Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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

  • Orrin Woodward

    1
    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.

  • Orrin’s Latest Book








  • 7 Day Free Access to Leadership Audios!

  • Email Me

  • NY Times Bestselling Book


  • Mental Fitness Challenge

  • Email Subscription

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,442 other subscribers

  • Categories

  • Archives

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Leadership of others begins in the Family

LIFE Island: Family & Friends

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 6, 2012

In 1998, I got this crazy dream. I had had many dreams that others thought were crazy at the time, but I had always believed they were fairly reasonable. Yet even I knew this particular dream was crazy! However, an important point about life is that if you’re not willing to dream crazy dreams, then crazy dreams will never come true for you.

Anyway, as an engineer at Delphi, a division of General Motors, I placed pictures on my cubicle wall of an in-house movie theater, houses on the lakes, properties with forests, and yachts, to name just a few. Each of the pictures was courageously pinned on the wall. I say courageously because when new engineers joined the Delphi division, they were given a tour of the facility. Without fail, one of the last stops was my cubicle to show them the crazy pictures I had on the wall. Sure they laughed at me while the tour guide explained again why engineers don’t live like this. I didn’t like it, but it only steeled my resolve. I figured that it was better for them to laugh at me while I kept my dreams than for them to stop laughing because I had surrendered my dreams.

As I reflect back, every single picture pinned on that wall came true. In fact, many of the PC members have accomplished the pictures today. Ok, there is one picture that still hasn’t been accomplished. It’s not that it hasn’t come true; it’s still just a work-in-progress. 🙂 Some of you may have already guessed what that dream is: LIFE Island. I remember hesitating when I placed the island picture on the wall; I didn’t take placing a picture lightly because I knew it was a commitment made to myself to follow through, and this island picture was a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG (as Jim Collins calls it). Many times, I stared at that island dreaming of the day when a fleet of yachts would travel from Florida (yes, I had a Florida property on the wall) to the island.

There are two types of people reading this article. The first group will think I am crazy to dream a BHAG of this magnitude, believing there’s no way the LIFE community can achieve that. The ones in the second group, in contrast, will study the picture and feed their elephant minds. This group understands Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s proclamation, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” This article won’t teach a person how to build a LIFE business; instead, it is an expression of fourteen years of longing for an island to enjoy with my family and friends.

Can anyone else imagine the evening picnics at the beach park, cookouts, volleyball, horseshoes, and late-night conversation around the firepit all while enjoying the beautiful views and listening to the ocean surf behind us? Community and fellowship are essential for the picture I have envisioned. I can see the fleet of PC yachts making its way into the LIFE Island harbor. Laurie and I greet people as they disembark from their private yachts and ready themselves for several months of R&R on the island. As you step off your yacht, you realize that every plan, every challenge, every year was worth the effort required to achieve this victory.

The aroma of freshly grilled steaks, chicken, and fish permeates the air as you mingle among friends. Freshly squeezed fruit juices tease your taste buds as you recalibrate yourself to the island tempo. Imagine Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Claude Hamilton, George Guzzardo, Bill Lewis, Dan Hawkins, and their lovely brides looking you in the eyes and welcoming you to the dream-come-true LIFE Island. Later, many will walk the island trails for the first time—speechless as they realize that the dream they have yearned for, the dream they have worked for, the dream they have struggled for has finally come true.

I know; I know—I must be crazy. I have been hearing the same thing for years now. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about BHAGs, it’s that if it doesn’t take your breath away, then it’s not a BHAG at all. This dream has always (and still does) taken my breath away! Today, by posting this picture, I am officially launching the quest for LIFE Island. Consider this blog as my new office wall. Go ahead and look at the picture. Now that you have seen it, here is my question: Which group do you belong to? One group will laugh now but live with the pain of sacrificed dreams later; the other group will sacrifice now but live with friends on an island of dreams later.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Walker Cay picture

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Life Training, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , | 75 Comments »

Lindsay Lohan – Vanity of Fame, Fortune, & Power

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 5, 2012

It was another typical morning; I wrapped up my Bible studies and sat down to briefly (all the news in five minutes or less) review today’s current events. However, today’s news really got me thinking. Yahoo had posted a video of child-star to troubled-teen to drugged-up-diva Lindsay Lohan. Watch the video and then let’s talk.


I don’t know her background. I don’t know her movies. But I couldn’t help but feel her pain. How many people must go through the same storyline before the world wakes up? All that glitters is not gold! Solomon said it most succinctly when he proclaimed, “All is vanity.” Do not be fooled by the world’s definitions of success; fame, fortune, and power do not satisfy. Examine the lives of Marilyn Monroe (fame), J. Paul Getty (fortune), and L.B. Johnson (power); they each had what others crave, yet they died alone, unhappy, and practically friendless. I could go on; anyone ever hear of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, or Whitney Houston?

