted in Faith | 23 Comments »

Emperor’s New Clothes: Confronting Reality

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 8, 2016

An excellent example of ego over excellence is found in Hans Christian Anderson’s short story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The wayward emperor cared more about his clothes and status than the people and truth. Indeed, he was so obsessed with his attire that he changed suits every hour, flaunting his wealth and prestige to his subjects.

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes

One day, two shysters, pretending to be weavers, presented themselves to the emperor. They bragged about their ability to weave the finest clothes with the most beautiful colors and elaborate designs. The clothes, according to the charlatans, were invisible to any simpletons or anyone unworthy of his office. The emperor, seduced by their claims, paid large sums of money to the weavers for new clothes. The two weavers, requesting the most expensive fabrics and threads, set up two looms, pretending to weave on the looms night and day while placing the materials inside their sacks.

The impatient emperor sent one of his loyal ministers to examine the clothes. The minister, discovering nothing, not even a single strand on the loom, feared that he must be a simpleton. He listened to the impostors describe the beautiful colors and patterns, but he only saw them working on empty looms. Still, not wishing to appear unworthy of his office, the minister reported back to the emperor what a genius the king was for hiring such competent and capable weavers. The emperor, after further delays, sent another official, hoping to encourage the completion of his suit. The official also saw nothing but, fearing the emperor’s wrath, reported to the king in a similar manner as the first minister did.

Finally, the day arrived for the emperor to preview the weavers’ work. The emperor, seeing nothing, but fearful of being considered unfit for his kingdom, played along with the deceit, proclaiming his love for the patterns and colors in his new outfit. The two con men proceeded to ask the emperor to remove his clothes, raising their arms as if holding something to put on him. The court officials, scared to speak the truth, pretended to agree with the emperor, lauding his genius and the weavers’ design. The people, in anticipation of the king’s most expensive and wondrous clothing to date, gathered for the parade to view the new clothes.

The emperor paraded through his capital city, listening as the people lavished complements on him and his new clothes. Nearly all were spellbound the king’s new clothes, but over the din of praise could be heard the cry of a child, shouting, “The emperor has no clothes on!” The father quickly reprimanded his son, but everyone around the boy heard the truth. The emperor, although secretly agreeing with the child, continued the parade as the crowd fawned in endless adulation because his new clothes were only seen by those with intelligence, worthy of their high offices.

Confronting Reality

The story highlights how easy it is for data to be ignored when false beliefs cause one to reject real data. Moreover, it reveals how most people prefer comfortable lies over uncomfortable truths. Leaders, however, are different. They demand truth, for they know only with truth can a person or business thrive. It’s vital at the check step of the PDCA process that a person confront reality (the king has no clothes) rather than go along with conventional wisdom, company expectation, or peer pressure. The facts are the facts and the PDCA process reveals whether one is dealing in facts or fantasy. Again, in God we trust, all others must have data. If the person suffers from self-deception, a distortion between reality and his perceptions, he will not confront the data accurately nor adjust his plans to win. The person must choose between comfortable illusions or disturbing realities and only leaders choose the latter.

Why do so many people go through the motions and avoid the PDCA process? They have so much potential and yet so few results. On one hand, winners make changing a habit, choosing to suffer the pain of growth rather than live in mediocrity. On the other other hand, losers make lying a habit, choosing to avoid the pain of losing by blaming others. People who lose live lives of delusions (similar to the king) hating to change so badly they distort reality instead. Naturally, this becomes more difficult as life becomes progressively tougher, but for most, this just increases the creativity of the excuses made.

Strangely, both winners and losers escape the pain of losing creatively: one the creativity to change themselves; the other the creativity to excuse themselves. Disastrously, however, the road usually taken, and what at first blush appears to be the easier route, the escape of pain through self-delusion (the emperor’s choice), ends up being the toughest road of all. For the pain of change is temporary, but the pain of regret is permanent. Be that as it may, the good news is that a person can get off the road to regret and change his destiny at any time by ending self-delusions. After all, when a person is sick and tired of being sick and tired, he will confront reality and start changing.

Leaders refuse to run from issues. They allow setbacks to build an increasing internal level of frustration, until finally, fed up, they explode past previous limiting beliefs. The pain of defeat has become stronger than the pain of changing. If, at any point in the process, the person chooses any of the escape valves to avoid the mounting pressure (excuses, blaming,  or justifications), he temporarily kills the pain but only by passing the buck, denying he is responsible for the problem. Leaders refuse this option because the know they kill the pain only by killing the dream.