History is full of the vanity of fame, fortune, and power, and yet each year millions more chase the illusion. In my personal life, I have experienced my share of each of these “false gods” and I can speak from first-hand experience that all is vanity. Does this mean we shouldn’t strive for excellence, or that we should settle for mediocrity? Of course, it doesn’t. However, it does mean we should begin with the end in mind, and fame, fortune, and power are terrible ends with which to start.

Each of these “false gods” turns a person inward, making him focus more on himself, his needs, and his desires – a sure recipe for unhappiness. The saddest day in a star’s life is when he has accomplished everything he aimed for only to discover it is all vanity. The endless displays, divorces, and drugs are all attempts to mask the emptiness of the accomplishments. For most superstars, the results were not worth the investment; for in order to achieve the prize, the stars had to sacrifice themselves.

Fortunately, there is a path out of the dilemma. Jesus Christ stated the two greatest commandments were to:

1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
2. Love others as yourself.

In truth, a person finds his life when he loses it in a worthy cause. What, in other words, are you willing to sacrifice your life for? Every single day, you pay for the twenty-four hours provided to you by sacrificing another day of your life. In your life, has the investment been truly worth the sacrifice? If not, why do you continue in that direction?

The greatest return on investment is when a person fulfills God’s plan for his life. Serving God and others is the only path to true fulfillment. In RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I share the principles that helped me stop chasing an illusion and start living my destiny.

In this Easter season, Lindsay Lohan’s video reminded me how thankful I am that God saved a ruined sinner like me through the finished work of Jesus Christ. I pray that someone close to Lindsay Lohan can share the same message of grace, hope, and mercy with her.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | 23 Comments »

Dare to Dream

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 31, 2012

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence

All dream; few achieve. Since everyone wants a better life, why do so few accomplish it? The answer: one must solve the problem of pain. It’s painful to dream of a better future and get shot down again and again. Success, although predictable over time, takes a massive amount of persistence to stay the course when results are not forthcoming quickly enough. In fact, I have watched many talented men and women surrender their dreams through the lack of one key attribute – Adversity Quotient (AQ).  These people had all the talent; some even applied themselves for a period of time, but when the chips were down, they quit.

My fourth grade teacher’s favorite maxim, which he repeated daily was: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I am not sure of its effect on the rest of the class, but as for me, it transformed how I responded to challenges. Any time I ran into difficulties, I reflected back on my teacher’s words. I was fortunate to have parents who taught a similar philosophy to that of my teacher. For instance, most people surrender with little or no fight when they run up against a wall, but not my parents. Interestingly, my mom and dad used entirely different, although both highly effective, strategies in overcoming walls in life. Let me explain. If my parents were taken to a twenty-foot-high brick wall and told they had to bust through it, I am convinced they would both accomplish the task. However, the means to the end would be entirely different.

My mom is a worker. No, that doesn’t quite explain it. My mom is a fanatical worker. In truth, to this day, I have never seen anyone work as relentlessly as my mother on any task undertaken. She would announce a project, dole out various assignments to the five children, and off we went. If my mom needed to get over a brick wall, she would metaphorically lower her head and crash into the brick wall until it gave way. I am not exaggerating here; she would literally will herself through that wall. The amount of obstacles that I saw my mother overcome humbles me to this day. My mom, in other words, would do and then think about how she did it.

In contrast, my dad was a thinker. No, it’s probably more accurate to say he was a philosopher of life. In fact, to this day, I cannot recall an evening where he wasn’t discussing some concept or principle he was wrestling with in his head. I had no idea at the time, but my dad used the Socratic method to draw out how we thought on a multitude of subjects, forcing us to reason properly or be shot down around the kitchen table. Indeed, if my dad needed to surmount a proverbial brick wall, he would state the problem, count the bricks, and form a working hypothesis on how to overcome. Counting, analyzing, and theorizing would be logical steps in the achievement of his goal. My dad, in other words, would think and then act upon what he thought.

Somehow, during the fourth grade, I began adopting my mom’s work ethic along with my dad’s philosophical methodology and combined them together with my teacher’s get tough principle. What an empowering gift these mentors bequeathed to me! My dad taught me to begin with the end in mind. My mom taught me that a job well begun is half done, and my teacher taught me the importance of AQ in any worthy endeavor. I had no idea how revolutionary these concepts were to become in my life.

What does all this have to do with dreaming? Nearly everything! Dreaming is beginning with the end in mind, doing is moving towards one’s goals and dreams, and lastly, persistence is staying tough even when everything inside of a person is screaming to surrender. I have lost count of how many times, when I was on the verge of surrendering, that the winner’s voice inside of me said one more time, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Do you have dreams? Of course, you do because everyone does. Are you still pursuing them, or have you surrendered to the pain? I say get back up! If you are willing to run for what you truly want, if you are willing to get up every time you are knocked down, if you are willing to persist through every painful experience, then, and only then, will you win in the game of life.