Anyone can be a leader, but he must refuse the seductive avenues of escape that lead to mediocrity. Reject completely the temporary mental comfort from avoiding the scoreboard of life. Instead, stare at the scoreboard until one has a plan to change and the DO IT! Don’t settle for mental peace and mediocrity. Rather, embrace the mental tumult of confronting brutal reality to win! Ultimately, there are only two choices in life: surviving or thriving. Start starting and quit quitting for (as I say repeatedly) when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

What is the area of life, where the reader has been avoiding truth, that confront and deal with the facts? This will be your finest hour because only the truth will set you free!

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | 15 Comments »

Self-Betrayal: Sabotaging Success

Posted by Orrin Woodward on August 6, 2016

The fatal flaw to success, a flaw so personal and painful that most people avoid its truth at all costs, an avoidance that derails more dreams than all other obstacles combined, is self-betrayal. Of all the challenges facing leaders today, perhaps none has more impact on the community’s success than personal character. After all, leadership is character in motion and how can someone have character if he betrays himself?

Self-Betrayal to Self-Deception

Self-Betrayal to Self-Deception

Self-betrayal begins the moment a person does not follow through on his personal commitments. This type of betrayal is so difficult to detect because its so subtle. For instance, maybe the reader set a goal to get up early and study or exercise before work, but when the alarm went off, you quickly shut it off and rationalized you needed sleep more than following through on your commitment to yourself. Of course, this “little” lie fuels further compromises and before long lying to oneself has become a habit. In fact, any time you make a commitment to yourself, and do not follow through, you have taught yourself that lying is acceptable. This is where most people fail – personal character to one’s self. I know. I know. No one likes to be called a liar, but how many times have you committed to do something and didn’t follow through? I’m not talking about commitments to others, but rather personal commitments.

I still remember the day, reading underneath a huge maple tree at lunch, when Stephen Covey kicked me below the belt. He said, “Many times success begins with mind over mattress!” Ugh! That one hurt, because I had made hundreds of excuses for why I just couldn’t be more disciplined in Bible studies, believing I had too much work to do. Covey’s statement changed my perspective, helping me realize that my self-betrayal had already progressed into self-deception – where I convinced myself that lying was ok if it was only to myself. In reality, however, if one cannot tell the truth to himself, he stands no chance of telling the truth to others. Internal character, in a word, always precedes external character.

At the risk of saying too much, for today’s age doesn’t like self-analysis much, probably because these matters hit too close to home for most people and if thought upon for long, they would have to address some of the personal issues. Nevertheless, I believe self-deception is the biggest killer of dreams in the world! People deceive themselves to avoid changing, but the price for this avoidance is their own success. The self-betrayal blooms into self-denial and then people become offended if others dare to question their impeccable character. 🙂 Most people react defensively, thinking, “How dare anyone question my character when I have spent years rationalizing it to myself?”

In all seriousness, I have never given a talk, nor written an article, without the guns first being directed at myself. I, along with every other human being, cannot live our ideals 100% of the time. I am in need of the grace of Jesus Christ just as much, if not more, than you are. Still, why get offended at truth? How is this going to help you change? Indeed, when a person gets offended at unpalatable facts, its a sure sign that self-betrayal is leading to self-deception. Truth has been sacrificed on the altar of personal ego.

If the reader will grant me just a little more time, I would like to suggest a remedy for self-betrayal. The Bible states, “those who are faithful in the little things will be faithful in the bigger things.” Did you catch that? Character begins by being faithful in the little things that if avoided, no one would know but you. Many believe this is ok, since you didn’t let anyone else down, but this is a lie from the depths of hell. For a person that would have no qualms about lying to himself, a self he typically loves more than any other human being in existence, will not be a truth-teller to others. Internal lies lead to external ones. If anything, compromises in personal character lead to greater compromises in one’s relationships with others.

Consequently, true character begins with character to self. Once the war for personal character is accomplished, the authentic individual is now ready to treat others with the same level of character. Not surprisingly, in today’s self-betrayal and self-deception age, it’s pretty much a given that leaders with character will suffer attacks from those who have self-betrayed themselves. Since leaders with character grow big communities, simply by the law of averages, they will have people who perpetually lie to themselves join their community. Naturally, albeit ironically, the people who have cheated and lied to themselves the most are the ones who shout the loudest that others have lied and cheated them. Playing the victim, evidently, is their key strategy to not have to address the lies keeping them from success.