Everyone is born into the race of life. Unfortunately, most have quit because they cannot handle the pain and choose passivity over activity. I, however, encourage you to reenter the race and press on to the end to receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. God gave us the gift of life; do not hand it back to Him unused.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Family, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | 10 Comments »

Coming Apart or Community Together?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 15, 2012

Coming Apart book coverIn the course of answering emails, I noticed that my friend Greg Johnson had sent me a link to a blog discussing Charles Murray’s new book Coming Apart. After reading the blog article several times, I realized I had to go buy the book immediately. I’m thankful I did!

Although many believe that the complex challenges facing us today cannot be solved through the lens of the American founder’s virtues, Murray writes:

I take another view: The founders were right. The success of America depended on virtue in the people when the country began and it still does in the twenty-first century. America will remain exceptional only to the extent that its people embody the same qualities that made it work for the first two centuries of its existence. The founding virtues are central to that that kind of citizenry.

I wrote RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE to bring back character-based ethics into society and the marketplace. In truth, Murray’s and my philosophies align closely, not a shocker since Murray gathered his views from studying numerous sociological studies, while I gathered mine from over 15 years in the living rooms of America. Both methods resulted in the same conclusions: that people with satisfying work, a happy marriage, a high social trust community, and a strong religious foundation are more likely to be happy than people without these four attributes. Of the four, in fact, a happy marriage is the factor that generates the biggest improvement in someone’s happiness score. I can speak on marriage and happiness both personally, experiencing first-hand the increase in happiness when Laurie and I improved our own marriage, and professionally, witnessing many couples improve their marriages and, subsequently, their happiness levels.

Coming Apart reveals that only 10% of respondents who are unmarried, unhappy in jobs, profess no religion, and have low social trust describe themselves as genuinely happy. When a good job is added, the number of respondents stating they were happy increased to 20%. A happy marriage, however, raised the total to 60% declaring they were happy. The final two attributes – high social trust communities and strong religious faith – increased the respondents’ scores an additional 10% each. Thus, from a baseline of 10% of respondents being happy, over 80% of the people who had all four attributes stated they were sincerely happy. In other words, when someone adds these four attributes, his possibilities for a happy life increase by eight times! This is a significant increase and enough to make even the most skeptical of people pause and ponder.

Is there a reciprocal community (high social trust), where people can thrive in compensated communities (high rewards and recognition), learning proper principles for faithful marriages (marriage pack) and the development of a Biblical faith (All Grace Outreach)? There has been since November 1, 2011. Indeed, the reason the LIFE business has grown over 50% in four months is simple: it meets the needs of its community members. No matter how many fearful competitors attack our game-changing strategy, we grow because we satisfy our customers’ innate desire to be happy. People join and stay in LIFE because we focus on the big four (and other) attributes described in countless books on community, like Charles Murray’s Coming Apart. Simply put, we help people grow personally and professionally which leads to increased joy and happiness. I am not just a founder, but I am also a satisfied customer of the growth process materials.

One of the greatest secrets to be learned about life is that happiness cannot be approached directly; rather, it is captured when it’s not being sought. Happiness, in other words, is a by-product of a series of internal victories, which are eventually revealed in the external world. Perhaps you are looking for a community of learners, encouragers, and leaders? Maybe you are resolved to change? As people gather together within the LIFE communities, the world can and will be changed. One million people, here we come!

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Chris and Terri Brady: LIFE Founders – Part II

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 26, 2012

Chris and Terri Brady Mediterranean pictureFinally, with the creation of Team Approach – a systematic way to build organizations, used across numerous companies today – Chris and I exploded our businesses. Team Approach and our focus on leadership communities changed everything. In fact, we went from 200 people to over 1,200 people at events in the next twelve months! We have never looked back. Chris and Terri achieved their dreams and goals, mainly because they refused to quit when the going got tough. They, along with Laurie and I, committed to overcome any obstacles, addressing all issues in order to fix the broken business model to which we were originally introduced.

After fixing the business building portion with Team Approach, Chris and I next addressed the unjust reward system for community training. Some recognized the injustice and wanted to throw out the baby with the bath water. Chris and I, instead, just changed the bathwater. Training is essential for growing large communities; however, the training rewards must be based upon who builds the numbers, not who was there first. In other words, in the Team, it doesn’t matter if you started ten years ago or ten months ago. Rather, what matters is whether you are serving your community with character and what numbers you have across your organizations. People follow leaders, and when a leader builds a following, he should be rewarded based upon numbers, not hierarchy.