The simple, but painful, truth is no matter how much a leader wants to help others, he truly can’t help until they are ready to help themselves. Self-liars must confront reality and admit it’s their own lies keeping them in bondage. For when people resist truth they are also fighting the change that would set them free. Nonetheless, when people have spent a lifetime betraying themselves, giving up for the umpteenth time in life, their self-deception quickly identifies the reason for the failure and they play the victim card once again. Self-deception has so entrapped them in a web of lies that the truth can no longer set them free. Thus, they are sentenced to a life of victimhood unless God’s graces pierces the veil and wakes them up to this eternal truth, namely, as Shakespeare said, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Heraclitus once said, “Character is fate” and I concur. Character is an inside job and only those who develop character will ever see longterm success. Start today! What is a personal commitment one can make to yourself, you family, your community? Make the commitment and keep it! Quit betraying yourself and your dreams! Quit playing the blame game! Get out there and achieve to serve the greater community! This is your mind over mattress, or to add others, life over lies, and purpose over pokemon moment! 🙂

Remember, success is three things. 1) What does one want? 2) What does it cost? 3) Pay it! Only when a person accepts responsibility for his life will he determine what he want, determine its cost, and then pay it! What area of your life are you ready to stop self-betrayal and let the truth set you free? 

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Chairman of the Board

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | 51 Comments »

Leadership Culture and Cognitive Dissonance

Posted by Orrin Woodward on July 13, 2016

There is nothing more important, its proper implementation determining the destiny of nations, companies, charities, and families, than the creation of culture. Culture, a system of beliefs, values, and customs a community follows, cannot be seen, but it influences every behavior within the community.  Interestingly, despite nearly every leader expressing the need for right culture to produce right results,  few seem to build culture with specific intent. This, I believe, is one of the biggest leadership mistakes.

In other words, every community must get intentional about culture or suffer the grave consequences. Just over a year ago, in a conversation with Chris Brady, he boiled down influence within a company to the three R’s – require, recognize, or reward it. Although we weren’t specifically talking culture at the time, it didn’t take me long for me to realize Brady had just summed up the different methods one can create culture within a community. Ever since, I have thought deeply on how to create a culture that requires, recognizes, and rewards the right behaviors.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance

Needless to say, this is much more difficult to do than it sounds, for most companies suffer from cognitive dissonance – a malady where the organization promotes one thing while rewarding another. Cognitive dissonance is perhaps the biggest failure-mode for most communities because it involves a misalignment between the culture and the longterm vision. This misalignment creates cultural inertia that, left to itself, will divide the community and blur the vision. Dissonance, in a word, destroys unity.

Accordingly, great leaders must identify the purpose and vision of the community; then develop the culture of requiring, recognizing, and rewarding to ensure the proper behaviors are performed to accomplish the vision. Moreover, if the leader realizes the 3 R’s currently instituted will not achieve the stated purpose and vision, he must have the courage to make the needed adjustments. In fact, this is what makes the leader the leader, namely, the courage to create the culture in order to achieve the community’s purpose. Any leader not willing to do this, is not truly a leader, for he merely follows the current culture rather than building the proper culture. 

In essence, leaders are responsible for eliminating cognitive dissonance out of the culture to ensure the actions of the organization move it towards its purpose and vision. After all, nothing validates the leader’s value so much as his/her ability to move the cultural current in the proper direction. It doesn’t matter if it’s easy; it doesn’t matter if it’s convenient; it doesn’t even matter if it’s popular, but what does matters is whether the community can accomplish its reason for existing with the current culture. Thus, if there is cognitive dissonance, the culture must change.

When an organization is suffering in the throes of cognitive dissonance, the leader’s responsibility is to charge to the front lines and resist the improper cultural current, converting the dissonance into resonance by aligning the 3 Rs to the purpose and vision. Indeed, when the cultural current is flowing smoothly, the requirements, recognition, and rewards align the people win personally and professionally when the company wins purposefully. Proper leadership, therefore, creates the culture and the culture creates the results.

What is the purpose for your company? What is the culture of your company? Do the culture’s results aligned with the purpose of the company? If so, then the community will win. If not, then the leader must get to the front and lead, for as Harry Truman once said about leadership, “the buck stops here”.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, LIFE Leadership, Orrin Woodward | 37 Comments »

A Tribute to Denny Smith

Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 27, 2016

Today, Laurie and I headed up to Pennsylvania to see some of our best friends and to celebrate Denny Smith’s life. I first met Denny speaking at a conference back in 2006, his hunger to learn was evident from our first conversation, a conversation that would turn into a lifelong friendship. 

Rhino Leaders

Denny, Greg, Orrin, & Tony

Denny soon became a trusted confidante, one who could be relied upon to do the right thing because it was the right thing. He modeled the character, tasks, and relationships necessary for great leadership, leadership strengthened by mentoring with Greg Johnson. In many ways, the relationship these two formed reminded me of the partnership I have enjoyed with Chris Brady, built upon respect, trust, and loyalty.

Greg and Denny joined forces when neither one of them had a nickel to their name. Nonetheless, through the power of dreams, work-ethic, and persistence, these two forged an amazing lifestyle for their families. Denny, the muscular Marine, and Greg, the intellectual Ivy Leaguer, may have started in different fields, but they quickly united around the principles of the American Dream, a dream focused on life, liberty, and the pursuit of their goals and dreams.