Accordingly, the equitable way in which the Team compensates those who carry the heavy training load is one of the Team differences because leaders know that it’s based upon service and meritocracy, not politics or position. The Team teaches people how to build pipelines, rewarding trainers based upon their results in training others. Team, in other words, isn’t a passive income for leaders, but a working income earned through service to other community members. LIFE, in contrast, has an MLM component and therefore rewards people even after they stop actively building. This is similar to someone being paid for the water flowing through a pipeline even after he has stopped working on the pipes. Since Team isn’t an MLM, one must train if he expects a training income; otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair. In a typical training system, the person at the top gives himself and a few cronies a special deal – not so with Team. Because Chris and I dreamed of building millions of people into our communities, we knew the “good old boys” club wasn’t only wrong, but it simply wouldn’t work to that scale. Instead, we used our technical backgrounds to reengineer the entire process, making it an equal playing field for all. Today, the Team is the recognized industry leader for fair and equitable training compensation for leaders who do teaching and training.

When we finally realized, after years of effort, that our former product supplier had no intentions of fixing its business model, we knew we had to leave. Without getting into all the details (that would fill a book), we survived nearly three years of legal haggling before finally settling all disputes. In that period of time, tens of millions of dollars were exhausted in a futile attempt to keep people in a company against their will. Even this seemingly negative endeavor, however, was extremely fruitful. We learned our communities grew the fastest when our only products were leadership materials. Simply by teaching leadership and focusing on community, the Team thrived. This was such a paradigm shift that I don’t think either of us understood all of the ramifications at that time. Instead, only with time and reflection did Chris and I realize that our leadership materials and a compensated community were the organizations core competencies.

During the legal morass, Chris and Terri Brady had one of life’s defining moments. Terri was diagnosed with a fast-growing brain tumor. The doctors were extremely concerned and needed to operate quickly. Can you imagine the additional stress on the already heavy load on the Brady family? Most people would have broken under the strain; however, the Brady’s are not most people. Terri displayed a true faith, living with a peace that could only be divinely inspired. Her spirit regarding the surgery and its potential consequences – death, paralysis through nerve damage, and loss of hearing, to name just a few – was simply amazing. How Terri, just days before her surgery, spoke on stage with such thankfulness and grace is beyond natural comprehension. Meanwhile, Chris’s quiet faith in God’s sovereignty spoke more than hundreds of theological volumes. Buoyed by the example of these two courageous champions, the rest of the community remained strong through their own challenges. By God’s grace, Terri’s surgery and recovery were an answer to thousands of prayers. The outpouring of love displayed by the community was indescribable, with thousands of cards, calls, and prayers. Additionally, a community of ladies volunteered to cook meals and nurse Terri back to health. What powerful testaments to God’s grace and Christian love within a community!

Thanks to the invaluable lessons learned during the struggles, we were led to our next major breakthrough – LIFE. LIFE is a culmination of nearly twenty years of learning, leading, and living. It combines the best attributes of four industries – Home Based Businesses, Leadership, Community Building, and Life Coaching. LIFE is a leadership/personal growth company designed to improve people’s lives. Launched in November, 2011, it already has over 2,000 customers. (This is multiple times better in several months than was previously achieved in over a decade.) People are raving about the LIFE products, which include CDs, books, and meetings. Thankfully for LIFE, Chris Brady is a marketing genius. In fact, I view him as one of the best marketers of this generation. What he has done to the look and feel of the LIFE and Team materials is without a doubt the best in the leadership field. This isn’t just my opinion, as Chris just won several Addy awards for his marketing expertise.

Along the journey, Chris has received numerous leadership awards. From being a NY Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and a top 15 Leadership Guru to having an internationally recognized leadership blog, Chris’s leadership thoughts are some of the best. Despite all of the leadership recognition, one of Chris’s best attributes is his disarming humility. You would never guess how much he has accomplished unless you pried it out of him. Both Chris and Terri, in other words, let their actions and results do their talking. If anything, their recognition understates the caliber of leaders they truly are. How many leadership gurus routinely speak in front of tens of thousands of people in a community built with their own leadership materials? Few, if any, do.

The Bradys have built a huge community, leading groups across the US and Canada. They are currently Quad-PCs and accelerating quickly. They are two of the best speakers on the professional circuit. Their mix of humor, stories, and heart, impacts people’s lives internally and eternally. If you have not heard them speak live, you are missing out on one of the most profound experiences of your life. Laurie and I have enjoyed countless hours of learning as we have watched this couple grow into one of the best of the best communicators.

Beyond business, Chris and Terri have also become some of our best friends. With so many years of experiences together, it’s not unusual for us to get together and laugh for hours at a time as we recall humorous stories from our lives together. This, in my opinion, is the greatest joy of community building – lifelong friendships with people of character, integrity, and wisdom. This next statement may surprise people. In truth, it shocks me. For in nearly twenty years together, Chris and I have never raised our voices against each other in anger. We have addressed issues, sought to understand, and resolved conflict, but we never did so in a disrespectful way. We value each other’s friendship and partnership enough to courageously speak the truth in love.

Congratulations to Chris and Terri Brady – LIFE Founders and friends. Laurie and I cannot imagine building LIFE without you. Thank you, Chris and Terri, for giving your personal best night after night, year after year, and using your gifts to impact others. Your integrity, honor, and courage have been displayed before the watching world. Now it’s time to finish what we started and complete our mission. When LIFE reaches 1 million people, the Bradys will have played a huge part in making it happen. Here is to the future together! Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Meritocracy & the Middle Class Squeeze

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 3, 2012

Meritocracy and the Middle Class Squeeze

When I was a young, growing up in Columbiaville, Michigan, I loved watching sports. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat taught me so many lessons that I applied to life. In fact, I believe the lessons I learned from watching, playing, and modeling my favorite athletes helped form who I am today. Furthermore, because of my sports heroes, I became an avid reader of sports biographies, learning many of their secrets to success.

I had no idea how instrumental the hundreds of books read of my sports heroes would affect me. In truth, it wasn’t until I began teaching leadership for a profession that I realized what an impact my early reading had on my life. The numerous stories of young men who dreamed, struggled, and persevered until they had their victory, taught me that anything is possible in life if one is willing to work hard enough and endure through the expected setbacks.

Perhaps I was naive and should have known better, but my meritocratic world-view was shaped by playing, watching and reading about competitive sports – one of the last remaining bastions of a performance based meritocracy.  In other words, in the competitive arena of sports, no points are given because of your previous record, your family’s background, or your ability to talk smack. Each game has pre-defined rules, an impartial referee, and competitors who begin equal with the right to become unequal based upon their performance as individuals and as teams.

In high school, I suffered from severe low self-esteem, constantly viewing others as better than myself. In many ways they were better, however, I carried it to the extreme, typically defeating myself before the competition even began. It’s hard to hide from the scoreboard, especially when you are a runner and wrestler. All eyes are upon you and you cannot blame anyone else for a lackluster performance. The scoreboard provides the facts for both victories or defeats.

Although starting late in both endeavors (junior year), I rapidly improved through hard work, great coaching, and experience, ultimately receiving several awards – most improved wrestler my senior year  (losing 5-2 to the national record holder for pins in a high school career),  All-Genesee County in Cross-Country, and anchoring the 2 mile relay that set the school record.  I say all of this, not to relive high school sports, but to share a key principle learned. It’s only through the willingness to endure painful experiences, persistent practices, and constructive feedback that a person can separate himself from the crowd. Simply put, meritocracy demands performance.

With my foundational principles formed along with a Manufacturing Systems Engineering degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering), I boldly entered into my professional career. I believed through the application of the same principles that had helped me achieve success in competitive sports, that I would quickly rise to the top at GM. However, nothing could have been further from the truth.

It’s not that my career didn’t start well enough. For in less than three years of working full time, I had received four patents, was in the process of winning a national technical benchmarking award and received a 19% raise. Additionally, my division committed to covering all my tuition expenses for the #2 nationally ranked MBA program though University of Michigan. I was living the life I had dreamed, being on the fast-track at General Motors and developing a tight relationship with the Director of Engineering of our multi-billion dollar Delphi division.

So what went wrong?

One of the most painful moments in a person’s life is when he realizes there is no port of call for the ship of his dreams. In other words, even people who work hard, waiting for their ship to come in, will find they waited their life away. The old plan of working hard, getting good grades, going to college, and getting a good job with benefits is DEAD! In fact, it’s rotting corpse has been buried for years.

My personal realization of this fact came when Laurie was pregnant with our first child. Naively, I went to my boss and explained to him my dilemma. Laurie was working as an accountant, but we both wanted her to be a stay-at-home mother to raise our family. I asked my boss what I needed to do in order to be promoted to 8th level and receive a company car. I knew it would take this level of income to fulfill the plan of having Laurie home.

One can imagine my shock when I was told that I was only 25, and no matter how hard I worked, or what I accomplished, I would not be promoted until at least 30 years of age. Moreover, our division had over 100 extra 8th levels already so being promoted at 30 was a long shot. Talk about a bubble being burst! This was a blow below the belt that I was completely not expecting. I felt like a rat in the proverbial rat race, running around the maze as fast as I could with dead ends everywhere I looked. I vowed to get out of the rat race, no matter how difficult or painful.

Do you have a story to share of your middle class squeeze? Part II of mine tomorrow. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Family, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Jonathan Edwards – Resolved to Serve with Humility

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 4, 2011

Here is the section from my new book on Jonathan Edwards. Here is another great American who utilized the power of resolutions in his life. Have you implemented RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE into your life? Let’s start a resolution revolution together. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Jonathan Edwards was a preacher, theologian, a missionary to Native Americans, and shortly before his death, accepted the Presidency of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University).  Edwards “is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important and original philosophical theologian.” Furthermore, Author George Marsden, writes, “Edwards was extraordinary. By many estimates, he was the most acute early American philosopher and the most brilliant of all American theologians. At least three of his many works – Religious Affections, Freedom of the Will, and The Nature of True Virtue – stand as masterpieces in the larger history of Christian literature.”