These two men accomplished so much and their example has inspired thousands of others to do similarly. Needless to say, I am one of those countless others and one of my greatest joys was spending time with these two men, hearing their crazy stories of how they persisted, despite the pain of the process, to achieve their dreams. Between globetrotting around the world, living in beautiful mansions, and enjoying the time/money to spend with friends and family, these two experienced life like few others. 

Dreams, however, this side of heaven, do not last forever. For every person, whether rich or poor, is appointed to die. Death, in a word, is the great equalizer. Perhaps, no single event turns a person’s perspective from this life to the next faster than the loss of a loved one. Denny’s cancer and death caught all of us by surprise. To say we are going to miss him is a huge understatement. Thankfully, Denny was a Christian who knew his Lord and Savior and even though he enjoyed this life, he also prepared for the next one. I will miss Denny greatly, but I rest in the fact that I will meet him again. This is why I am going up to Pennsylvania, not to mourn, but rather to celebrate Denny’s life.

Denny seemed the picture of health, not only was he the poster-child of positivity, but he also regularly exercised and lived a moral life. Last year, however, he simply could not shake off a bad cough. I remember the day Denny and Donna picked me up in Philadelphia because we had scheduled a morning tour through Independence Hall. Denny and I both loved liberty and history so we did what we always did when we hung out – we laughed and learned. In reality, this was true anytime Laurie and I spent time with Denny and Donna, for both of these two loved to learn and laugh. This is what made them so special to so many.

Denny and Donna Smith

Denny and Donna Smith

Still, something was amiss, I couldn’t help but notice that Denny’s laugh ended in coughing fits. Finally, after practically prying it out of him – Denny never like to talk negatively about anything, especially himself – he admitted he was having difficulty shaking this “cold”. Donna said she had been on him to go to the doctor for over a month, but Denny, the tough Marine, believed he would beat it on his own. I took Donna’s side and asked Denny to get this checked out immediately. Denny agreed and we resumed enjoying the rest of the day.

Several weeks later, I received a call from Denny. He said the doctor had run test confirmed his cough was from an aggressive form of lung cancer and the odds did not look good. Denny’s attitude through all of this was amazing. He spent most of the phone call encouraging me! This is the type of man Denny was. He received bad news and yet he called to encourage me? Who does this? I asked Denny how he was doing and he said he was going to fight with everything he had. I told him if anyone could beat this, it would be Denny Smith, the tough as nails Marine. We prayed together and asked God to intervene for His Glory, no matter what the outcome. Denny then began the fight for his life, knowing, through his faith in Jesus Christ, he would win either way.

I have many great people in our leadership community, but what Denny accomplished the last 6 months of his life is amazing. Despite investing time to catch up with friends and family, undergoing exhausting chemo-therapy session, and endless hours researching lung cancer, Denny grew his community. Incredibly, while fighting for his life, he went CAB Coordinator, qualified for Operation Advance, and the prestigious Fun-in-the-Sun trip. In fact, the day before he passed away, he was in our hotel suite with 25 other guys. I asked Greg Johnson to give Denny a proper introduction because many of the younger leaders did not know his story. Greg’s introduction made many of them tear up as they realized what Denny had overcome to be there. Not surprisingly, Denny, although short of breath, proceeded to build the dream like few people can. He encouraged everyone to dream bigger and chase down the dream within the time each of us is allotted. 

In my mind, this moment perfectly encapsulated Denny Smith, the quintessential dreamer and doer, who refused to give up. He didn’t wait for life to happen but rather went out and made it happen. One may wonder why a man, so close to death, would share about the power of the dream, but I knew what Denny was doing and I couldn’t help but notice the juxtaposition.  While most people breathe without difficulty, they struggle to dream; Denny, in contrast, struggled to breathe, but dreamed without difficulty. Denny never stopped dreaming. This is his enduring legacy – Denny dreamed while others slept, worked while others recreated, and accomplished while others excused.

Later that day, he was admitted to the Cape Coral hospital and the following day Denny went home to be with the Lord. I know I speak for the tens of thousands of people Denny touched when I say – thank you, Denny, for teaching us how press toward the mark and leave it all on the field even to the last second. And I do mean the last second, for as the doctors hooked Denny’s body up to a breathing ventilator, his lungs shutting down from his lost war against cancer, Denny looked at his friends and family one more time and gave them a thumbs up. What a man and leader. Only a person who was sure of his destiny would, even at this crucial juncture, still maintain his love for others over himself.

This is why I love Denny Smith and this is why Laurie and I are traveling up to Pennsylvania to celebrate his life. If you knew or heard Denny Smith share the dream, I would love to hear how he touched your heart.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Freedom/Liberty, LIFE Leadership | 37 Comments »