But Edwards began his ministry with little advanced billing. His first pastoral position in 1722, at 19 years of age, was far away from his Connecticut hometown, in New York City, then a thriving metropolis of 10,000 people.  Dr. Stephen Nichols, author of The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards, writes of the young pastor, “Amidst all of this uncertainty and flux, this young man, Jonathan Edwards, needed both a place to stand and a compass for some direction. So he took to writing. He kept a diary and he penned some guidelines, which he came to call his ‘Resolutions.’ These resolutions would supply both that place for him to stand and a compass to guide him as he made his way.”  A.C. McGiffert described Edward’s method of resolutions, “Deliberately he set about to temper his character into steel.”  Tempering is a process to “toughen” the metals, just as written resolutions “toughen” the internal person through study and course corrections.  The tempering process takes time, but the internal fortitude and self-mastery gained living one’s convictions, not one’s preferences, is worth any price.

Jonathan Edwards dutifully wrote out 70 Resolutions (see appendix) between 1722 and 1723. Edwards committed to read the 70 Resolutions once per week for the rest of his life, and fulfilled that commitment, reading the resolutions more than 1,800 times over the next 35 years. Here are two of his resolutions.

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this resolution.

Edwards would have many occasions to apply his resolutions. After his pastoral service in New York, on February 15, 1727, Edwards joined his father-in-law, Solomon Stoddard’s congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts.  In 1729, Stoddard died, leaving Edwards the sole minister in charge of one of the largest, wealthiest and proudest congregations in the colony.  Stoddard, in his later years, had introduced several doctrinal changes not founded upon scriptures. Edwards, being new, continued the innovations when he assumed pastoral leadership.  But, in 1749, after years of successful ministry and intensive biblical study, Edward’s conscience balked at the doctrinal errors, precipitating an angry response from church members. The controversy concluded with Edward’s dismissal by the margin of one vote. Many would have railed against the injustice, but Edwards, dignified as always, preached his farewell sermon with the truth, love and grace, exiting Northampton without rancor or bitterness.

Edwards was, as Randall Stewart wrote, “Not only the greatest of all American theologians and philosophers but the greatest of our pre-19th century writers as well,” making his gracious humble spirit even more impressive.  He didn’t fight for his rights; instead he merely accepted the ruling as God’s Will, taking a position as missionary to the frontier Indians. Edwards consistently displayed a grace-filled spirit of forgiveness to his many detractors, some who, years later apologized for their involvement in the misinformation spread. Can one imagine the infamy of being associated with the congregation that dismissed one of the best theologians and philosophers in American history? But Edwards, in his final years, never missed a beat, writing several classics of Christian literature, leaving an enduring testament to the power of character-based resolutions to transform a person from the inside out. Edwards faithfully lived his principles externally because that is who he had become internally. Specifically, he didn’t just give lip service to his resolutions, he truly lived them.

Posted in Faith, Family, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

The Circle of LIFE

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 17, 2011

Chris Brady and I flew up to Atlanta for a 6 hour mastermind session on Tuesday. Here is one of many concepts that were generated from brainstorming together. Generating ideas with Chris Brady is like drinking water from a firehose – fast and furious! 🙂 I love our 17 year business partnership! LIFE Leadership is something special and I have never felt as good about community building as I do today. Laurie and I started a new leg 10 days ago and it is now over 10 levels in depth! LIFE Leadership is good because it helps people become good in their Circle of LIFE. Here is Brady’s article explaining what our products do in a person’s life. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

I had a very engaging conversation with my friend and co-author Orrin Woodward today.  As usual, we kicked around a ton of stimulating ideas and pieced together something that, in our estimation, will immediately convey greater understanding as to the purpose of LIFE Leadership.  (See the inset diagram).

The CIRCLE of LIFE picture

In each of the 8 F categories of Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Following, Freedom, Friendship, and Fun, one can imagine a certain grade based upon how one is doing in that category. In the diagram the center represents horrible, as in, you are totally “stinking up the joint” (as my kids say) in a certain category. Working your way out from the center to the outer ring in any of the categories represents a stronger grade.  So someone with a dot near the outer ring is doing well in that category.  By connecting the dots on your subjective personal estimation of your life at this moment in each of the categories you can come up with a shape that roughly represents your life right now in each of the 8Fs.

Quite simply, LIFE Leadership supplies life-changing information to help you increase your score in each of the 8Fs.  The goal is to take someone from the not-so-good black shape represented toward the center of the diagram to the much improved (and happier, we would think) life represented by the red outline toward the outer ring of the circle.

Who doesn’t have at least a category or two, or three, or eight, in which he or she would like to have a better score? Who wouldn’t want to transform his or her life from the tiny blob (and who among us hasn’t felt like a tiny blob from time to time?) in the center to the big wheel (and who hasn’t wanted to be a big wheel at least once in his or her life?) toward the outer ring?

That’s it.  From little blob to big wheel.

But all kidding aside.  This CIRCLE of LIFE is the snap-shot diagram to which people can easily relate when it comes to understand the goal of LIFE Leadership and the life-changing information we offer.  We will help people learn and apply truth in each category and thereby improve their shape.

LIFE Leadership: Because leadership is for everyone!

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Fun, Life Training, Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC) | Tagged: , | 14 Comments »

Husband, Father, Leader – Play the Man

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 1, 2011

The following is a synopsis of a talk given at a Men’s Leadership session in North Atlantic Canada.  I hope every person is setting goals for 2011, playing the man or woman. 

In today’s society, young men, wanting to learn character, responsibility, and leadership, are struggling to find role models to follow.  The mainstream media, seems to despise worthy role models, men who have the courage to lead in their families, businesses, and communities; instead, believing this model an anachronism from an unfortunate past.  But what if the mainstream media was wrong, just like they have been on nearly all societal issues over the past century?  What if men, playing their Godly roles, was a necessity for a healthy culture and community?  What if the cultural and moral degradation, that we witness all around us, began when men retreated from the duty owed to wives, families, and communities?  What if a group of men, ignoring the carping of numerous critics, assumed the role assigned to them, providing structure and security in the family, by being the husband, father and leader needed in today’s distressing times.  For the last eighteen years, I have had a front row seat, in living rooms across North America, experiencing first hand, the effects of men not assuming their responsibilities.  I don’t say that pridefully, but only to explain, that few, if any, people in America, share a similar perspective on the front lines of America’s cultural decline.

It wasn’t always this way, duty, a word in ill repute today, meant something to the men of  the past.  Character, honor, fidelity, all words laughed at today, were, in the past, concepts worthy of sacrifice.  Men believed that life without character, honor, and duty, was dissolute, hardly worth living.  Many examples come to mind, describing the concept of duty and honor, but let me share the history of two men with conviction, willing to sacrifice for what they believed.  Both lived in England, during the stormy religious times, Catholics against Anglicans against Puritans, all seeking to learn and live truth in an age where truth still mattered.  In an era, before religious freedoms, it’s easy for us moderns to judge critically the behaviors of all three denominations. But it’s important to remember, that it was the struggles of these three groups, that produced the religious, political, and spiritual freedoms, enjoyed by the colonial Americans, and through them, enjoyed by us today.  It’s important, when studying history, to place yourself in the culture of the times, studying the courage and convictions based upon the culture as it was, not as it is today.

Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, both preachers and teachers, were both sentenced to burn, if they did not recant their religious positions.  The easy way out of the dilemma would have been to recant, but both Latimer and Ridley were convinced by scripture and reason, that to save themselves, they would be rejecting God and God’s Word.  Latimer and Ridley were tied to opposite sides of a wooden stake, the executioners stacked wood under their feet, preparing to set the whole on fire.  Ridley started to falter, losing his composure under the immense pressure, but Latimer, in a calm assuring tone, shared with his friend, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”  The deaths of Latimer, Ridley, along with Cranmer, the three known as the Oxford Martyrs, are still commemorated in Oxford, to this day, by the Victorian Martyrs’ Memorial, located near the site where they were executed.

When I think of the great sacrifices that men, believing in their faith, believing in their families, believing in their causes, have made to build the foundation of the privileges and rights that we enjoy, I am moved with respect and awe.  Where are the men today who will “play the man”, loving their wives, as they love themselves.  It takes two to make one good marriage, but men should ensure, that if the marriage is struggling, it isn’t because he hasn’t done everything that he can do.  How many times, have I seen crushed wives, crying over a man-child, a man in body, but a child in responsibilities, wondering if he would ever grow into the man that he was called to be?  How many times, have I witnessed women, reading their tenth book, or more, on marriage relationships, while the first marriage book, lies unread by his bedside?  Men, who, in the former times, sacrificed their time, money, and lives, protecting their families, now, seemingly cannot find the courage within them, to read book, with the goal of protecting and enhancing the marriage.  The words in the marriage covenant, for better or worse, to most men, now means, for better or else.  Men, if you are married tonight, for your wife’s sake, play the man.

Where have all the fathers gone?  Absentee fathers, have created an incalculable loss in millions of young boys and girls lives, growing up without the reassuring protection and leadership of their father.  Just a cursory look at the data, tells the heartbreaking story of radical increases in teenage drop outs, crimes, pregnancies, and suicides.  Mainstream media loves to call the tune, but conveniently, isn’t around when it’s time to pay the piper.  The men, women, and children, are charged with paying the bill, suffering the pain associated with the fractured relationships, while the media runs off on its next social experiment.  We can criticize 19th century North America, mocking their social conservatism, finding fault with their quaint customs, but when looking in the eyes of a deserted wife, left with young children, the denigration of the older way has a hollow ring.  It’s time that every father step to the plate, learning how to lovingly serve their wives, nurturing the children, while providing a disciplined home environment.  Young boys need to know, that they have what it takes inside of them to be men, that when their moment to be a man comes, they will be ready.  Young girls need to know, that their father loves them, willing to protect them against anyone who threatens his princess, until a young prince comes along, willing to defend her honor, in his stead.  This is just one of the many roles of the father, a role that is practically lost today, causing immeasurable harm to so many young men and women.  If you are a father, it’s time for you to play the man.

Where have all the leaders gone.  So many men, checked out of their marriages, checked out on their children, complete the dismal triple crown by checking out of leadership.  You cannot be a bum in one area of your life, while being a star in another. Either, leadership will grow all areas, or lack of leadership, will stunt them. Men must lead their homes, learning the principles of leadership necessary to serve within society.  Because of our warped understanding of leadership, many assume leadership means dictatorship, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Leadership is based upon servanthood, a willingness to serve others, while holding the bar high on themselves and the community.  When a man gets the leadership right in his home, he can then step forward to lead in his community, having the confidence engendered by a stable home.  In order to have men to lead in the homes and society, we must raise up a group of leaders, who accept responsibility.  Males must stop hiding from Goliath, instead, stepping forward to conquer Goliath,  moving on to their God given destiny. We have plenty of males, but not enough true men. As C. S. Lewis wrote in his classic chapter in Abolition of Man, called Men Without Chest, “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

A vital part in the resurgence of North America, is the restoration of American manhood, ending the self-inflicted castration of the male. True servant leadership, based upon character, courage, and convictions, are still alive in a remnant of men.  This remnant has hibernated long enough.  The year 2011, is a call to arms for that remnant.  We can no longer remain inactive.  We can no longer allow our wives and children to be damaged by our lack of leadership.  We can no longer pass the buck.  It’s time to step to the plate.  This is the year, the year that millions of males became men.  Just as Latimer encouraged Ridley, allow me to encourage you, “Be of good comfort, American males, and play the man; we shall in 2011 light such a candle, by God’s grace, in America, as I trust shall never be put out.”  Play the man! God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Family | Leave a Comment »

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 25, 2010

On Thanksgiving morning, as I sit at my desk, overlooking the Bay of St. Lucie, watching the sun rise out of the water, I am thinking thankful thoughts for all the blessings in my life. Blessings that begin with my freedom to enjoy my faith, just as you have the freedom to enjoy your faith.  As a Christian, I ponder the immensity of God’s love for us. How is it possible for a sinful man to be reconciled to a Holy God?  The answer, after many years of personal struggle, toil, and pain, along with God’s patient grace, that Jesus Christ laid my sins upon Him, and, laid His righteousness upon me, still makes me pause in thankful wonder. That God Himself, would offer unmerited mercy to men, men deserving of eternal punishment by their sins, but receiving full pardons by the finished work of Jesus Christ, should make all, even the hardest of hearts, repent.  God’s grace is sufficient to forgive all penitent sinners, which means His grace is sufficient for you and I.  This was my first area of thankfulness on this Thanksgiving day.

Still in a reflective mood, my thoughts move to my beautiful wife (Laurie) of eighteen years, a wife who patiently bears with her husband’s faults and foibles, a wife who has loved me even when I was unloveable, truly representing the spirit of Christ on earth towards everyone she meets.  My marriage to Laurie, although tough on both of us for the first five years, as we learned our roles and responsibilities, has, among many blessings, produced four phenomenal children.  I love spending time with Laurie and the kids daily, reviewing different lessons learned in life, discussing the principles that work, as well as the principles that don’t work, preparing our kids for the toughest school that they will ever attend, the school of life.  The thoughts, questions, and ideas, generated from these family discussions, have taught me as much as I will ever teach them, forcing me to dig deeper into my understanding of the world and the challenges involved in growing up in society today.  On this day of Thanksgiving, don’t forget, amidst the Turkey and football games, to hug your family, thanking them for the joy that only family can bring to life.

This leads me to my friends, friends who have been there for the ups and downs of this journey called life.  Living life, without friends, is like watching a movie without color; one may be able to follow the plot, but he loses the enjoyment of the unfolding story.  I want to thank all of our friends personally, for their encouragement to us when we hurt, for their fidelity to truth when we err, for their tears of pain when we suffer, for their mirth and joy when we celebrate. Because of our faithful friends, friends who share their lives with us, the Woodward family is the most thankful of families, having the movie of life come alive, not just by knowing the plot, but enjoying the unfolding story, filled with color and content.  May all of us be thankful on this Thanksgiving day, remembering to share our thankfulness to all those who make our life worth living.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family | 1 Comment »